The Montana State Bobcat Ski Team competed in the NCAA Skiing Championships and placed fourth overall with 406 points, becoming the highest ranking team in MSU History. The Bobcats lead the competition after the second day, placing well in the Giant Slalom and the Nordic Freestyle, but fell from first on the last day, giving the Cats’ their record setting finish. The competition took place March 9-12 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
“I am so proud of the entire Bobcat ski team. They put in a lot of hard work this year and when they got to the NCAA Championships it all paid off. The Bozeman skiing community puts in so much hard work to help us, it feels good to bring one of the big team trophies back to Bozeman,” MSU Head Alpine Coach Kevin Francis said.
The Bobcats were bested by the University of Utah (3rd), the University of Colorado (2nd) and Denver University, which won the competition with a total of 567.5 points. Dartmouth rounded out the top five with 335 points. The men’s alpine team racked up 154 points, the highest in the competition for an individual event, to contribute to the team’s high overall finish.
Junior Anika Miller is the first female skier from MSU ever to win an individual national title, placing first in the nordic freestyle in a time of 13:06.1. “It feels absolutely incredible [winning the title], but also very surreal. I could hear [my teammates] yelling guttural screams as I went flying by them on the downhills, so I had some indication that I was having a good race, but I never expected it was an NCAA Championship good race,” Miller said.
In the nordic classic, senior Cambria McDermott finished 20th and freshman Johanna Taliharm finished 31st with times of 56:42.6 and 1:00:08.4, respectively. On the men’s side of the classic, senior Sawyer Kesselheim finished 27th in 54:02.3 with teammates senior Forrest Mahlen and freshman Karsten Hokanson finishing 30th and 37th with times of 54:03.6 and 55:20.5, respectively.
“The team really pulled it together this year and skied fast. [We] are such a tight-knit group of great people that the year would have been great regardless of the performance, but it really felt good to have placed as well as we did,” Hokanson said.
The Bobcats received 11 All-American honors, with David Neuhauser awarded First-Team All-American. The team will lose seven seniors including McDermott, Kesselheim and Mahlen, as well as Michael Radford, Tenaya Driller, Madi McKinstry, Sina Sandholt and Una Trivanovic.