On the first day of NCAA Skiing Championships at Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs, Dartmouth College freshman Katharine Ogden and University of Utah senior Martin Bergström were crowned champions in the women’s 5-kilometer and men’s 10 k classic races, respectively.
Ogden won the women’s individual-start race by a whopping 46.9 seconds, finishing in 14:47.2 minutes to become Dartmouth’s first female cross-country skier to win an NCAA title, according to a Dartmouth press release. Anne Siri Lervik of the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) placed second and Hailey Swirbul, of the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and a two-time individual medalist at this year’s Junior World Championships, placed third (+51.0).
“There isn’t much more to say about Katharine’s performance today other than she absolutely crushed it!” said Dartmouth Director of Skiing and Women’s Nordic Head Coach Cami Thompson Graves, according to the Dartmouth press release. “It was such a treat to watch her perform so well.”
CU, this year’s NCAA Championships host, had three women in the top 11 with last year’s classic champion Petra Hyncicova placing sixth and Christina Rolandsen finishing 11th.
The CU Buffs took the lead in the team standings on Thursday by nine points over the University of Denver (DU). Utah is currently 41 points back in third, Dartmouth moved up to fourth, and the University of Vermont, which led after Wednesday’s Day 1 alpine races, slipped to fifth.
In the men’s race, Bergström, who won both races at last year’s NCAA Championships, posted an 8.5-second victory over CU’s Petter Reistad with a winning time of 27:37.1. Dag Frode Trollebø of DU placed third (+14.7) ahead of his DU teammate Eivind Kvaale in fourth (+38.9). On his 22nd birthday, Ian Torchia, of Northern Michigan University and the U.S. Ski Team Development Team, was the top American finisher in fifth (+46.2).
Alpine slalom races will take place on Friday, while NCAA Championships will conclude with 15/20 k freestyle mass starts on Saturday.
IBU World Cup (Kontiolahti, Finland): Men’s 10 k sprint
First, a little geography lesson. Kontiolahti, Finland, is only about 100 kilometers from the Russian border, so most of the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup (and World Championships) events held there attract a mostly Russian crowd.
And here’s a little more background: Russia’s Anton Shipulin showed up for Thursday’s IBU World Cup in Kontiolahti raring to go after having been barred from last month’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
So Shipulin hadn’t raced since Jan. 21 in Antholz, Italy. The International Olympic Committee’s decision to ban him from the 2018 Games went public on Jan. 23.
Back in action in Kontiolahti, in front of Russian fans, Shipulin delivered a 5.8-second win in the men’s 10-kilometer sprint, shooting clean and finishing in 23:51.6. It was the 31 year old’s third non-relay podium of the season and first World Cup win of 2017/2018, and he did so on a relatively moderate evening by Kontiolahti standards (at -6 degrees Celsius, or 21 Fahrenheit) with a “stiff breeze” on the range, according to an IBU press release.
“I felt very good on the tracks and shooting and today it was enough to win,” Shipulin told the IBU. “I am very happy about this … all of the Russian fans gave me a lot of support on the tracks.”
Latvia’s Andrejs Rastorgujevs tied his career best in second place, after shooting a perfect 10-for-10 as well. He acknowledged his mom and women in general after the race.
“This is very important for my team,” Rastorgujevs told the IBU. “I would also like to congratulate all of the ladies and especially my mom on International Women’s Day.”
France’s Quentin Fillon Maillet also shot clean to place third (+17.3) for his third non-relay World Cup podium of the season.
Fillon Maillet was one of the earliest starters in bib 6 yet held off Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Bø, the 30th starter, by 1.7 seconds for the last spot on the podium. Bø had been a race leader after cleaning prone but missed two standing targets (0+2) to slip out of contention and into fourth at the finish (+19.0).
Germany’s Olympic sprint champion, Arnd Peiffer placed fifth (+27.4) with one miss (0+1), and France’s Simon Desthieux finished sixth (+28.3) with one prone penalty (1+0), and Germany took seventh and eighth with Erik Lesser (+30.6; one penalty) and Simon Schempp (+32.0; two penalties), respectively. Italy had two in the top 10 with Lukas Hofer in ninth (+35.2; one penalty) and Dominik Windisch in 10th (+38.3; one penalty).
Lowell Bailey of the U.S. posted his best sprint result of the season in 16th (+48.4) after cleaning prone and missing one standing target (0+1). After starting 22nd, he recorded the 13th- and 14th-fastest overall shooting and range times, respectively, and 23rd-ranked course time.
After the Olympics, Bailey returned home to Lake Placid, N.Y., for a brief training block. Despite a hefty amount of travel over the last week and a half, he explained in an email that he felt good in his first race back.
“I felt better than I have for most of the season. Sometimes that can happen. I guess that’s the part of the unpredictability of biathlon,” Bailey wrote of Thursday’s race. “The conditions were great today; hard tracks and calm winds on the range. There was a bit of wind, but compared to the three weeks in South Korea, it seemed pretty tame.
“Shooting felt solid today,” he added. “That missed shot in standing was sooo close, but not close enough!”
Overall, Bailey stated that he was happy with his performance and looking forward to the rest of the races in Kontiolahti.
His teammate Leif Nordgren finished just one place behind him in 17th (+49.9) for his best result in three years. A later starter in bib 55, Nordgren also cleaned prone and missed one standing (0+1) with the fifth-fastest shooting time and seventh-fastest range time. Overall, his course time ranked 28th out of 100 finishers. Nordgren’s individual career best on the World Cup is 16th in a sprint in February 2015. He has finished 17th three times; the last time was in a pursuit in March 2015.
Brendan Green shot clean to lead the Canadian team in 34th (+1:29.5). American Sean Doherty followed in 35th (+1:29.7) with three penalties (1+2), and Tim Burke placed 38th (+1:36.1) for the U.S., also with three misses (1+2).
In his World Cup debut, American Alex Howe finished 68th (+2:23.1) with two misses (1+1).
Canada’s Christian Gow finished 79th (+2:47.4) with two penalties (1+1), and Scott Gow was 86th (+3:01.7) with three misses (1+2).
This year’s Kontiolahti World Cup does not include a pursuit race. The women’s 7.5 k sprint is scheduled for Friday at 11:45 a.m. EST in Kontiolahti, and the single mixed relay and mixed relay will follow on Saturday. Racing in Kontiolahti will conclude with men’s and women’s mass starts.