(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)
BOZEMAN – After a two-week hiatus that saw members of its team compete in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games as well as the World Junior Championships in Goms, Switzerland, the Montana State Nordic team meets up with the Bobcat alpine contingent for the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association/NCAA West Regional Championships this weekend in Steamboat Springs, Colo.
The RMISA Championship kicks off with the men’s and women’s slalom races on Friday, Feb. 23. On Saturday, the Nordic teams compete in the women’s and men’s 5- and 10-km classic races. The meet concludes on Sunday, Feb. 25, with the men’s and women’s giant slalom races as well as the 15 and 20-km freestyle races.
Also during the weekend the alpine teams will compete in the season’s second RMISA giant slalom qualifier on Saturday, Feb. 24. The RMISA alpine qualifier races do not count towards any team scoring and are used as an extra opportunity for skiers to earn qualification points for the NCAA Championships at the end of the season.
The meet will be a warmup for the NCAA Championships, also hosted by Colorado in Steamboat Springs from March 7-10. NCAA competitors will be announced on the evening of Feb. 26 at NCAA.com.
The Bobcats are coming off one of its most productive regular-seasons in recent years, which culminated in a third place showing at the University of New Mexico Invitational. In addition, the MSU men’s alpine team was the second best outfit on the winter circuit racking-up 609 total points, second only to Denver with 614.
Highlighting the Bobcat men’s alpine performance was Garret Driller, who posted two victories- one in slalom and one in giant slalom- and three podium finishes. Morten Bakke posted the highest point total behind four top three showings, while Addison Dvoracek captured the Denver Invitational’s giant slalom title.
Jocelyn McCarthy paced the Montana State women’s alpine squad with 170 points. McCarthy notched four top five finishes. Also contributing to the Bobcat attack were Kari Hole (six top 10 finishes), Benni Lyche (four top 10 finishes) and Stephanie Gartner (five top 10 finishes).
Emma Tarbath had the most consistent regular-season campaign for the MSU Nordic women. Tarbath posted 163 total points, the eighth best on the RMISA circuit. Tarbath registered four top 10- finishes, including a runner-up showing in the freestyle at the DU Invitational.
Johanna Taliharm, who competed for Estonia in the Olympic Games in biathlon, recorded three top 10 finishes before heading to Korea, while Anna Fake completed all ten events during the season, including four top 10 showings.
Kathleen O’Connell, who missed the last two invitationals of the season while competing in Switzerland, and Jordi Floyd, also have potential for top 10 showings this weekend.
The MSU men’s Nordic team has been paced by Erik Axelsson, Karsten Hokanson and Eli Jensen throughout the season. Axelsson tallied 153 total points, while Hokanson and Jensen added 150 and 115, respectively. In all, the threesome combined for nine top 10 finishes, including two podium appearances.
Colorado won the regular-season championship with 2,603 points. The Buffs won three of the four team meets this year, with Denver winning the Utah Invitational. Colorado has been the top Nordic team with 1,414 points while Denver has been the top alpine team with 1,235.5 points scored. The Buffs have won the most races individual races this year (13) with Utah second with 11 race wins.
Montana State has never won an RMISA Championship and only once- 2007 Women’s Nordic- has a team won its event.