by Bryce Hubner
January 18, 2010
The opening week of NCAA action brings a bit of a shakeup to the rankings.
The West is a carnival and a half into its season, having completed the alpine leg of the Utah Invitational and both alpine and nordic events at the Montana State Invitational. Though there’s a shift in order, the players remain the same and it’ll undoubtedly be an exciting RMISA season as the powerhouses chase one another down.
Eastern skiers braved some rugged conditions near Lake Placid, New York, at the St. Lawrence University Carnival. Dartmouth showed it’s probably headed for another year atop the EISA mountain, suggesting SR was sorely mistaken when it excluded Big Green from the pre-season NCAA Power Rankings.
Thanks to all those who wrote in and told us what we should be looking for as the season unfolds:
Ted Irwin (related to MSU’s Geoff? — not that we mind a little nepotism) wrote to tell us that an “influx of young Canadian talent — Mackie, Barber, Irwin — will vault Montana State into the picture.” Didn’t happen this week, Ted, but we think there’s potential there, too.
CU alum and former Buff standout Jamie Engelking wrote “Dear SR, as you know, you can’t go wrong with predicting CU will win!” Yeah, Jamie, that’s the one pick we’re feeling pretty good about so far.
Make sure you check out the next edition of Ski Racing for a complete roundup of all the NCAA action, replete with with comments from coaches and athletes. In the meantime, scope out the new rankings below, and be sure to send us your thoughts by e-mailing NCAArankings@skiracing.com.
Colorado (1) (Last week: 1) The Buffaloes cruised to a 63-point victory at the Montana State Invitational on the strength of a sublime effort by their nordic squad, who, despite not having won a single race, handily outclassed the rest of the field. Oh, and the Buffs were missing standout nordic Reid Pletcher because of illness … If Colorado’s alpine skiers can step it up a notch, CU will be untouchable.
New Mexico (2) (Last week: 5) Winning the alpine legs of both the Utah and Montana State Invites, the Lobos vault up the rankings this week. Martin Krosleitner’s Lobos are proving they not only have the best alpine ladies in America, but the best alpine team period. Recruit Chriss Salbu is proving a tremendous complement to fellow Norwegian Petter Brenna, and with Martin Kaas stealing both races on the nordic side at MSU, who’s to say the Lobos won’t climb into the top spot after next round?
Denver (3) (Last week: 2) Because of World Cup duty, Norwegian phenom Leif Haugen missed the first of four races in a busy week of RMISA racing, which probably cost the Pioneers a few valuable points. Seppi Steigler was happy to pick up the slack with a win in the GS opener at Park City, and transfer Lindsay Cone scored three consecutive second-place finishes starting with the Utah slalom. Undisputed 2009 NCAA nordic champion Antje Maempel also made a stunning 2010 debut, winning both the 5K free and the 10K classic at MSU.
Dartmouth (4) (Last week: –) Big Green picked up where it left off last decade, dominating EISA action when the season opened on January 15 and 16 at the St. Lawrence Carnival. In the slalom events, Courtney Hammond scored a .02 second victory and Ace Tarberry raced to second-place for the men. Big Green nordics swiped three of four races, as Nils Koons won the men’s 10K classic and Ida Sargent powered to a pair of victories for the women. Also noteworthy, Dartmouth scored more total points than any team in the country … Are they faster than the RMISA thoroughbreds ahead of them in the rankings?
Vermont (5) (Last week: 4) The Catamounts drop a spot this week. The alpine Cats were super-impressive at Whiteface, winning three of four races by way of Lyndee Janowiak’s GS victory and David Donaldson’s double-gold performance. Nordics Franz Bernstein and Caitlin Patterson each hit the podium at St. Lawrence, but the Cats will need more nordics to rise as the season progresses.
Photo: Courtney Hammond skis to slalom victory at Whiteface Mtn.
Credit: Lincoln Benedict / EISA