Over the 2020 spring break, the Rocky ski team attended the 2020 USCSA National Championships in Lake Placid, NY. The competition started on March 10 and planned to go through March 14. The team competed in seven different events throughout the week, including the men’s and women’s giant slalom, men’s and women’s slalom, men’s and women’s skiercross, and the men’s rail jam. The Battlin’ Bears had also planned to compete in the men’s and women’s dual slalom and slopestyle, but, due to health concerns, those events were canceled. Even with the cancellations, the Rocky Mountain Battlin’ Bears walked away from the week with plenty of hardware.
The Bears started the week off with a bang by winning the skiercross. The men’s skiercross team consisted of freshmen Jacob Drake, Dylan Stutzke, and Filip Johansson along with sophomore Oscar Dalmalm and senior Adam Garrigus. Three athletes placed in the top ten with Johansson in second, Drake in sixth and Stutzke in seventh. Dalmalm and Garrigus followed close behind in thirteenth and sixteenth. Overall the team placed first, ahead of the University of Nevada and Colorado Mesa University. A few days later, Stutzke and Drake tried their hand at freestyle by competing in the rail jam, where Stutzke finished in twenty-first and Drake finished in twenty-sixth. Drake and Stutzke also planned on competing in the slopestyle, but unfortunately, the event was canceled. By the end of the week, the Rocky Mountain freestyle team took home third place overall, right behind Sierra Nevada University (SNU) in second place and the University of Colorado Boulder in first. Dylan Stutzke also took home a seventh-place overall title in freestyle.
On the alpine side for the men, the team of four Swedes and one American ruled the roost by dominating the top ten in the giant slalom. Freshman Alexander Sehlberg placed third in the giant slalom with teammate Dalmalm behind him in fifth place, Johansson in seventh, and freshman Ludvig Bye in tenth. Luke Allen, the American freshman, finished in twenty-eighth. With four out of five racers in the top ten, the Battlin’ Bears men’s team finished first overall in the giant slalom with SNU trailing behind in second and Babson College in third. In the men’s slalom, the team once again dominated the top with Bye in second, Sehlberg in fourth, Johansson in eight, and Dalmalm in eleventh. Overall, the Battlin’ Bears men’s team took home the first-place title in alpine with the minimum number of race points, two, ahead of SNU who had five race points and Castleton University (CAST) who had six race points. Individually, Sehlberg earned second overall, Bye placed third, Dalmalm placed sixth, and Johansson placed eighth.
The Battlin’ Bears women also brought home some hardware after competing in the skiercross. Their team consisted of freshman Sydney Weaver and Jessica Liu, sophomore Larissa Saarel, junior Hannah Clancy, and senior Emily Aga. After competing in four rounds of competition, Weaver finished third, Clancy finished ninth, Liu finished eleventh, Saarel finished nineteenth, and Aga finished twenty-second. Overall, the Lady Bears finished third behind the University of Connecticut and the University of Wisconsin Madison.
The alpine women’s team consisted of Swedish freshman Ester Jakobsson, Weaver, Liu, Clancy, and Saarel. On their first day of the giant slalom, the Battlin’ Bears women made themselves known. Weaver placed sixth with Jakobsson right behind her in seventh and Liu sitting a little further back in twentieth. Overall, the women’s team squeezed onto the podium in third place, behind CAST in second and SNU in first. The slalom day didn’t go as well as the giant slalom day, with only two finishers out of the five Lady Bears. Jakobsson put down the second-fastest time of the day for the women and Clancy finished fifty-third. Unfortunately, Weaver, Liu, and Saarel did not finish. In college racing, in order for a team to place well, the team needs to have at least three finishers, and since only two bears finished that day, the Battlin’ Bears women’s team was unable to take home a slalom title. With the unfortunate finishes in the slalom, the women’s team also did not win any overall titles, but Jakobsson still represented the team by placing second overall in alpine skiing.
With the men’s team earning their first place title in alpine, the Battlin’ Bears ski team was able to take home their ninth national title led by coach Jerry Wolf. Overall, the men’s team has won seven national titles in ‘05, ‘07, ‘11, ‘16, ‘17, ‘18, and now ‘20. The women’s team has won three national titles in ‘14, ‘17, and ‘18. With coach Wolf’s twentieth year of coaching coming up next year, the alpine team is hoping to be victorious once again and win in the 2021 season to round their number to a total of ten national titles.