NOTE: Due to poor weather conditions, the slalom will take place on Saturday morning with the opening runs at 9 a.m. Mountain Time. The Nordic Mass Start Freestyle will still start at 10 a.m. with the men's 20K race on Saturday.
SOLDIER HOLLOW, Utah --- The New Mexico Nordic Team got a great performance from freshman Eva Severrus, who finished third in the 5K Classical to earn First Team All-America honors, and three solid races from the men’s team, but the squad slipped to fourth place after day two of the NCAA Championships.
Denver, which was tied with New Mexico after day one, catapulted themselves into the lead with a magnificent showing in the Classical, getting five All-American performances on the day to capture 169 points. New Mexico actually had the fourth-best Nordic day with 101 points, but it couldn’t keep them in second. Despite that, UNM is in decent shape heading into the final two days, both of which feature the stronger of UNM’s two disciplines; the slalom and the Mass Start Freestyle.
New Mexico has 231 points, just 8.5 behind third place Colorado and 17 from Utah. Denver has a commanding 51-point lead over second place and the midway point, and a 68-point advantage over UNM. New Mexico has a nice 44.5-point cushion over fifth place Vermont, and 100 over sixth-place Dartmouth.
For Severrus, finishing in the top three is getting to be old hat, as it’s her fifth top-3 finish in a Classical race in a row. She picked up 34 points for UNM and became UNM’s fifth All-American of the meet, and second First Team honoree (joining Armin Triendl in the giant slalom). Anni Nord, who usually is UNM’s number two Nordic racer, is still bothered by an injury that forced her to miss her final race of the RMISA/West Region meet, and she finished an uncharacteristic 32nd on the day.
Andrea Lee, who has been picking up momentum during the season, did well in the race, finishing 21st and garnering 10 points.
The men’s Nordic squad bunched their finish, with a ninth place showing by Aku Nikander, a 12th place finish from Aljaz Praznik, and a 15th place finish from Mats Resaland, giving UNM 57 points, fourth-most on the men’s side.
For Praznik, it’s his second straight top-10 finish in the discipline, and he became the sixth All-American of the meet for UNM, earning second team status.
While the Lobos are not in the best of spots for a national title, second is well within reach, and UNM still can’t be counted out with its top two disciplines coming up. Friday will showcase the slalom, where UNM has the defending national champion in Joonas Rasanen. UNM’s other alpiners for tomorrow are Armin Triendl, who finished second in the giant slalom on Wednesday, and Sean Horner, who finished seventh.
Triendl is coming off a seventh-place finish in the RMISA/West Region meet, and Horner has had four straight top 10s. On the women’s side, Karoline Myklebust hasn’t finished lower than sixth in a slalom this season, Mateja Robnik has five top-10s, and Courtney Altringer is coming off an All-American performance on Wednesday.
The slalom races can be watched here: http://www.ncaa.com/championship/liveplayer/player?gameId=442785&date=2014/03/07
The Nordic freestyle races can be watched here: http://www.ncaa.com/championship/liveplayer/player?gameId=442787&date=2014/03/08