Vermont still in first at NCAA tournament after Gruber's winning performance
RIPTON, Vt. -- Vermont's Anja Gruber won the women's 5k classic race to help the Catamounts maintain first place after day two of the NCAA Ski Championships hosted by Middlebury. UVM finished the day with 389 points and owns a 20.5 lead ahead of Colorado (368.5). Utah stands in third overall with 350 points.
Gruber out distanced the field by 11 seconds to win her first national title in a time of 15:31.1. She is the first Catamount to win an NCAA title in the women's 5k classic race since Sari Argillander and Laura Wilson won in back-to-back years in 1989 and 1990.
“I was going out and I was telling myself, 'You feel good. … This is really good,'” Gruber said. “And we were going into the first hill and I did my first stride and I was like, 'My skis are working. This is good.'”
Dartmouth's Mary O'Connell won a three-way battle for second, finishing in 15:42.2 to just beat out Alaska Anchorage's Marine Dusser and Colorado's Joanne Reid.
Freshman Linda Danvind Malm gave UVM two top-10 finishes as she placed eighth overall in her NCAA debut and earned second team All-America honors.
In the men's 10k race, despite falling in the race, Scott Patterson finished with a time of 26:46.2 and tied for sixth with Utah's Miles Havlick to lead the Catamounts. Patterson earned second team All-America honors for the second time in his career.
EISA Men's Nordic Rookie of the Year Jorgen Grav added a top-20 finish (20th-27:16.0) in his NCAA debut for Vermont.
Rune Oedegaard of Colorado won the men's race with a time of 26:00.2. Mats Resaland of New Mexico and Viktor Brannmark of Alaska Anchorage also earned a spot on the podium, finishing second and third, respectively.
The attention turns back to the alpine skiers on Friday as day three of the NCAA Ski Championships features the men's and women's slalom races at Middlebury Snow Bowl.