Kristiina Rove has two wins and nine top-five finishes for the Utes.
Feb. 24, 2014
SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah ski team has qualified a full squad of 12 skiers for the NCAA Championships, hosted by Utah from March 5-8.
"We have a dynamite squad representing the U at the championships!" Utah Director of Skiing Kevin Sweeney said. "What I am impressed with is our team chemistry. We have several returning athletes with NCAA experience, and at the same time we have a great group of newcomers who have demonstrated they are competitive on the circuit. I like this balance. We had some difficult decisions to make on who to bring, however it was, and still will be, a team effort this next week at the championships. We are pretty well balanced and I think that bodes well for us in team scoring, however, I am quick to note that competition will be very fierce and every point will be significant. I think we are very much ready for this."
In women's alpine, the Utes will be represented by Kristiina Rove, Chloe Fausa and Ana Kobal. Rove earned All-America honors in the giant slalom last year with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. She has two wins this year, six podium finishes and nine top five finishes. Fausa also has a pair of victories with three podium finishes and eight top-10 finishes. Kobal is a two-time All-American, finishing fifth in the slalom and sixth in the GS last season at NCAA's. She has six top-10 finishes this year.
The men's alpine NCAA team will be Mark Engel, Andy Trow and Joergen Brath. Engel, a former member of the U.S. Ski Team, has three podium finishes and five top-five finishes this year, along with a race win. Trow is a returning All-American after finishing seventh at NCAA's in the slalom last season. He had five top-10 finishes this year. Brath earned three top-10 finishes throughout the season.
Returning All-American Niklas Persson, Noé Bellet and freshman Kevin Bolger will represent the men's nordic team. Persson has one win this year and also finished in the top 10 in all of Utah's 10 races. He finished fifth last year in the 20-km free race at the NCAA Championships. Bellet, who was an alternate for NCAA's last year, had eight top-10 finishes. Bolger has a pair of top-10 runs this season.
Sloan Storey and Anna Svendsen are both returning All-Americans in women's nordic, while freshman Anna-Lena Heynen will also represent the Utes. Storey finished fifth in the 5-km classic at NCAA's last year, and has a pair of second-place finishes to go with five total top 10's. Svendsen was 10th at NCAA's last year in the 5-km classic and has three top-5 finishes this season. Heynen has finished in the top 10 in four races this year.
"I am happy with the team we've selected," Utah head nordic coach Abi Holt said. "Going into regionals it wasn't clear on either the men's or women's side who the team would be, but I think the skiers we've named have established themselves as the skiers who are skiing the fastest right now, and still progressing in the results through the end of the season. It is hard to leave team members at home, especially when the team trains so hard together all year, but I feel good about our decisions."
The alpine races will be held at Park City Mountain Resort, kicking off with the giant slalom on March 5 and the slalom on March 7. On the nordic side, the women's 5-km and men's 10-km classical races will be held at Soldier Hollow Resort on March 6 with the women's 15-km and men's 20-km freestyle races on March 8.
The Utes are coming off their 17th RMISA title. Utah has finished second at NCAA's the last three years. The Utes have won 11 national titles (10 NCAA, 1 AIAW) in their history.