Montana State Press Release
FRANCONIA, N.H.–Montana State’s Benni Lyche became the fourth Bobcat in history to win an individual national title at the NCAA Skiing Championships winning the women’s giant slalom to join legendary MSU skiers Tor Fageraas, Dan Brelsford and Anika Miller, Wednesday afternoon at Cannon Mountain.
Lyche’s title capped an outstanding day for the Bobcat alpine team. Teammate Stephanie Gartner finished runner-up, while on the men’s side freshman Addison Dvoracek and Garret Driller each garnered All-America accolades.
“I’m so excited for Benni and Steph,” said MSU head alpine coach Kevin Francis. “They both did well last year and built upon it this year. The men’s team was very solid as well. They’ll be fired-up to capitalize on the slalom, Friday.”
Lyche’s final run was one for the ages as the skier in front of her lost a ski in a rut and hit the fence hard. Lyche was held in the gate while they fixed the fence, which skiers refer to as ‘getting iced in the start,’ and extremely difficult to deal with mentality.
“She remained calm, called down on the radio to check in and see what the problem was,” Francis said. “After we assured her she could handle the rut, she came out of the gate skiing nervous. After five terrible turns, she flipped the switch and skied her best from there down.
“She hit the rut hard but maintained her composer and kept moving down the hill and managed to carry all of her speed to the finish,” Francis added. “It was terrifying and exciting and the most amazing performance I’ve seen in a long time. It required all of her skill, mental toughness and aggression to win.”
Lyche finished with a two-run total of 2:17.58, while Gartner followed closely in 2:17.71. Jocelyn McCarthy finished 23rd overall in 2:26.20.
This is the second time in as many years both Lyche and Gartner raced to All-America First Team recognition; Lyche placed second and Gartner fourth in the GS at the 2016 NCAAs.
On the men’s side, Dvoracek placed seventh in 2:14.73, while Driller was tenth in 2:15.50. Morten Bakke placed 13th with a clocking of 2:26.20.
Montana State is in first place of the 2017 NCAA Skiing Championships following the first day of competition. MSU, in search of its first NCAA ski title, amassed 149 points as the Bobcats tied for the best team score in the women’s giant slalom (85 points) and recorded the third-best team total in the men’s competition (64). The University of Utah (136 points) and University of Denver (133) are on Montana State’s heels. Dartmouth College (107) and University of Colorado (92) round out the top five.