The EISA and RMISA collegiate ski circuits collided for the first time on the opening day in the NCAA Championships on Wednesday. The conditions varied from run to run, and the leaderboard would be completely shaken up after the men and women took their second runs. After one day of racing, Montana State University (MSU) leads with 149 points. The University of Utah (UU) currently holds second with 136 points and the University of Denver (DU) closely follows in third place with 133 points.
The ladies finished first with two MSU women taking the top spots. After the first run, Benedicte Lyche and Stephanie Gartner were in second and fourth, respectively, after the first run, but were able to improve their positions in the second. Lyche won the women’s giant slalom race with a combined time of 2:17.58. Her teammate Gartner followed just 0.13 seconds behind and Roni Remme from UU finished third.
“I’m so excited for Benni and Steph,” said MSU head alpine coach Kevin Francis. “They both did well last year and built upon it this year. The men’s team was very solid as well. They’ll be fired-up to capitalize on the slalom, Friday.”
Lyche finished off the RMISA season with multiple top ten finishes in both events, but she failed to finish on the podium in giant slalom this season prior to national championship.
The University of Colorado’s David Ketterer followed his win in the RMISA Regional Championship with a national GS title. Ketterer has dominated during his freshman season, winning four slaloms throughout the RMISA season.
Ketterer won the men’s race with a combined time of 2:13.51, followed by Sam Dupratt of the University of Utah, who finished 0.11 seconds back. Dartmouth’s Brian McLaughlin placed third, 0.14 seconds behind, and was the only EISA athlete to podium in that race.
“I was very happy to win today, and I already won the regional last week, so my GS is getting better and better, and yeah, important points for the team, important to keep the spirits up,” Ketterer said.
Two of University of Colorado’s other athletes were unable to finish the race, so Ketterer said that walking away with the win was a great feeling for not only him, but also the entire team.
Ketterer had skied on the East Coast once before and he said the weather was crazy with fog, snow and rain. He also noted that the training that the athletes had two days before the race was icy while the race was much softer. Luckily for Ketterer, the conditions were akin to what one would see in Europe, where he has skied extensively, as he is from Germany.
The alpine athletes will have a break on Thursday to rest as the Nordic races kick off with the classic competition. Alpine racing will continue on Friday, March 10 with both the men’s and women’s slaloms.