NCAA Championships Preview

March 5, 2024

It's that fateful time of year again! The capstone of collegiate skiing, NCAA Championships are just over a day away, and with them, the coronation of a new batch of champions. Hosted by the University of Colorado Boulder for a record 10th time, and in Steamboat Springs for the 9th time (also a record), this year's NCAA Championships run from March 5th through 9th, with the cross country competitions taking place on the 7th and 9th. Held at the Howelsen Hill Nordic Center in Steamboat Springs, the first of the two races will be an interval-start event on Thursday where the men's field will take the first shift on the 7.5K freestyle course before the women get their turn to cover the same distance (an NCAA first). Then it's on to the traditional mass-start event on Saturday where athletes will be covering 20K in the classic technique which will be led out by the women's field.

With the departure of last year's back-to-back champion, Novie McCabe of the University of Utah, expect for there to be a serious power struggle in the race for the women's titles. Returning favorites like McCabe's former teammates, Sydney Palmer-Leger and Karianne Dengerud, have made strong cases throughout the season to be her successors, but don't count out skiers from their regional competitor, Montana State University, like Kate Oldham and Tilde Baangman who have also posted solid results. The east coast will undoubtedly want a say in the matter as well, with Ava Thurston of Datmouth and Haley Brewster of the University of Vermont both preforming well as of late at both the regional and national levels.

Novie McCabe of the University of Utah, last year's back-to-back NCAA champion, during the 2022 women's 5K classic race (Credit:

While there will be no defending champion in the women's races, both of last year's champions in the men's races, Joe Davies of the University of Utah (formerly with the University of Alaska Fairbanks) and Remi Drolet of Harvard University, will be returning to defend their titles. A stacked field will be looking to dethrone them however, which will include the likes of John Steele Hagenbuch of Dartmouth University who took second in both of the events last year, and Magnus Boee (University of Colorado Boulder) and Adreas Kirkeng (University of Denver) who may be looking to capitalize on the home field advantage. Add in Tom Mancini of the University of Utah and Jacob Nystedt of the University of Vermont for good measure and you should have two tightly contested competitions ahead for the men's titles.

Joe Davies, formerly of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, leading a pack during the 2022 men's 20K freestyle race (Credit:

As for one's to watch, if you're tuning in from the midwest you'll have a slew of names to cheer for, some homegrown and some making the region their second home. For the men's field, the qualified athletes are as follows:

  • Luke Fricker (Northern Michigan University)
  • Skylar Patten (Michigan Technological University)
  • Kristoffer Karsrud (Northern Michigan University)
  • Colin Freed (Michigan Technological University)
  • Henry Snider (Michigan Technological University)
  • Mathias Haugen (Northern Michigan University)
  • Benon Brattebo (University of Vermont)
  • Zachary Nemeth (Colby College)
  • Roger Anderson (University of New Hampshire)
  • Ben Dohlby (University of Alaska Fairbanks)

And for the women's field:

  • Henriette Nilssen (Northern Michigan University)
  • Anabel Needham (Michigan Technological University)
  • Victoria Dybwad (Northern Michigan University)
  • Merle Richter (Northern Michigan University)
  • Synne Herheim (Michigan Technological University)
  • Olivia Laven (Michigan Technological University)
  • Luci Anderson (University of New Hampshire)
  • Elizabeth Tuttle (University of Vermont)
  • Maggie Wagner (Middlebury College)

You can also review a full list of qualifiers from the Central, East, and West Regions.


  • Thursday, March 7: Freestyle Individual Start
    • Men's 7.5K (11:00 am CST)
    • Women's 7.5K (1:00 pm CST)
  • Saturday, March 9: Classic Mass Start
    • Women's 20K (11:00 am CST)
    • Men's 20K (1:00 pm CST)


Howelsen Hill Trail Map


As in years past, NCAA will be broadcasting races live on their website throughout NCAA Championships. Live results will also be available, courtesy of Timing By Mac and Maggie on, and we will be sure to post updates on shortly after each race has concluded.

Results - Day 1
Results - Day 2

There is no bigger stage for collegiate athletes, and as such, be prepared for some exciting days of racing ahead as they put it all on the line for the final competition of the season. Favorites are only favorites on paper, and anything can happen when the pressure is on.