After a rough day on the slalom slopes, the University of Utah gave its best shot but came up 2 1/2 points short in the finals of the NCAA Ski Championships.
Down by 50 points after the slalom on Friday, the Utes rallied in the freestyle cross country to finish second behind the University of Colorado, 654 to 651.5. Third was the University of Denver with 638, followed by Vermont with 556.5, University of Alaska-Anchorage with 524, New Mexico with 513 and Dartmouth with 505.Utah gave up the 50 points to Colorado in the men's slalom. In an event Utah has skied well all season, the best it could do Friday was a 19th from Mike Elvidge and a 26th by Alain Britt-Cote. Its third skier was disqualified.
The Utes put on a charge in the freestyle cross country, finishing 2-3-16 in the men's 20K and 5-6-12 in the women's 15K.
The brother team of Rune and Frode Kollerud finished 2-3 in the classical on Thursday, then repeated the showing on Saturday. Thorodd Bakkern of Vermont was first in 52.40 minutes. Rune finished in 53:16.4 and Frode in 53.21. Patrick Casey of Utah was 16th in 55:22.2
Utah's top finisher in the women's event was Hailey Wappett in 5th with a time of 44:36.1. Winning the race was Line Selnes of Colorado in 41:19.4 followed by Irene Eder of Denver in 43:37.6.
"I knew that the skiers in the West were pretty good, but I've done well," Selnes said. "I won nine of 10 this season."
In the past 16 years, Utah has won the NCAA ski title eight times, including 1997, and has now finished second six times.