Drew Roberts came full circle at Howelsen Hill at his final NCAA championships.
The University of Colorado senior and Steamboat Springs native finished 15th in the men’s slalom, but that was the last thing to bring a smile to his face.
Instead, Roberts was able to compete one final time where it all started for him.
“This is where I ran my first slalom course,” Roberts said. “This is where I ran my last college slalom course. It’s like a fantasy. Oh, man, this is — I mean, you can’t write a script any better than this.”
Roberts will graduate in May with a degree in environmental sciences. With a large contingent of family and friends in the crowd, Roberts had the 10th-fastest first run. He struggled a little in his second run at Coaches Knoll, where most of the field lost time.
Regardless, Roberts said you couldn’t draw up a better way to finish a career.
“I’ve had an unbelievable last two weeks of skiing on this hill,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun. I wish I could have done better. I wish our team could have done better, but I got to ski my last college run in front of all my friends.”
University of Alaska-Anchorage freshman Andreas Adde won the men’s slalom in 1 minute, 14.91 seconds. University of Utah’s Torjus Krogdahl was second in 1:15.03, and University of Vermont’s David Donaldson was third in 1:15.30. Defending slalom champion Gabriel Rivas, from the University of Colorado, fell on his first run.
“I was in the zone,” said Adde, who grew up in Norway. “It felt good all the way down. I was nervous when I got in here, but when I do my best it’s usually good enough.”
On the women’s side, University of New Mexico skier and senior Malin Hemmingsson won her third NCAA slalom title in a time of 1:19.91.
University of Denver skier Lindsay Cone was second in 1:20.68, and Utah skier Anna Kocken was third in 1:21.00.
Hemmingsson, who also won in 2007 and 2009, said this one was the most satisfying because it was her last collegiate run.
The Swedish-born skier was able to attack the top section of the second run and be a little more cautious through the midsection, where a combination of gates caused havoc on most of the field.
“The first (national championship), I didn’t know what I did,” Hemmingsson said. “The second one was really good. This one is my last race, so I really wanted this one. I don’t know how I pulled it off.”
NCAA events continue today with two mass-start races, a men’s 20-kilometer freestyle at 10 a.m. and a women’s 15-kilometer freestyle at noon at Howelsen.
— To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org