The University of Colorado ski team put individual accomplishments aside Saturday, skiing with a strategy with limited risks to get all of its racers through the slalom, and the end result saw the Buffaloes bring home the title at the 62nd annual NCAA Skiing Championship.
It is the school’s 20th national championship in skiing – 11 men’s, one women’s and now eight since the sport went coed in 1983; all eight of those have come under the direction of head coach Richard Rokos, who completed his 25th season coaching the Buffaloes this winter. Rokos’ teams have now won more national championships at Colorado than any other coach, as he snapped a tie with Bill Marolt (seven in skiing, all in a row from 1972-78), and current cross country coach Mark Wetmore, who has seen his men’s teams win five titles and the women two.
The Buffaloes led after the first and third days of competition this week – Utah had a small four-point edge at the midway point – and Colorado carried a seven-point lead over the Utes into the slalom races. But in the end, CU pulled away and won with 505 points, besting defending champion Denver by 27 points, as the Pioneers made a run with five top five finishes and finished with 478 points. Utah slipped into third with 471, while Vermont (443) and New Mexico (402) rounded out the top five.
Colorado pulled off the win with just two top 10 finishes Saturday – but more important, all six of its skiers handled the challenges of the slalom and five did finish in the top 15, earning the Buffs enough points to keep their predators at bay.
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