LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Dartmouth sophomore Patrick Caldwell and Utah freshman Veronika Mayerhofer claimed the national championships in the men’s and women’s freestyle races at the 2015 NCAA Skiing Championships hosted by St. Lawrence at Mt. Van Hoevenberg on Wednesday.Caldwell, who won this event at the NCAA regional championship two weeks ago, became the first Big Green skier to earn a national title since 2011, winning the men’s 10k in 25:09.1, ahead of the Denver’s Moritz Madlener. Madlener was the first skier on the course Wednesday, setting an impressive standard ahead of the other 39 competitors. His time of 25:11.3 held until Caldwell, who was the final skier on the course, crossed the finish line to overtake the Pioneer standout.
“Those last few kilometers, I was really hurting. But I made it down that last hill so I was psyched,” said Caldwell. “But it was a beautiful course with perfect skiing, really fast and fun. Having won the same event last week, I definitely felt good going into this [race].”
Colorado teammates Rune Oedegaar and Mads Stroem joined Montana State’s Forrest Mahlen in the top five to earn First Team All-America honors. Second Team All-America honors went to the remaining top 10 individuals, including Vermont’s John Hegman and Rogan Brown, Northern Michigan’s Kyle Bratrud, Dartmouth’s Silas Talbot, and Utah’s Niklas Persson.
Meanwhile, Mayerhofer was a later start in the women’s 5k free and had to overcome a solid time of 14:34.6 from the University of Denver’s Syliva Nordskar, who was the first student-athlete on the course. However, Mayerhofer, who is a member of the Austrian ski team and competed in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, delivered a blistering time of 14:21.4 to claim the national title.“I think this was the best course we’ve been on this season and I really enjoyed it,” said Mayerhofer, who felt the trail suited her because of its uphill climb. “The downhill was faster than I expected today because the snow seemed wet, but actually it was pretty fast.”
The west region dominated the women’s race, taking all 10 All-America honors. Nordskar’s time did hold up as the runner-up finish, while New Mexico’s Emilie Cedervaern, Montana State’s Cambria McDermott and Utah’s Sloan Storey rounded out the First Team All-Americas. Second-Team honors went to Colorado’s Maja Solbakken, Petra Hyncicova and Ane Johnsen, New Mexico’s Eva Severrus and Utah’s Anna-Lena Heynen.
After day one of competition, Colorado leads the field with 155.0 points, 24.0 ahead of the Utah. Vermont and New Mexico are tied for third at 106.0 points, while the defending champions from Denver round out the top five with 93.0 points.
The NCAA championships continue on Thursday when the alpine competitors get underway in the giant slalom at Whiteface Mountain beginning at 9 a.m. ET.