BOZEMAN, Mont. — Vermont won its first NCAA National Championship since 1994 and sixth in the program’s history on Saturday after the alpine ski team wrapped up a stellar performance with a 1-2-5 finish in the women’s slalom and a 2-7 finish in the men’s slalom at Bridger Bowl in Bozeman, Mont.
“It was an incredible effort by the entire team. They put together an awesome week to earn this,” said Bill Reichelt, UVM’s Director of Skiing and Head Alpine Coach. “The Nordic team did an unbelievable job yesterday and set the alpine team up in strong position going into today. Coaches Patrick [Weaver] and Andrew [Johnson] nailed the wax both days for the Nordic team and the kids were amazing,” continued Reichelt.
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“We had a great feeling going into the last day. The girls were conservative on the first run, but stepped it up for the second run. To finish 1-2-5 in the slalom at the NCAAs is pretty incredible,” said Reichelt.
Vermont piled up 832 points, the most ever by a NCAA Champion, and won by a record-breaking 161 points over Utah (671 pts). Colorado, the defending NCAA Champion, moved up to third on the last day with 670 points.
The Catamounts built a 92-point lead against top-ranked Utah after an outstanding effort by the Nordic squad in the classic races on Friday.
Senior Amy Glen won the women’s 15k classic in a photo finish and the women went 1-3-5 in the event. Senior Franz Bernstein added a third place finish in the men’s 20k classic to help set the table for the alpine team on Saturday.
Sophomore Kate Ryley set the pace early with a time of 43.76 in her first run and won the race with a two-run total of 1:35.17, 17-tenths of a second faster than her teammate Kristina Riis-Johannessen.
Ryley is the first Catamount to win an individual title in the slalom since Gibson LaFountaine won back-to-back championships in 1993 and 1994. Ryley is the third UVM skier to win a slalom title at the NCAAs overall on the women’s side.
Ryley, who was the national runner-up in the GS on Thursday, earned first-team All-America honors in both events for the second consecutive year.
Riis-Johannessen posted one of the fastest times of the field in her second run but could not overtake Ryley and placed second as the national runner-up.
Fellow newcomer Elli Terwiel finished fifth overall and all three Catamounts were first-team All-Americans.
In the men’s race, defending slalom champion, UVM’s Tim Kelley missed out on a repeat title by 24-tenths of a second. Epsen Lysdahl, from Denver, won the event with a time of 1:48.28. Kelley posted a two-run total of 1:48.52 for national runner-up honors. He placed fourth in the GS on Thursday and was a first-team All-American in both events.
Chris Acosta of New Mexico rounded out the slalom podium, finishing third with a time of 1:49.95.
Jonathan Nordbotten finished seventh, matching his effort in the GS race on Thursday. Nordbotten posted a time of 1:51.25 in the slalom race and garnered second-team All-America honors for the second time at this year’s NCAAs.
Bobby Farrell, who tied with Nordbotten in the GS on Thursday, was disqualified in the second run of the slalom race.