Freshman Sloan Storey turned in her first career top-five effort in the women's 5-km Classical on Thursday at the NCAA Championships.
March 7, 2013
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Freshman Sloan Storey posted her first career top-five effort and the University of Utah ski team improved to third place after the first day of Nordic competition during the NCAA Championships on Thursday at the Rikert Nordic Center.
Utah vaulted from fifth to third place and now boasts a total of 350 overall points after compiling 185 points in today's 5/10-km Classical races, which stands fourth among the Nordic teams. In the overall team standings, the Utes trail second-place Colorado by 18.5 points, while reigning national champion Vermont has totaled 389 points.
"We have really charged hard for two days and we are excited to be in the hunt for the overall title," Utah Director of Skiing Kevin Sweeney said. "The competition, as expected, has been fierce. We have not nailed it 100% in each race yet, but we have certainly posted some excellent results. Everyone is really fired up for the next two days. It has been one of the closest championships I can remember."
Storey led a Ute women's Nordic crew that brought in 98 points thanks to all three of its competitors placing among the top 11.
Storey, a Hailey, Idaho native, turned in a fifth-place finish, which was her first time among the top five this season. Out of the seven races she has competed in this year, Storey has had five performances among the top 10 and has been 20th or better in all seven events.
"Today was an awesome day for the Utes!," Storey said. "I was very excited about my result along with the rest of the girls' team. I felt great and loved the terrain of the course with its fun gradual up-hills where I was able to apply my long powerful stride. I had a superb wax job by my coaches, which I think was huge for doing well in this race and I can't thank them enough for their hard work. I can't wait for Saturday!"
Junior Anna Svendsen joined Storey among the top 10 with a 10th-place effort for her third top-10 placement of the season. She has been among the top 20 in six races this year as well.
Senior Rose Kemp finished just outside the top 10 as she recorded an 11th-place finish. Kemp, a Boise, Idaho native, has been remarkably consistent this season as she has now placed 10th or better in 10 of 11 races and has been Utah's top finisher in 10 of 11 races in 2013 as well.
The Ute men's Nordic group was third among the men's Nordic teams as they record 87 points in the 10-km Classical.
Senior Miles Havlick tied Vermont's Scott Patterson for sixth place to lead the way for the Utes. Havlick has been Utah's top finisher in all 11 races this year and has been among the top 10 in all 10 events as well. For his career, the Boulder, Colo., native now owns 38 career top-10 efforts.
"Today was a great day overall," Havlick said. "On the guys side, we didn't have our best day but it was still very solid. The girls really stepped it up today! Sloan, Anna and Rose pulled the weight of the team, which was awesome to see. We are all looking forward to watching some slalom tomorrow and getting some revenge on Saturday!"
Ulsund finished in a 13th-place tie with Denver's Andrew Dougherty for his 11th top-15 effort of the year.
Persson, a freshman from Falun, Sweden making his NCAA Championships debut, immediately followed Ulsund and Dougherty to claim 15th. Persson has finished 15th or better for the Utes in nine consecutive races.
The Alpine competition of the NCAA Championships concludes with the slalom races on Friday at 9 a.m. ET.
The final Nordic event of the meet will be the 15/20-km Freestyle races on Saturday at 10 a.m. ET.
Fans can watch all of the action live at ncaa.com.