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Utah Ski Team wins 2017 NCAA Championship

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One of the sports Utah should be good at is skiing, since, you know, we live in Utah and all. On Saturday, the Utah ski team won their 11th National Championship, and their first since 2003, so it’s been a bit of a drought for the Utes. Over the last handful of years, the Utes have come close to winning that elusive 11th title, but teams like Colorado and Denver would edge them out. It should surprise almost no one that those three programs would be at the top of collegiate skiing. Of course, Utah was sandwiched between those two teams going into Saturday’s events. Utah freshman Martin Berström picked up a couple of individual titles of his own in men’s freestyle and the 10-km classic that he won on Thursday.

Kevin Sweeney, the Utah Director of Skiing, said of the victory: "I am stunned with the win today. In all my years of coaching, it was one of the most challenging four days of competition," Sweeney said. "I say that because the weather was incredibly cold and windy, and challenging from both a waxing perspective, as well as visibility and conditions. I know all the teams had to deal with it, but it really beat us up. It took a lot of perseverance and gutsy performances for us to win. We struggled a little bit in the slalom, but they were going for it and came up short. We've been crunching numbers and have been able to beat Denver and Colorado by about 30 points on a really good showing during the RMISA season, but didn't know if we could do it in the championships. Bergström was skiing at a whole new level this week, and Mikkelsen had stepped it up, and I knew Kevin Bolger could get top 10. I was also confident in the women, who have been skiing awesome, so I felt good there. It's awesome to be able to take this new trophy back to our new ski building."

Utah sits 3rd all time in skiing titles, Denver has won 23 and CU has won 20, so Utah has some catching up to do.

The only other program at Utah that’s as decorated is the gymnastics team, and here’s to hoping they can break their draught of National Titles later.

Here’s the full release from The U, with additional event results.

JACKSON, N.H. - The Utah ski team won its 11th NCAA title on Saturday afternoon, its first title since 2003. In addition, Martin Bergström won his second NCAA title of the meet with a win in the men's freestyle race. The Utes came into the day in second, trailing leader Denver by 34.5 points with Colorado a close third, needing two solid Nordic races to attempt to move into the lead. The Utes had a race-high 84 points in the men's freestyle race and scored 73 points in the women's race, which was second among all teams. Utah had 541.5 points, winning over Denver (525) and Colorado (524). Starting with the men's race, it was Bergström's second win of the season and second win of the championships. He also won the 10-km classic on Thursday. Utah had three skiers in the top 10 with Martin Mikkelsen finishing eighth and Kevin Bolger finishing 10th, with all three skiers earning All-America honors (the second of the meet for Bergström and Mikkelsen). Denver had three skiers in the top 11, and the Utes were able to pick up five points in the race. In the women's race, Utah was the only team with all three racers in the top 14, as Merete Myrseth finished fifth, Guro Jordheim placed sixth and Natalia Müller finished 14th. Myrseth and Jordheim both earned their second All-America honors of the race. Colorado finished 1-3-28 in the race for 77 points to score just four more than the Utes and Denver only put together 26 points after finishing 11-27-29 on the day, giving the Utes the victory. "The turning point of today is when Guro broke a pole, and she was back in the 20's, and she and Natalia were skiing together," Utah Director of Skiing Kevin Sweeney said. "We told them that they had to go and they busted out and made a big move. The men's results were tremendous, but whether or not we were going to win was based on those guys making the move. It was exceptional athleticism and gutsy performances. "I am stunned with the win today. In all my years of coaching, it was one of the most challenging four days of competition," Sweeney said. "I say that because the weather was incredibly cold and windy, and challenging from both a waxing perspective, as well as visibility and conditions. I know all the teams had to deal with it, but it really beat us up. It took a lot of perseverance and gutsy performances for us to win. We struggled a little bit in the slalom, but they were going for it and came up short. We've been crunching numbers and have been able to beat Denver and Colorado by about 30 points on a really good showing during the RMISA season, but didn't know if we could do it in the championships. Bergström was skiing at a whole new level this week, and Mikkelsen had stepped it up, and I knew Kevin Bolger could get top 10. I was also confident in the women, who have been skiing awesome, so I felt good there. It's awesome to be able to take this new trophy back to our new ski building." The Utes have 11 NCAA titles and 12 championships overall, including an AIAW title in 1978. Utah's 11 NCAA titles ranks third all-time in skiing.

It was the 494th NCAA championship for the Pac-12. "I want to credit the staff for an awesome job," Sweeney said. "We had a great start to the championships and felt fantastic, then struggled a little bit and it can be very dangerous when you feel vulnerable, in confidence and motivation. [Head Nordic coach] Abi Holt, [head alpine coach] Jaka Korencan, [assistant alpine coach] Jeremy Elliott, [student assistants] Ana Kobal and Niklas Persson, all did a tremendous job keeping the athletes focus and the environment fun, and helping me stay relaxed. It was also great having [trainers] Ian and Jared here, helping keep us focused and ready to attack."“