DENVER — The 2008 NCAA Champion University of Denver ski team will travel to Washington, D.C., to visit the White House on June 24, the White House announced today.
The Pioneers will join 19 other teams at the White House for Champions Day, celebrating championship teams from the 2007-08 season.
â€œReceiving an invitation from President Bush to the White House is a great honor,â€ DU alpine head coach Andy LeRoy said. â€œThe student-athletes, coaches and administrators are very grateful for this opportunity to represent the University of Denver in our nation’s capital.â€
The travel party is slated to tour the Capitol and meet with Colorado Senator Ken Salazar on Tuesday morning. In the afternoon, the team will tour the White House, meet President George W. Bush and attend a ceremony on the South Lawn.
â€œWinning the national championship was a result of hard work and individual sacrifices for the sake of the team,â€ DU Nordic head coach David Stewart said. â€œWe are pleased that all members of the team will be honored by the President for their achievements.â€
The 2008 University of Denver ski team claimed its 19th team title at the NCAA National Championships in Bozeman, Mont. A pair of individual titles by John Buchar (Ostersund, Sweden) in the slalom and giant slalom marked only the second time a Pioneer skier has swept the two alpine events, matching the feat of Adam Cole (Park City, Utah) in 2007.
For the second consecutive season, the Pioneers headed into the NCAA Championships with 11 of the maximum 12 qualifying positions filled, and trailed Colorado by 17.5 points heading into the final day of competition.
However, the alpine men dominated the slalom on the final day, as Buchar completed his sweep with another first, Seppi Stiegler (Wilson, Wyo.) took second and Francesco Ghedina (Cortina, Italy) was eighth to overtake the Buffs. The DU win marked the first time in 13 years a team had come back to win after trailing entering the final day.
Denver’s 19 team championships in skiing are the most in NCAA history, ahead of Colorado’s 16 and Utah’s 10. The 2008 title also marked the Pioneers’ fifth championship since 2000. DU also won in 2000, ’01, ’02 and ’05.
Along with claiming the national title, nine Pioneers earned All-American honors.
Annelise Bailly (Ruffieu, France) made First Team All-American in both classical and freestyle, while Antje Maempel (Stuelzerbach, Germany) earned First Team honors in classical and Second Team in freestyle. Three-time NCAA individual champion Rene Reisshauer (Erfurt, Germany) was a First Team honoree in freestyle, and 2006 classical champion John Stene (Trondheim, Norway) earned Second Team All-American honors in both classical and freestyle, making Stene an All-American in all eight career races in the NCAA Championships.
In alpine, Jenny Lathrop (North Conway, N.H.) and Buchar were First Team All-Americans in both slalom and giant slalom. Ghedina made the First Team in giant slalom and the Second Team in slalom, while Stiegler earned First Team honors in slalom. Molly Ryan (Big Sky, Mont.) joined Lathrop in representing the alpine women, earning Second Team honors in giant slalom.