University of Denver junior Espen Lysdahl won his second NCAA individual championship in slalom, helping the Pioneers secure their 22nd skiing national title last week in Park City, Utah. This marks the eighth championship since 2000 and fourth title for the Pioneers in the past seven years.
“We didn’t miss a beat this week, and that’s what it takes to win a championship,” head coach Andy LeRoy said. “I believe in this team, and I know what they can do. With everything on the line, our team went out there today and raced like champions, placing all six alpine skiers in the top nine. I couldn’t be more proud of them, and it took everything I had to hold back the tears as I watched them compete.”
Denver finished with 556 points, topping second-place Vermont by 68.5 points. New Mexico, Colorado and host Utah rounded out the top five.
Eleven Pioneers earned a combined 16 All-America honors at the NCAA Championships, including eight on Saturday. It marks the most All-America honors and the most individuals to claim the honors in DU’s history.
Lysdahl recorded the fastest time in both runs to beat junior teammate Trevor Philp by 0.77 seconds, giving both skiers First Team All-America honors, while freshman Sebastian Brigovic earned Second Team All-America honors with a ninth-place finish.
Sophomore Kristine Haugen paced the women’s alpine team, finishing fifth and earning First Team All-America honors for the fourth time in as many NCAA Championship races. Sophomore Tianda Carroll and junior Devin Delaney both earned Second Team All-America honors by finishing seventh and eighth, respectively.
“We had one dominant day for Nordic and one for alpine, so this championship was the definition of a team effort,” Nordic head coach Dave Stewart said. “We knew all season that our goal was to win our 22nd championship. Everyone worked and practiced every day with that in mind, and it culminated in great racing all week.”
In women’s Nordic, freshman Sylvia Nordskar placed third in 15-kilometer freestyle, just 17.8 seconds behind New Mexico’s Eve Severrus, earning First Team All-America honors. Redshirt senior Makayla Cappel also earned points for the Pioneers with a 19th place finish.
Sophomore transfer Pierre Guedon earned First Team All-America honors with his fourth-place finish in the men’s 20-kilometer freestyle, coming in 12.2 seconds behind Colorado’ Mads Stroem. Freshman Moritz Madlener rounded out the Pioneer scoring in 27th place.
DU skiing now sits fourth in the nation for the most NCAA Division I team championships for any sport. Oklahoma State wrestling holds the record for the national titles with 34, followed by Southern California men’s outdoor track and field (26) and Iowa wrestling (23). DU’s 18 national titles are second most among ski teams, followed by Utah with 10.