Junior Ben Thornhill wins his second GS title.
March 10, 2004
DONNER'S SUMMIT, Calif. -- The University of Utah ski team posted a fifth-place finish at the 2004 NCAA Championships. The Utes rallied to a combine score of 137 and is currently 51 points out of the lead, skiing in the men's and women's giant slalom disciplines. Three Ute skiers earned All-American honors, finishing in the top 10. This marked the opening day of the four day event.
Denver has taken a commanding lead in first, followed by Vermont in second. New Mexico placed third and Middlebury skied fourth. Utah claimed fifth marking the top five team scores.
"I'm really happy with the point breakdown," said Head Coach Kevin Sweeney. "The points are spread out well and this sets us up for the upcoming events. I'm hoping to move up the ranks tomorrow in the nordic events."
Junior Ben Thornhill defended his GS title, winning the men's giant slalom event beating out New Mexico's Petter Roering with a time of 1:52.24. Thornhill's opening run (56.49) put him in contention, but it was his phenomenal second run effort (55.75) that put him over the top. The Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, native was ranked seventh coming into the event, but held nothing back repeating as champion. The All-American won this same event last season with a time of 1:59.78.
"Ben's first-place finish was absolutely awesome," remarked Sweeney. "We couldn't be more proud of him and this goes to show how great of a team leader he has become. He skied a very tough second run, which really made the difference."
Ute skiers Will McDonald and Gaspar Perricone finished the men's alpine scoring participation, skiing into the top 30. Sophomore McDonald edged out Colorado's Cody Jenick to finish 26th with a time of 1:56.64. Freshman Perricone skied to a 29th-place performance with a two-run time of 1:57.39.
On the women's side, standout juniors April Mancuso and Rowena Hyldahl led the pack, both qualifying for All-American honors. Mancuso was tenths of a second behind Denver's Pia Rivelsrud to place sixth in 2:00.10. Teammate Hyldahl skied into the top 10, finishing ninth overall with a time of 2:00.43. Lauren Lattimer recently came off a knee injury and was not a full strength. The freshman rallied to a 32th-place finish in 2:07.71.
"It was awesome to see April and Rowena finishing in the top 10," commented Atkins. "Overall, the women skied very consistent. Lauren was about 80-percent, but skied smooth and that was very important. I'm really proud of the women's performances."
Tomorrow, March 11, the Ute cross country team will tackle the 5/10-km freestyle technique events. The women's 5-km opening run will begin at 9:30 a.m., followed by the men's 10-km race at 10:30 a.m. Both races will be skied at the Auburn Ski Club in Truckee, Calif.
NCAA Championship Results:
1. Denver 188.0
2. Vermont 168.0
3. New Mexico 155.0
4. Middlebury 150.5
5. Utah 137.0
6. Dartmouth 126.0
7. Colby 112.5
8. Colorado 107.0
9. Nevada 83.0
10. Williams 68.0
11. Alaska-Anchorage 57.0
12. Montana State 50.0
13. New Hampshire 44.0
14. Boise State 41.0
15. Whitman 21.0
16. Bates 16.0
17. Western State 6.0