BOZEMAN, Mont. - Two Utes turned in podium performances in the giant slalom and four finished among the top 10 to help the University of Utah ski team improve to second place after the second day of the NCAA Championships at the Bridger Bowl.
After four Utes finished among the top 10 in today's giant slalom races, Utah stands in second place with a total of 372 points and trails Vermont by 24 heading into the final two days of competition. The Utes remain 13 points ahead of reigning national champion Colorado.
"Today featured spectacular racing by everyone," Utah Director of Skiing Kevin Sweeney said. "We charged very hard and went for the move up in the rankings, which is a tremendous accomplishment. I'm in awe of the performances today, especially when the pressure was at its high point. At the championships, our focus is on team performance, but you need to go for the podium to stay in the game. We did that today, and in the big picture, after two days of intense competition, our depth and consistency is showing through. This was an amazing day for motivation and our psyche. I really like the vibe we have right now. We are having a nice team dinner tonight and then getting ready for what should be a great day of racing for us tomorrow."
Utah accumulated a meet-high 114 points in the men's giant slalom discipline, five points ahead of runner-up Colorado.
"Today was one of the most exciting days of ski racing at the NCAA Championships that I have seen in a long time," Utah Head Alpine coach Jaka Korencan said. "The field on both the men's and women's side was deep and absolutely everyone had to push the limits. Despite a couple of mistakes today, we are extremely pleased with the team's performance. That's what the NCAA Championships are all about. I would like to congratulate the team for a fearless performance, supporting each other, and just not giving up at any point of the race. We are all looking forward to slalom on Saturday. We are skiing really well, with a lot of confidence, and I know that our women and men are more than ready to rock and roll."
Junior Ryan Wilson finished second in the men's race for his finish ever at the NCAA Championships. He finished roughly one second off the pace of Colorado's Adam Zika. Wilson was fourth after the first run and then remained consistent and climbed up the individual standings. The Red Wing, Minn., native placed third in the GS at the 2010 national championships and has been on the podium three times this year and six times over his career.
"Today was a sweet day," Wilson said. "I took the first run on a bit on the conservative side to put myself in contention and then just let it rip on the second run. A silver medal at the championships is a great result and what made it even better was looking to my side on the podium and seeing my teammate and roommate Nick Cohee, who has had a tremendous season this year and showed some serious clutch skiing today to secure another podium."
Cohee joined Wilson on the podium in third place for his first career appearance on the podium at the NCAA Championships. The Gardnerville, Nev., native turned in the second-fastest first-run time of the day. Cohee now has been third or better in six races this year and nine over his career.
Both Wilson and Cohee took home First-Team All-American honors for the second time in their respective careers.
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