Athletics & Recreation

Pioneers ski team wins 23rd national championship

The University of Denver ski team has won its 23rd national championship after completing competition at the 2016 NCAA Championships in Steamboat Springs, Colo. this past week. Denver finished first overall in the team standings with 567.5 points, ahead of the University of Colorado (491.5) and the University of Utah (485). The Nordic team showed a strong finish on the last day of racing to help the team claim its record 23rd national title.

“I am so incredibly proud of the young men and women on our team,” says head nordic coach Dave Stewart. “They came into this championship knowing that it would take nothing less than their best to win a title for DU, and they did just that. The conditions were challenging, with rising temperatures through the morning, but everyone brought such composure and focus to the race that I believe the tough conditions worked in our favor.
Alpine head coach Andy LeRoy said he did not expect the emotion that would come with DU’s latest title.

“Each [championship] has become more special than the last, and the reason behind it is our ever growing Pioneer family — from our alumni who write in with memories of the rings they’ve captured to the faces on our freshman and their parents who seem nearly speechless,” he says. “I want to thank everyone who has been associated with DU skiing. Today you have left the coaches speechless too.”

Junior Moritz Madlener finished second overall in the Men’s 20K Classical race, just 1.7 seconds behind the first place finisher. Dag Frode Trolleboe showed another solid performance with his 10th place finish, followed by teammate Lars Hannah who finished close behind in 13th place.

The women were led by sophomore Linn Eriksen with her dominating first-place finish in the Women’s 15 Classical race. Eriksen won the last race of the 2016 NCAA Skiing Championships with a commanding 19.9 second lead. Aja Starkey finished sixth overall in the same race, followed by teammate Taeler McCrerey in 12th place.

“Moritz and Linn have led the team all year, and they did it again today,” Stewart says. “Moritz just missed his first individual national title in a close sprint finish, but his two podium performances this week were huge for the team. Linn skied a masterful race, leading from start to finish, breaking away on the last lap to ski to a solo win. Aja had the race of her life in sixth, and Dag Frode had his two best races of the season when the team needed him.

“I also have to mention that the championship coincided with winter quarter exam week at DU,” Stewart adds. “Every member of our team took final exams in the days before the races and then went out and competed like champions. These guys are truly model student-athletes, and it is my pleasure to be able to coach them.”

The nordic skiers named to the 2016 All-American team include Madlener, who was named to the Men’s Classical First Team, while teammate Trolleboe earned Second Team honors. On the women’s side, Eriksen was named to the Women’s Classical First Team and Starkey earned Second Team honors. Denver finished the 2016 NCAA Skiing Championships with a total of 15 All-Americans, the most of any team.


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