(Editor’s Note: Montana State Media Release)
BOZEMAN — Montana State’s Garrett Driller won the Men’s Giant Slalom and teammate Addison Dvoracek finished second to lead Montana State to a third place finish, the best in program history, at the 2018 Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association (RMISA) Championship/NCAA Western Regional at Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
The Bobcats finished third in the competition with 558 points, joining traditional powers Denver (710.5 points) and Colorado (618) atop the standings. Sunday’s strong giant slalom finish boosted Montana State into second in the alpine events in all three categories – men, women and combined. The MSU men finished just 3.5 points behind Denver.
Along with keying Montana State’s historic team finish, Driller made joined elite company among Bobcats individuals. His RMISA title is only the fourth by a Montana State skier since 1983. The senior posted a combined time of 1:56.56, just edging Dvoracek’s 1:56.83. Driller’s 59.26 topped all skiers in the second run, while Dvoracek, a sophomore, posted a 57.05 to win the first run. That was the fastest mark of the day. MSU senior Jeffrey Bell finished eighth (1:57.82), junior Morten Bakke was 11th, and sophomore Patrick Carry 17th (1:58.56).
Senior Kari Hole led Montana State in the women’s giant slalom, posting the second-best time on the second run (57.29) on her way to a third place finish of 2:00.81. Senior Beni Lyche finished seventh (2:01.40), junior Stephanie Gartner was 13th (2:03.03), junior Jocelyn McCarthy was 20th (2:05.90), and junior Mia Henry was 21st (2:06.21).
MSU Alpine coach Kevin Francis was thrilled with his team’s performance. “What a great weekend for the Bobcats! The kids fought hard and skied their best on the same courses they will race in the NCAA Championships next week. Our best two meets of the year give us a ton of confidence going into the Championships, and this kind of team effort is what it will take to win in two weeks.”
Sophomore Emma Tarbath paced Montana State’s Nordic skiers, finishing fifth in the Women’s 15K Freestyle (50:13.0). Junior Johanna Taliharm, fresh off of competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, finished 10th (52:04.9), while sophomore Anna Fake was 19th (54:41.18), sophomore Jordi Floyd 20th (55:05.6), and sophomore Kathleen O’Connell 27th (56:24.7). In the Men’s 20K Freestyle junior Karsten Hokanson finished ninth (1:01:14.5), freshman Eli Jensen was 15th (1:02:16.2), senior Noah Andersen 27th (1:05:41.6), and senior Martin Muan 29th (1:08:17.3).
Bobcat Nordic coach Matt Johnson expressed excitement over his squad’s showing. “I think the team had a really solid weekend in advance of NCAAs,” he said. “Our skiers were in the front pack right up until the end and didn’t quite have the finishing speed to get on podiums, but we have been training a lot with the intention of being our fastest in about two weeks so it was good to see the fitness is still there. Emma Tarbath had another outstanding distance race, placing 5th in the front pack on the same course we will be racing for NCAAs, while Noah Andersen had his best weekend yet as a point scorer for both races, a great sendoff for an amazing senior on the squad.”
Montana State’s next competition is the 2018 NCAA Championships, which begin March 7 at Steamboat Springs.