Bozeman, Montana — The University of Denver pulled off an impressive come-from-behind victory Saturday in the final day of competition at the 2008 NCAA Skiing Championships.
Saturday’s slalom competitions at Bridger Bowl were the final opportunity for the nation’s best teams to battle it out for top honors this season.
The University of Denver surpassed the University of Colorado in thrilling fashion Saturday, dominating the men’s slalom event by scoring 109 points, an impressive 29 points ahead of second place Middlebury. Almost as impressive was the University of Colorado’s slump – its men scored only 39 points and finished 11th out of 13 teams.
The University of Denver’s John Buchar and Seppi Stiegler took the first two spots in the men’s race Saturday, followed in eighth by teammate Francesco Ghedina. David Chodounsky of Dartmouth took third.
â€œI could not be more proud of this team,â€ alpine head coach Andy LeRoy said. â€œAll of our athletes worked hard all year toward the goal of winning an NCAA Championship, and they all skied their best when it counted.â€
This was Denver’s 19th National Championship in skiing.
After entering the day trailing Colorado by 17.5 points, Denver overtook the Buffaloes and won with 649.5 points. CU finished second with 619 points, followed by Utah (550), defending national champion Dartmouth (546) and Middlebury (529). DU’s win marked the first time in 13 years that a team had overcome a point deficit to win the title on the final day.
â€œA few years ago we would have been delighted with fourth place,â€ said Dartmouth head coach Cami Thompson. â€œBut college skiing changes so much from year to year. We weren’t quite as solid this year as we were last year, but we had some great performances. And with the athletes we’ve got returning next year, the future looks very good.â€
Middlebury finished second behind the University of Denver in team scoring with 80 points. The University of New Hampshire took third Saturday with 70 points.
While DU shined in Saturday’s slalom race, rival University of Colorado slumped, its only two skiers finishing twentieth and twenty-first.
â€œI think this was a good championship and now that it’s over, I’m happy with a second place finish,â€ CU head coach Richard Rokos said. â€œDU did a great job all week and they delivered and I have to congratulate them.â€
The women’s race, in contrast, was won easily by the University of Colorado, whose top three finishers placed first, tenth, and twelfth. Lucie Zakova won the race, followed by the University of Utah’s Eva Huckova and the University of Denver’s Jenni Lathrop.
Women’s teams from University of Colorado and the University of Utah both finished the day with 97 points. The University of New Hampshire finished third with 85 points.
Denver becomes the second team in NCAA skiing history to win the title shorthanded; the Pioneers competed here with 11 skiers, the same number CU had in 2006 when it was the first team to win.
Kris Dobie contributed to this article.