Martin Harris, of University of Nevada, Reno, skis Wednesday in the NCAA championship giant slalom event at Steamboat Ski Area.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Martin Harris, of University of Nevada, Reno, skis Wednesday in the NCAA championship giant slalom event at Steamboat Ski Area.

DU fares well on Day 1 of NCAA skiing championships

Giant slalom leads off national event at Steamboat Ski Area

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Bump Heldman, of Bates College in Maine, skis Wednesday in the giant slalom portion of the NCAA championships at Steamboat Ski Area. The event resumes today with a Nordic classic skiing race at Howelsen Hill.

— Wednesday morning, their considerations of their chances couldn’t have been more different.

The University of Utah’s Eva Huckova was just a bit short on confidence.

“My money was on (Univer­sity of Denver skier) Lindsay Cone,” she said. “I didn’t really expect anything at all.”

Denver skier Leif Kristian Haugen, meanwhile, was calm, but sure he could manage at least a spot on the podium.

“Everyone kept telling me, ‘You’re the big favorite. You should win this,’” he said.

On Wednesday afternoon, however, they had a lot more in common. Huckova and Haugen became the first national champions crowned at the 2010 NCAA Skiing National Championships in Steamboat Springs, winning the giant slalom event at Steamboat Ski Area.

Huckova won the women’s title with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 54.54 seconds, edging Cone, the favorite in more eyes than just Huckova’s, by nearly a second. The University of Denver skier was second at 1:55.48.

The University of Colorado’s Katie Hartman was third in 1:55.86.

For the men, Haugen won with a two-run time of 1:48.84, ahead of Ace Tarberry, of Dartmouth, second at 1:49.01, and David Donaldson, of Vermont, third at 1:49.13.

“It’s a great feeling,” Haugen said. “I had a lot of really great races this year, and this is way up there.”

Racers, especially the men, had to deal with changing conditions throughout the day.

Wet, springlike conditions greeted the men on their first run, but things turned downright slow by their second. A wet snow fell as the top 20 racers of the second run assaulted the course. A steady stream of volunteers tried to slip the fall line, but the second run times were more than a second slower than the first run.

That was fine by Haugen, who entered the second run in second place, behind Vermont’s Chris Colpitts.

“The snow was way better than expected,” he said. “I was praying for it to be really snowy with no visibility because I know my skiing right now is good. I just tried to stay solid over my outside ski and dive into every gate.”

Colpitts bobbled his second run and gave up the 0.13-second lead he had taken after the first go-round. He finished sixth.

The University of Denver, seeking its third consecutive national championship, also had two other racers in the top eight. A.J. Avrin was fifth, and Andreas Kilde finished eighth.

For Huckova, the realistic possibility of an NCAA championship didn’t strike her until she looked at the first-run times.

She was in first place by 0.3 seconds, far from a safe margin but enough to give her confidence.

Turns out she had no reason to doubt the championship. Skiing on the still powder-free run in the morning, she logged the second run’s fastest time, as well, besting Cone and all others twice to secure the title.

“I have no idea how I beat Lindsay. I felt really good. I wasn’t nervous at all,” Huckova said. “The conditions were really good. The snow was really hard.”

Although Denver failed to capture the top spot, it again flexed its muscles in the women’s race. Ida Dillingoen was fifth, and Jennie VanWagner was ninth.

The University of New Mexico also had a pair of top finishers with Malin Hemmingsson in fourth and Anne Cecilie Brusletto in sixth.

The championships continue today with a Nordic classic skiing race at Howelsen Hill. The women start their 5-kilometer race at 9:30 a.m., and the men take to the snow for a 10-kilometer race at 11:30 a.m.

The next Alpine event is the slalom at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Howelsen Hill.

The venue will change, but some things will remain the same.

“I don’t know,” Huckova said about the slalom. “I don’t feel as confident about that race.”

Looking ahead to that same race, Haugen also considered his chances.

“Well,” he said, “I think I’m going to win that one, too.”

Results

Wednesday

Women

  1. Eva Huckova, UU, 1:54.54

  2. Lindsay Cone, DU, 1:55.48

  3. Katie Hartman, CU, 1:55.86

  4. Malin Hemmingsson, UNM, 1:56.04

  5. Ida Dillingoen, DU, 1:56.24

  6. Anne Cecilie Brusletto, UNM, 1:56.35

  7. Sofia Smith, UU, 1:57.33

  8. Courtney Hammond, DART, 1:57.55

  9. Jennie VanWagner, DU, 1:57.64

  10. Alex Parker, UAA, 1:57.65

  11. Meg Ryley, UVM, 1:57.65

  12. Erika Ghent, CU, 1:57.90

  13. Lyndee Janowiak, UVM, 1:57.96

  14. Anna Kocken, UU, 1:58.14

  15. Marie-Elaine Lepine, UNH, 1:58.21

  16. Kate Williams, UNM, 1:58.26

  17. Kelsey Roddick, DART, 1:58.40

  18. Ashley Kate Durham, STL, 1:58.41

  19. Petra Gantnerova, UAA, 1:58.43

  20. Valerie Kechian, UVM, 1:58.48

  21. Geordie Lonza, WIL, 1:58.60

  22. Veronique Archambault-Leger, UNH, 1:58.73

  23. Dana Breakstone, CLB, 1:58.99

  24. Nicole Dvorak, MID, 1:58.99

  25. Carolina Nordh, CU, 1:59.04

  26. Aileen Farrell, UNH, 1:59.23

  27. Annie Rendall, DART, 1:59.36

  28. Amy Lattimer, MSU, 2:00.16

  29. Emily Porter, WIL, 2:03.30

  30. Natasha Woodworth, MID, 2:03.57

  31. Laurel Carter, WIL, 2:04.75

  32. Kayla Fry, UAA, 2:07.77

  33. Nicole Poleschuk, UNR, 2:14.63

  34. Amy Harris, UNR, 2:47.74

  35. Erika Horst, UNR, 5:06.72

Men

  1. Leif Kristian Haugen, DU, 1:48.84

  2. Ace Tarberry, DART, 1:49.01

  3. David Donaldson, UVM, 1:49.13

  4. Bryan Shpall, MID, 1:49.28

  5. A.J. Avrin, DU, 1:49.63

  6. Chris Colpitts, UVM, 1:49.73

  7. Thomas Schwab, UNM, 1:49.79

  8. Andreas Kilde, DU, 1:49.90

  9. Torjus Krogdahl, UU, 1:50.30

  10. Andreas Adde, UAA, 1:50.30

  11. Michael Cremeno, UNH, 1:50.39

  12. Kyle Lung, UU, 1:50.70

  13. Max Lamb, UU, 1:50.71

  14. Michael Mackie, MSU, 1:50.98

  15. Christopher Acosta, UNM, 1:51.03

  16. Gabriel Rivas, CU, 1:51.04

  17. Trevor Leafe, DART, 1:51.08

  18. Halfdan Falkum-Hansen, UAA, 1:51.11

  19. Erik Gilbert, UVM, 1:51.18

  20. Jacob Lund, MID, 1:51.34

  21. Spencer Nelson, CU, 1:51.46

  22. Vincent Lebrun-Fortin, CLB, 1:51.52

  23. Joshua Kernan, CLB, 1:51.63

  24. Bump Heldman, BATES, 1:51.66

  25. Christopher Barber, MSU, 1:51.67

  26. Benjamin Manter, BATES, 1:51.68

  27. Drew Roberts, CU, 1:58.81

  28. Bobby Poehling, MID, 1:59.13

  29. Petter Brenna, UNM, 1:59.18

  30. William Ford, UNH, 2:00.91

  31. Luke McLaughry, DART, 2:05.91

  32. Paul Atkinson, UNH, 2:09.70

  33. Martin Harris, UNR, 2:19.79

  34. Braden Harden, STM, 2:22.36

  35. Robert Alex Dyroff, 2:27.11

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