All-American Mark Heinrich-Wallace
March 11, 2005
STOWE, Vt. -- The University of Utah alpine squad had a tough day in the slalom event as the team still remains in fourth-place with one more day of NCAA skiing action. Utah is hopeful to gain ground on third-place Dartmouth in tomorrow's competition.
"We sit in a close striking position for third overall with one event remaining," said Head Coach Kevin Sweeney. "This will go down to the wire. The alpine team skied very aggressively today and we came up with some good results. It was difficult racing on hard New England ice and we did well. We opened skiing a bit cautiously the first run but everyone hammered the second run, which ended up giving us some very valuable points."
"We had a recent day today," remarked Head Alpine Coach Aaron Atkins. "There were some good results, but overall somewhat of a solid day. We are going to go out tomorrow and try to catch Denver and Vermont."
The western schools continue to ski strong as three of the top-five teams are represented by the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Skiing Association (RMISA). Denver has surged ahead posting a 25.5-point gap between second-place Vermont. Third-place Dartmouth skied well and held on to a slim lead over fourth-place Utah. The defeating national champions New Mexico are in fifth rounding out the top-five.
Park City, Utah native Mark Heinrich-Wallace exploded on the slopes today, skiing into the top-five. The newly acclaimed first-team All-American piloted the Utes attack with his fifth-place performance with a scorching time of 1:21.26. Junior Will McDonald was the Utes second leading scorer with a 11th-place finish in 1:22.71. After clipping a gate and having to "hike", junior Ben Thornhill managed to torch the competition in his second run to finish 32nd in 3:34.27.
The women's team skied consistent, finishing all three scores in the top-20. Utah's Lina Johansson managed to lead the team after recovering from a fall to finish 15th overall with a two-run time of 1:29.79. The Utes were also fueled by senior April Mancuso's 16th-place finish in 1:29.88, while teammate Rowena Hyldahl raced to 18th with a time of 1:30.25.
"Mark had the run of his career, which vaulted him into fifth position for first-team All-American honors," said Sweeney. "Just great explosive skiing on his behalf. I could not be more happy for him. Ben and Lina threw down awesome second runs with Lina posting the third fastest and Ben the sixth fastest from a late start position. This was great to see them charging so hard after having rough first runs. They skied for the team and that really fired us all up. I'm proud of that.
"Will, April and Rowena skied dynamite too," added Sweeney. "It carries over to tomorrow where it is going to be a great battle."
Tomorrow, March 11, Utah's hopes for a podium finish will fall on the shoulders of the cross country teams performance in the 20/15-km freestyle. This will be the last day of NCAA competition as Utah tries to make one last run for the team title. Events will be held all day.
"If Vermont falters and we score big, silver is a possibility," said Sweeney. "We're supposed to get 6-16 inches of snow tonight, so tomorrow's distance races are going to be really tough. It's going to be a slug-fest for sure going 15- and 20-km in this kind of conditions. Were on the hunt for the green suits of Dartmouth and Vermont in this mass start race. I'm hoping Denver is tired from their great performance on Thursday and we can narrow the gap. This has been some great NCAA racing. We've had several Ute Alums stop by during the week and I have received many emails cheering us on. That's just great to feel the tradition."
For complete individual and team results log on to: Link.
NCAA Team Scores: 1. Denver 497.5; 2. Vermont 472; 3. Dartmouth 411; 4. Utah 399; 5. New Mexico 359; 6. Middlebury 283; 7. Colby 280; 8. Colorado 277; 9. Alaska-Anchorage 264; 10. Nevada 251.