(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, C.O. – Montana State sophomore Anna Fake became the Bobcats’ fourth All-America performer at the 2018 NCAA Skiing Championships after finishing eighth-overall in the 5-kilometer classic event on Thursday morning at Howelsen Hill.
Fake, a native of Telluride, Colo., covered the course in 15:57.5 and collected 23 points for MSU. Dartmouth’s Katherine Ogden captured the national title in 14:47.2.
“It feels amazing,” Fake said. “Honestly, it’s still sinking in a little bit. I didn’t really expect it when I talked with Coach Johnson yesterday. I told him my goal was to make it to NCAAs, and I succeeded with that goal, so I’m like now what? He said go get top eight, be an All-American. I kind of laughed and was like ‘okay, I’ll try my best.”
Also recording points for Montana State were Johanna Taliharm and Emma Tarbath. Taliharm, who is coming off her Olympic biathlon experience, placed 13th in 16:15.0. Tarbath finished 22nd-overall in 16:32.5.
“The women really had a strong day,” said MSU Nordic head coach Matthew Johnson. “Two of the three are in their first NCAAs and just sophomores. Anna Fake has had such a consistent season. It’s been so impressive. She’s been so consistent in training and so consistent in races all season that we had high expectations. I told her last on Wednesday night that I expected a top eight from her as a realistic result and she said ‘no way,’ but here we are, top eight, All-American, so we’re really proud of her.”
In all, the Bobcat women posted 50 points in the race.
Karsten Hokanson guided the MSU men’s team finishing 17th-overall covering the 10K course in 29:07.5. He was followed by Erik Axelsson, 29th, 29:55.5, and Eli Jensen, 35th, 30.08.3.
“Today was really tough on the guys’ side,” Johnson said. “These are conditions that we haven’t seen this season. We went with some really fast skis that we were confident in as long as the conditions didn’t break down too much, which is when the sun hits the snow and it heats up really fast. Generally, it stays cold for a while and then it breaks all at once. It broke for the second lap, so you saw a couple of guys out there double-polling the entire race and that played to their benefit.”
Utah’s Martin Bergstrom won the men’s individual classic crown in 27:37.1.
The Montana State Nordic squad will finish its NCAA appearance with the freestyle (skate) races on Saturday morning.
“Honestly, the expectation is that we step it up even more with the skate, which is really our strong discipline. Emma Tarbath has been on the podium this season and has been consistently top five in almost every race. We’re really excited to see how she does. This is a really good course for her and the conditions, again, should be really good.
“I think we’re peaked, sharp and racing at top-end speed,” Johnson added. “We didn’t have that at regionals. I think we can expect some top 10 finishes on Saturday.”
At the midway mark of the NCAA Championships, Colorado sits atop the team standings with 276 points. The Buffaloes are followed in the top 10 by Denver 267, Utah 235, Dartmouth 217.5, Vermont 162, Montana State 143, Middlebury 143, New Mexico 140, Alaska-Anchorage 99 and Northern Michigan 86.