Novie McCabe will leave the University of Utah as a two-time NCAA Nordic skiing champion after Thursday’s wire-to-wire win in the women’s 5K freestyle at the NCAA Skiing Championships in Lake Placid, New York.

The junior from Winthrop, Washington, who was featured earlier this week in a Deseret News article, also won the 5K event at last year’s national championships at Soldier Hollow in Midway.

“Today was good,” she said in a school news release. “It was a great race for me, I just tried to go out there and do the best I could for the team. I think we all had that mindset. We were all pretty nervous going into it, but I’m proud of the team as a whole for pulling through. I think we all went out there, gave it our best and had the best days we could. I’m happy with it.”

McCabe posted a final time of 12 minutes, 46.3 seconds and finished ahead of runner-up Jasmine Lyons of New Hampshire by almost 13 seconds. Utah’s Sophia Laukli finished fourth (13:02.6) and teammate Sydney Palmer-Leger was 14th.

The defending champion Utes gained some ground in the team competition, after entering the day in third place after Madison Hoffman won the women’s giant slalom for Utah on Wednesday.

Meet the Olympian who will lead Utes into the NCAA Skiing Championships
Utes in third after Day 1 at NCAA Championships; Utah’s Madison Hoffman wins GS title

Colorado (279.5 points) is alone in first, followed by Utah, at 263 points.

Friday takes the competitors back to Whiteface Mountain for more Alpine skiing, with the slalom starting at 7 a.m. MST.

The four-day meet concludes Saturday back at Mount Van Hoevenberg with men’s and women’s 20K classic races.

On the men’s side Thursday, Utah’s Luke Jager placed sixth in the 10K classic, while Walker Hall was eighth. The performances earned each skier All-America second team honors.

“The boys had a strong day today,” said head Nordic coach Miles Havlick. “Walker (Hall) and Luke (Jager) came out charging. Sam (Hendry) had a little bit of a tough day, but … it was everything we could ask for from them. The women are obviously hard to beat. Sydney came back from the World Championships just this past weekend, so she’s a little bit tired. But Novie and Sophia were right there fighting for the top spots. It was a great day.”

Hendry placed 21st.

Utah’s Luke Jager placed sixth in the 10K classic, while teammate Walker Hall was eighth during the second day of competition at the NCAA Skiing Championships in Lake Placid, New York. | NCAA Photos via Getty Images