Utah, which entered the final day trailing Denver by 34.5 points, rode strong performances by its men’s and women’s Nordic teams today to overtake the Pioneers while fending off a strong push by the University of Colorado to win its first national championship since 2003. The Utes totaled 541.5 points while the Buffaloes and Pioneers were separated by a single point (525-524) in second and third, respectively. Vermont rounded out the top five (355) thanks in part to the runner-up in the women’s 15K Freestyle today.
Senior Fabian Stocek wrapped up his stellar Big Green career by finishing the men’s 20K in 46:04.7, good for fifth place and less than a mere two seconds behind the individual champion, Utah’s Martin Bergstroem, who won both cross country races at the championships. Joining Stocek in the top 10 was junior Luke Brown in ninth with a time of 46:51.8, while junior Callan DeLine wrapped up the race in 16th in 47:58.5.
In the women’s 15K, Dartmouth only had two of its three skiers compete as sophomore Lydia Blanchet was sidelined. That left a pair of freshmen, Abby Drach and Lauren Jortberg, to add to the Big Green point total as the duo crossed the tape consecutively in 20th and 21st.
The men began the action at 10 a.m., and Stocek stayed with the lead pack throughout the race, though it took a little time for the leaders to emerge. The contenders became clearer at the halfway point with seven up front and Stocek running sixth. After the third 5K lap, , only six remained vying for the lead, and Stocek had jostled for position into third. But after much jockeying on the last lap, the group was down to five and Stocek trying to catch the four in front to no avail. Even so, he was able to collect the first All-America honor of his career on the first team.
Brown wasn’t far behind Stocek early, but settled in with the second pack of skiers halfway through the race. On the final stretch, he was in a mad scramble for eighth with two other skiers. He was able to hold off Utah’s Kevin Bolger by a second, but was nipped at the tape by another Ute, Martin Mikkelsen, claiming ninth for his first career All-America honor, qualifying for the second team. DeLine, meanwhile, skied a consistent race, completing three of the four laps in 16th place, including the final one, bringing Dartmouth’s team total to 66 points, good for fourth among the men’s teams.
Dartmouth entered the women’s 15K with fourth place all but wrapped up, leading Vermont by 82 points while trailing Colorado, which was still in third at the time, by 69. At the conclusion of the first lap, Jortberg — an All-American in the 5K Classical race on Thursday — was on the cusp of the top 10 once again, but she gradually fell back to 21st in 41:52.2. Drach just slipped past her teammate to edge her out into the top 20 at 41:51.5 as the two combined for 21 points, which tied Bowdoin for 10th among the teams.
Colorado won the race with 77 points due to having the champion, Petra Hyncicova (39:21.6), as well as the third-place finisher in Christian Rolandsen (40:05.5), with Vermont’s Alayna Sonnesyn sandwiched between in second (39:42.7). But it was not enough to catch Utah, whose skiers placed fifth, sixth and 14th, to surpass Denver, which amassed just 26 points in the race to fall back to third.
Dartmouth, which had eight different skiers earn All-America honors in the eight events, ranked second in the alpine events (250 points), trailing only Denver (287). In the Nordic races, the Big Green ranked sixth (150) with Utah ahead of everyone with 322.5.