NCAA skiing: Madison Hoffman wins another gold medal, Utah moves into team lead at national championships
Utes have a slim 1.5-point advantage over Colorado as the championships move into their final day in Lake Placid, New York
Friday was a productive day for the University of Utah’s ski team in more ways than one.
First, Australian Madison Hoffman won a second individual title in three days, adding the women’s slalom gold medal to the one she one in giant slalom on Wednesday, as the Alpine portion of the 2023 meet concluded at Whiteface Mountain near Lake Placid, New York.
Second, the Utes moved into the lead in the team standings, and have a 1.5-point lead over second-place Colorado in their quest to repeat as national champions. Utah has 358 points, while Colorado has 356.5 heading into Saturday’s final events — the men’s and women’s 20K classic races at Mt. Van Hoevenberg.
Friday “was incredibly awesome and a little bit stressful for everyone. It’s been crazy how tight (the meet and races have) been.” — Utah Alpine coach JJ Johnson
The races begin at 8 a.m. MST.
Friday “was incredibly awesome and a little bit stressful for everyone,” said Utes head alpine coach JJ Johnson in a school news release. “It’s been crazy how tight (the meet and races have) been.”
Meanwhile, Utah’s Wilhelm “Willy” Normannseth just missed winning the men’s slalom race Friday, but still earned first team All-America honors.
Normannseth had a total time of 1:50.11 for the runner-up spot in the final results. It included a winning first run of 52.58 seconds
“Madison and Willy, the weight of the world was on their shoulders for them to perform on each of their second runs, or else we’re in a giant deficit. Course conditions were great. The whole team was so supportive of everyone,” Johnson said. “Michelle won the second run after hiking on the first run. The idea of everyone staying in the game a little bit helps the whole picture for everyone. But it was incredible. They really performed well and I couldn’t be happier for this group.”
Hoffman’s win was the 83rd individual NCAA championship all time at Utah, and 10th in women’s slalom. She is the first Ute since Anke Friedrich in 1990 to win both women’s GS and slalom at the NCAA championships.
“Today was such a rewarding day,” said Hoffman, who is from Sydney, Australia, and has competed for that country in the Olympic Games. “There was lots of hard work and patience that went into the last year and to walk away with not one but two individual titles was super cool. However, being able to show up for my team and go out there and ski for them was way more special than any individual title. I felt everyone behind me for my second run and that’s something I will never forget.”
The Utes have a strong lineup going into Saturday’s 20k classic. The women’s team consists of Novie McCabe, Sophia Laukli and Sydney Palmer-Leger. The men’s team consists of Walker Hall, Luke Jager and Samuel Hendry.