Utah skiing: Utes win 14th NCAA championship in dominating fashion
Led by Park City resident Sydney Palmer-Leger’s two national championships, Utes take the title in New Hampshire over Colorado and Denver.
This year, nothing could keep the University of Utah ski team from claiming the national championship. Not even COVID-19.
A year after the NCAA Skiing Championships were canceled at the midway mark due to the pandemic with the Utes in control, Utah completed the job Saturday at Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire.
It is the 14th national skiing championship in program history and 28th NCAA team championship for the University of Utah.
“It’s a great feeling of course, especially after last season being canceled when we were winning it after two days,” director of skiing Fredrik Landstedt said in a school news release. “It’s been a long year and quite a struggle to get where we are today. It’s been tough to get the whole season off with all the testing we’ve been doing, but it’s also been just an incredible year for us. It’s just a great way to finish it off and win the championship.”
Utah has now won three of the last four available championships, dating back to 2017.
“It’s a great feeling of course, especially after last season being canceled when we were winning it after two days. It’s been a long year and quite a struggle to get where we are today. It’s been tough to get the whole season off with all the testing we’ve been doing, but it’s also been just an incredible year for us. It’s just a great way to finish it off and win the championship.” — Utah coach Fredrik Landstedt.
The Utes also produced 16 All-Americans over the course of the four-day event; Utah had two individual championships and nine podium finishes.
Both individual wins came from Park City native Sydney Palmer-Leger. She won the 5K Classic on Thursday and the 15K Freestyle by 24 seconds on Saturday.
”I didn’t know what was possible going into today,” Palmer-Leger said in the school news release. “My goal was to ski well and try to get some points for the team so we could get the championship. It feels amazing to be part of this team. All the work was done because we had been working so hard all season as a team so it was fun to just give it everything.
I would not be able to win today without the team. They are constantly pushing me to be better at skiing. I am also so appreciative to have amazing support from Utah. Having everyone out there today and this week makes these wins so much bigger.”
Utah entered the final day with a 24.5 point lead over Colorado with the women racing the 15K first. Palmer-Leger came in first and fellow freshman Novie McCabe finished in third to give Utah two spots on the podium.
Utah finished with 554 points, while runner-up Colorado had 522.5.
“The student-athletes have been working incredibly hard all year and their commitment to the team has been unbelievable,” Landstedt said. “They just love it and love being part of this team. They want to be in Utah and represent the university well. This team has great camaraderie and it is an incredible team to be part of. It’s a lot of fun.”