Kuus places 17th; Yates, Einarsdottir post top-30 finishes
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – Plymouth State University sophomore Karl Kuus (Toronto, Ont.) was the top Panther finisher in the giant slalom at the 2018 National Collegiate Men's and Women's Skiing Championships at Steamboat Ski Resort on Wednesday.
Kuus, racing in his second straight national championships, earned a 17th place finish. His opening run of 55.51 seconds was the 20th fastest among the field of 34 racers. He posted a 55.89 second run for a combined time of 1:51.40. Kuus finished in 30th place as a freshman.
Freshman Cooper Yates (Richmond, B.C.) skied his first run in 55.76 seconds, the 26th fastest first run time, then recorded a 56.90 second run for a combined time of 1:52.66 to finish 26th overall. Yates was putting together an impressive second run until he was caught off-balance in the air at the bottom portion of the course. He made a great recovery to avoid missing the subsequent gate, but lost valuable time.
Senior Brian McLaughlin of Dartmouth College edged out teammate Tanguy Nef by 0.19 seconds to take the men's individual title in 1:49.22 as the Big Green won the team event. Host University of Colorado (82.0) and the University of Vermont (63.0) rounded out the top three.
Plymouth State finished in a tie for ninth place with 19.0 points. It was the highest team finish for the Panthers in an NCAA Championship in program history. PSU finished one point behind Middlebury College and two points behind St. Michael's College, while placing ahead of Williams College, St. Lawrence University, University of Alaska Anchorage, University of New Hampshire and Boston College.
On the women's side, junior Freydis Einarsdottir (Garðabær, Iceland) finished 28th in the field of 34. Her opening run of 57.04 seconds was the 31st fastest. Einarsdottir made a push in her second run, posting a 1:01.67 for the 28th fastest time to slide into 28th overall with a combined time of 1:58.71. Einarsdottir, making her third appearance at NCAAs, finished in 19th place in the GS last winter after posting a DNF in the same event as a freshman.
Freshman Amelia Smart of the University of Denver won the women's GS in 1:53.21. She sat in tenth place after her initial run, but posted the fastest second run (58.51) to win the title.
The University of Denver won the women's team GS with a score of 83.0 points. The University of New Mexico (74.0) and UVM (71.0) made up the rest of the top three. Einarsdottir earned three points for PSU to finish 12th in the women's team standings, ahead of Colby-Sawyer College and Bates College.
All three will be back on the mountain on Friday (Mar. 9) for the slalom event at Howelsen Hill. The first run for the women will start at 8:45 p.m. (EST), with the men's first run set for 9:30 p.m. Second runs are estimated to begin at 11:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
Friday's events can be seen live on NCAA.com.
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