Editor's Note: Women's race coverage will be posted soon. In the meantime, you can view the results at the links below.
The final race of the NCAA National Ski Championships, the men's 20km mass-start freestyle, took place in a heavy snowstorm at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. Soft, slow conditions and a tough course made it an especially testing day for the 39 athletes who earned the chance to represent their university at the highest level of collegiate competition.
With the course heading directly into the woods after about a 300m straightaway, the start was intense as skiers tried to position themselves as close to the front as possible. The men had to ski four laps including four times up the punishing climb before the stadium.
Spectators Packed Along the Course Near the Stadium
Colorado University's Erling Christiansen led the pack for most of the first lap at a strong pace, though not fast enough to break up the group. Zach Violett of UAA then surged to the front for the next several kilometers as the first small groups began to fall off the back. Enthusiastic locals cheered wildly as Ethan Foster and Lowell Bailey of UVM kept right at the front.
Zach Violett (23) Pulls To the Front
It was only mid-way through the second of four laps when, out of sight to most spectators, Thursday's 10km classic winner Rene Reisshauer of DU put the hammer down. The next time the racers emerged from the woods, Reisshauer was alone with nobody else in sight.
Reisshauer: Two-For-Two NCAA National Champion