BOZEMAN, Mont. Led by Even Sletten's sixth-place finish in the 10-kilometer freestyle, the University of Utah ski team was in sixth place after Wednesday's first day of the NCAA Skiing Championships.
Sletten's finish earned the Utes 34 points. Snorri Einarsson finished 10th, earning another 30 points. Both earned All-America honors with their respective finishes. Ben Fick placed 24th, receiving 16 points.
Utah's 80 race points were good enough for second overall in the men's Nordic standings.
On the women's side, Annelies Cook took 16th in the 5K freestyle, notching 24 points. Sara Schweiger, who is recovering from illness, finished 18th to score 22 points. Zoe Roy was 26th, earning 14 points.
"We would have liked to have been in a better position after the first day," Utah head Nordic coach Wendy Wagner said. "We are overcoming some obstacles and know there is a lot of racing left. We are fired up to give a good fight."
Utah has 140 points after the first day. Colorado leads the event with 186 points, Northern Michigan is second with 153 points, and three schools are tied for third with 141 points each.
"The competition is tough, and everyone raced their hearts out," Utah director of skiing Eli Brown said. "The snow was coming down hard in the morning and our girls were at a disadvantage to start so early, but they didn't let that faze them. The guys raced hard as well."
The Utes continue at the championships today with the men's and women's giant slalom, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
"Our spirits are high, and we know there is a lot more racing this week," Brown said. "Being over 40 points behind CU puts us in the underdog position. Our alpine team has been resting up all week and is ready to go tomorrow."