STOWE, Vermont - The 2019 National Collegiate Ski Championships came to a close on Friday with a 15/20k classic mass start. For the second day, NMU skier Ian Torchia (Rochester, MN) led the Midwest men finishing sixth and teammate Zak Ketterson (Bloomington, MN) finished close behind in seventh. NMU was second in the overall men’s team score with 142 points, just five points out of first. Margie Freed (Apple Valley, MN; UVM) led the Midwest women in 11th. Katharine Ogden (Landgrove, VT), who is a sophomore at Dartmouth, earned her third NCAA title by a large margin in the women’s 15k classic race. Ogden was undefeated in the 2018 NCAA Championships, winning both the 5k classic and the 15k freestyle mass start. She is the first Dartmouth skier in 56 years to win three titles in a career and she still has two years ahead of her (read more on Dartmouthsports). Ricardo Izquierdo-Bernier (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) who competes for the University of New Mexico won his first NCAA title in the men’s 20k classic mass start. The University of Utah secured the combined team score win with 316 points.
Competition kicked off with the women’s 15k classic. A strong lead pack formed at 5k with Ogden leading. At the 10k mark, Ogden began to make her move and lengthen the gap between her and University of Utah’s Julia Richter (Sayda, Germany) who won the NCAA title on Wednesday in the 5k freestyle. Ogden dominated the women’s race by 23.4 seconds and successfully defended her NCAA classic title. Richter also had a commanding 26.1 second lead over Hedda Baangman (Oestersund, Sweden; CU Boulder) who finished third. Five Midwest women finished in the top 20. With strong determination and grit, Freed skied another impressive race especially after having to fight her way from the back after getting tangled up in the first 100 meters of the race. She remained consistent in her results, earning a solid 11th place finish for the second day. Freed was only 18 seconds out of the top 10. Abby Jarzin (Green Bay, WI; NMU) finished 14th, Amanda Kautzer (Plymouth, MN; MTU) was 17th and MTU teammate Sarah Goble (Harbor Springs, MI) was close behind in 19th and Renae Anderson (Golden Valley, MN; Bowdoin College) was 20th. Michaela Keller-Miller (Plymouth, MN; UAA) was 30th, Nicole Schneider (Plymouth, MN; NMU) 32nd, Sadie Peterson (Mora, MN; UWGB) 38th and Anja Maijala (Wrenshall, MN; UAF) finished 39th.
“Today’s race was very tough,” explained Freed. “I got boxed in during the first 100m and fell, ending up in the back by quite a bit. I spent the first two laps trying to catch up to where I thought I should be, but couldn’t catch the second pack in the end. Although it wasn’t the race I had hoped for, the conditions were great and it was so fun to have such a big race on the UVM home course. It was also great to have so many Midwesterners there, and their parents cheering was very much appreciated!”
The 2019 NCAA Championships concluded with the men’s 20k classic mass start. The men’s race was not as predictable as the women’s. The race resembled a cat and mouse game as each skier in the front pack took turns leading throughout the majority of the race. With two kilometers left in the race, Izquierdo-Bernier worked his way from the third place position and into the lead. His efforts paid off as he crossed the finish line 6.1 seconds ahead of Sigurd Roenning (Vikersund, Norway; UAA) and Maximilian Bie (Sorreisa, Norway; UU) who was third.
“Today’s race was hard from the gun,” explained Torchia. “Ricardo the eventual winner made a move on the 3rd lap that I went with but was unable to replicate that on the last lap when he did it again!”
Torchia made several big moves throughout the race, sticking with the front pack and leading the race at 10k and 15k. Despite these efforts, Torchia was not able to hold on in the final kilometers to secure a podium position and ended up in sixth, just 8.1 seconds out of a spot on the podium. Ketterson also had an impressive race finishing just 4.3 seconds behind Torchia in seventh, earning them both All-American titles once again. Patrick Acton (Eagan, MN; MTU) finished in 37th.
Ketterson summarized his race: “It was a fast pace from the start with a couple of the western guys taking it out hard. I tried to hang behind people for as long as I could to save something for the finish. Unfortunately I broke a pole with a kilometer to go and lost the pack before I got a new one. Disappointed with the ending but it was a good week regardless.”
“I am happy with these NCAAs even if I was left wanting a bit more,” commented Torchia. “It’s been an honor to race for NMU these past 5 years and I can’t thank Sten, Andy, Tad, Shane, Håkon, and all my teammates enough for all their dedication to the sport and helping me to become a better skier and person throughout the years. Go cats!”
Combined Team Score: UU 316, CU 263, UVM 246, NMU 206, DAR 191, UNM 141, DU 136, UAA 113, MSU 84, MID 48
Men’s Team Score: CU 147, NMU 142, UU 141, UNM 115, UVM 95, UAA 60, MID 52, DU 50, MSU 39, DAR 37
Women’s Team Score: UU 175, DAR 152, UVM 152, CU 116, DU 86, NMU 64, UAA 53, MSU 45, UAF 42, MTU 39
Mary Kozloski is from Green Bay, WI and is a UW Green Bay Ski Team Alumni, where she skied and studied Communications and Business Administration for four years. Mary continues to love and stay connected to the sport through writing. She is a travel and outdoor enthusiast and enjoys exploring everything Colorado has to offer, which she has called her new home state since fall of 2016.