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Courtesy: Scott Hallenberg
Patrick Caldwell earned first-team All-America honors by finishing fifth in the 20K Freestyle.

Skiing Finishes NCAA Championships in Sixth Place

Courtesy: Dartmouth
Release: 03/08/2014
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PARK CITY/MIDWAY, Utah — The NCAA Skiing Championships, hosted the University of Utah, concluded on Saturday with the slalom and Nordic freestyle races. Dartmouth got a strong outing from the men’s cross country skiers, who tied for second in the 20K Freestyle with freshman Patrick Caldwell (Lyme, N.H.) claiming fifth place, but the Big Green could not climb any higher in the team standings and finished the championships in sixth place with 261.5 points.

The University of Denver withstood Vermont’s sweep of the podium in the women’s slalom to win the title, earning 556 points to the Catamounts’ 487.5. Third in the standings was New Mexico (458.5) followed by last year’s champion, Colorado (402.5), while the host institution placed fifth (392).

For his fifth-place finish, Caldwell earned first-team All-America honors, an honor that eluded junior Silas Talbot (Anchorage, Alaska) who finished in 11th, a mere four-tenths of a second outside of the top 10. The other All-America honor for the Big Green came in the women’s 15K Freestyle as senior Annie Hart (Stillwater, Minn.) placed eighth for a spot on the second team. It was the fifth and final All-America honor in her collegiate career.

The men’s 20K Freestyle was the first race of the day, and it turned into a mad race to the finish for many of the top 12 skiers. A large pack formed among the leaders for much of the race, and not until the fourth and final lap did Colorado’s Mads Ek Stroem pull away to win by a comfortable seven-second margin in 43:49.0. Max Olef of Alaska Fairbanks was next across the finish line, and then a slew of skiers battled for the remainder of the top 10 spots.

Caldwell (Lyme, N.H.) was among the competitors and eked out fifth place in 44:01.3, just one-tenth of a second behind Denver’s Pierre Guedon. But the pack was so tight that when Talbot finished up in 44:02.3 — just one second behind Caldwell — he was relegated to 11th. Senior David Sinclair (Waitsfield, Vt.) was the final Big Green skier, finishing 24th in 44:44.2. The trio combined to earn 56 points for Dartmouth, tied for second with Colorado, trailing only New Mexico’s 65.

Shortly after the men’s race concluded, the women took to the Soldier Hollow course for their 15K Freestyle. By the end of the first lap, a definitive group of seven broke from the rest of the skiers into the lead, with Hart in the rear. Although she gradually fell back from that leading group, she maintained her position well enough to finish in eighth place with a time of 41:28.7. Senior Isabel Caldwell completed the three laps in 43:59.6 to place 30th, and sophomore Corey Stock (Lincoln, Mass.), who fell ill prior to the classical race on Thursday, did not compete.

New Mexico’s Eva Severus emerged from the pack to hold off Rosie Frankowski of Northern Michigan by 1.8 seconds to win the event with a time of 40:15.1. Each of the next 10 skiers were all spaced well apart with none within five seconds of another.

The slalom began at the same time as the first Nordic race of the day, with the men and women going through their first run at Park City Mountain Resort before repeating the process in the afternoon. As the weather warmed up with the day, the course became softer, causing a number of mistakes on the course. But junior Ben Morse (Carrabassett Valley, Maine) was able to string together a pair of solid runs to finish 16th overall with a combined time of 1:58.17. Sophomore Robert Overing (Rothesay, N.B.) struggled his first time down, but he posted the eighth-best time on the second run to place 24th. Freshman Dylan Brooks (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) reversed Overing’s performance, recording the 12th-best time on his first run only to stumble the next time through the course, leaving him 27th.

Denver took the top two spots on the podium as Espen Lysdahl had the fastest time on both runs to win the event in 1:53.34, while Trevor Philip beat out Vermont’s Jonathan Nordbotten for second by 0.78 seconds in 1:54.11.

For the women, sophomore Lizzie Kistler (Santa Rosa, Calif.) was the first competitor to hit the slopes, and she provided a cautionary tale for the rest of the field as she took a spill. Yet she gamely climbed back up to complete the run, knowing the Big Green could use every point they could get. Her teammates, sophomore Maisie Ide (Minneapolis, Minn.) and junior Abby Fucigna (Hopkinton, Mass.) had solid first runs, which Ide followed up with another good trip down the mountain for a combined time of 1:42.25, tying her for 13th. Fucigna had a slight hiccup on her second run, leaving her with a time of 1:52.08 to place 26th, and Kistler’s dogged determination netted her 29th, which garnered two points for her team.

Dartmouth skiing fans witnessed a familiar trio sweeping the podium for Vermont in Kristina Riis-Johannessen (1:37.89), Kate Ryley (1:38.24) and Elise Tefre (1:39.93), the only skiers to post combined times under 1:40. But with Denver placing all three of its women in the top 10, the Pioneers were able to comfortably take the title.
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