The Utah Utes are closing in on another NCAA skiing championship, this time in their home state.
Heading into Saturday’s final day of competition at Park City Mountain Resort, defending national champion Utah leads the team standings with 405 points. The Utes lead second-place Vermont by 27.5 points and would have to stumble mightily to not claim the national crown for the second straight year.
Utah junior Gustav Vollo shined on Friday, placing second in the slalom event to earn First-Team All-America status.
Utah senior Joachim Lien took eighth in the men’s slalom and Ute freshman Kaja Norbye was sixth in the women’s slalom.
”The slalom day is always the most stressful, but the guys again positioned themselves,” Utah head alpine coach JJ Johnson said in a school news release. “They didn’t have the best start numbers, from a couple DNFs this year, but Gustav just keeps coming on strong, to do that in the second run, just starting to find the form and trust in his new equipment, it was so cool to see.”
Utah’s Wilhelm Normannseth added a 13th place finish.
On the women’s side, Utah’s Sona Moravcikova was 22nd and Utah’s Katie Parker was 26th in slalom.
Focus now shifts to Soldier Hollow in Midway for the 15/20K freestyle mass start races.
Utah director of skiing Fredrik Landstedt said the alpine season has been “incredible” for the Utes.
“This year JJ and (coach) Mary Joyce did an incredible job, and the whole team has really been doing the perfect job out there, and that’s to score the necessary points. They’ve come together as a team, and that’s what makes a winning group. It’s just that team spirit and team-first. It’s not about the individual glory, it’s all about scoring the points necessary to win. It’s just been incredible watching the alpiners.”