NCAA Championship PreviewMarch 5, 2018
The 2018 NCAA Championships are being held at Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs, Colorado this March.
Ian Torchia skiing to 2nd place, NCAA Championships, March 10, 2016 (Photo: Karen Brown)
- March 8th - Classical (interval starts)
- 9 am Women's 5K
- 10:30 am Men's 10K (2 laps)
- March 10th - Freestyle (mass starts)
- 9 am Men's 20K (4 laps)
- 10:30 am Women's 15K (3 laps)
- 1:30 pm Team Awards
The NCAA selection process allows for no more than three skiers in each gender per team. Of the 19 schools represented this year, 11 sport full squads of both men and women.: Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Fairbanks, Colorado, Dartmouth, Denver, Middlebury, Montana State, New Mexico, Northern Michigan, Utah, and Vermont. Michigan Tech is just one short of a full squad.
Alayna Sonnesyn, NCAA Championships, March 9, 2017
Alayna Sonnesyn, Univ of Vermont, had a phenomenal NCAA Championships last year, finishing 3rd in the 5K classic and 2nd in the 15K freestyle (and the top American in both). Sonnesyn has been skiing well again this season and will definitely be one of the favorites. Vivian Hett, Northern Michigan Univ, had a top 10 finish in the 5K classic last year and will be in the running again on Thursday. And both of Hett's teammates, Kristen Bourne and Nicole Schneider, have the potential to be in the top 5 with a great race.
Ian Torchia, Northern Michigan Univ, sat out last season as a medical redshirt, but the year before at this same venue, Torchia had a 2nd place in the men's 10K freestyle and 4th in the 20K classic (and like Sonnesyn, was the top American in both) Racing well this season, Torchia should have a strong chance at the podium. Zak Ketterson, Northern Michigan Univ, has had some great races this season in his sophomore year, and could crack the top 5 with a solid performance. And Luke Brown, Dartmouth, has been consistently in the top 5 out East and will look to improve upon his top 10 finish in the men's 20K at last year's championship.
Perhaps the biggest impact on performances this week will be a combination elevation and weather. Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs sits at around 6,700 feet, providing a challenge for those from the Midwest and East coast. Early forecasts for Thursday indicate temps well above freezing and sunshine, which could slow down the conditions and accentuate the elevation. However, some teams have arrived very early to better acclimate the conditions, including Northern Michigan that came out nearly 10 days in advance.
Notes: Six skiers, including four with Midwest roots (Ketterson, Torchia, Schneider, and Sonnesyn), qualified for the U23 World Championships and will be competing at NCAAs this year.
Kelsey Dickenson, College of St. Scholastica
Amanda Kautzer, Michigan Tech
Sarah Goble, Michigan Tech
Kristen Bourne, Northern Michigan
Nicole Schneider, Northern Michigan
Vivian Hett, Northern Michigan
Gaspard Cuenot, Michigan Tech
Reid Goble, Michigan Tech
Tom Bye, Michigan Tech
Ian Torchia, Northern Michigan
Kjetil Baanerud, Northern Michigan
Zak Ketterson, Northern Michigan
Renae Anderson, Bowdoin
Alayna Sonnesyn, Vermont
Margie Freed, Vermont
Luke Brown, Dartmouth
Carolyn Lucca, New Mexico
We're planning for some photos and recaps on both days of racing.