Sloan Storey is a returning All-American for the Utes.
March 3, 2014
The giant slalom has been pushed up 15 minutes to an 8:45 a.m. start on Wednesday, March 4.
SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah ski team hosts the 2014 NCAA Ski Championships from March 5-8. The Utes are hosting for the first time since 2000.
Utah is coming off its 17th RMISA title. The Utes also won the Pat Miller Invitational to start the season, hosting at the two NCAA venues.
"We are a well-balanced team," Utah Director of Skiing Kevin Sweeney said. "That bodes well for us in this style of championship event. Everyone is adjusting a bit due to the very erratic weather we have been having. The race surface is constantly changing. This requires the athletes to adjust strategy. I think this could be an area where our level of experience is a real positive. We have had an excellent tune up period this past week, and lots of support from our fellow teams, ski resorts and fans at the U, so I think we are feeling really comfortable about being able to compete well on our home venues."
Utah is one of eight teams that qualified a full team of 12 skiers, including Alaska-Anchorage, Colorado, Dartmouth, Denver, Montana State, New Mexico and Vermont.
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.
"Other teams are starting to show up and the championship feeling is in the air at SoHo," Utah head nordic coach Abi Holt said. "After a weekend away from racing, I think the main sentiment on the nordic team is that we are ready to get this championship series underway. We're ready to go!"
"We are very excited for this week of racing!" Utah assistant alpine coach Luke Patterson said. "This is the most fun event of the year, as we will be pitting some of the best athletes on the continent in a very small field. Our alpine team is primed and ready to rock. We have a lot of momentum right now and on our home hill we will not be looking for anything special from our guys and girls. If they ski like they know how and execute our plan, they will be very competitive. Go Utes!"
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.
The races will be webcast at http://www.ncaa.com/liveschedule.
The women's alpine team of Kristiina Rove, Chloe Fausa and Ana Kobal has been one of Utah's most consistent this season. Rove earned All-America honors in the giant slalom last year with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. She was the RMISA women's alpine MVP this season, and has two wins this year, six podium finishes and nine top-five finishes. Fausa, a first-team all-RMISA selection, also has a pair of victories with three podium finishes and eight top-10 finishes. One of her wins came on Utah's home hill at Park City. Kobal is a two-time All-American, finishing fifth in the slalom and sixth in the GS last season at NCAA's. A second-team All-RMISA pick, 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. The first-team All-RMISA selection finished the year on a high note with a slalom win at the RMISA Championships and a second-place finish in the giant slalom. Trow is a returning All-American after finishing seventh at NCAA's in the slalom last season. A second-team all-RMISA honoree, he had five top-10 finishes this year. Brath earned three top-10 finishes throughout the season.
Eian Sandvik is an alternate in men's alpine.
Returning All-American Niklas Persson, Noé Bellet and freshman Kevin Bolger will represent the men's nordic team. Persson's lone win of the season came at Soldier Hollow in the Pat Miller Invitational this year in the 15-km classical. He finished in the top 10 in all of Utah's 10 races and was second-team all-RMISA. 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. He was also a second-team all-RMISA selection. Bolger has a pair of top-10 runs this season, and his best finish this year was a fourth-place finish in the 15-km classical at the Pat Miller Invite.
Oscar Ivars, a second-team all-RMISA pick, is an alternate in men's alpine.
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, a first-team all-RMISA pick, 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. She was second in the 10-km classic at the Pat Miller Invite, and finished the season strong with a pair of top-five finishes at RMISA's. Svendsen was 10th at NCAA's last year in the 5-km classic and has three top-5 finishes this season, including one at Soldier Hollow at the Pat Miller Invite. Heynen has finished in the top 10 in four races this year, two which came at the Pat Miller Invitational.
Josefin Nilsson is an alternate in women's nordic.