Yates, Kuus, Einarsdottir all post top-30 finishes
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – Plymouth State University sophomore Karl Kuus (Toronto, Ont.) put together a stellar first run in the slalom at the 2018 National Collegiate Men's and Women's Skiing Championships under the lights at Howelsen Hill on Friday night.
Kuus blazed down the hill with a first run time of 39.74 seconds, the 11th fastest in the field of 34 racers. He was unable to carry the momentum into his second run, however, posting the 30th fastest time (53.27) to finish 28th overall with a combined time of 1:33.01. Kuus finished 11th overall at the 2017 NCAA Championships.
Freshman Cooper Yates (Richmond, B.C.) was the top overall finisher for PSU, taking 24th place. He finished his initial run in 41.96 seconds, the 28th fastest first run, before posting a second run of 43.90 seconds. His second run was the 23rd fastest of the night, giving him a combined time of 1:25.86.
After taking second in the giant slalom on Wednesday, Dartmouth College sophomore Tanguy Nef earned the individual title in the slalom with a pair of dominating runs. His 38.56 first run was the third fastest and he led the field with a second run of 41.93 seconds for a combined 1:20.49.
The University of Denver, with all three racers finishing in the top ten, was the top men's team with 79.0 points. Dartmouth (74.0) and host University of Colorado (69.0) made up the rest of the top three.
Yates and Kuus combined for 10.0 points to earn a 13th place team finish, just one point behind the University of New Hampshire and slipping past Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) rivals Williams College (9.5) and Boston College (5.0).
On the women's side, junior Freydis Einarsdottir (Garðabær, Iceland) recorded a 26th place finish. Her opening run of 42.39 seconds was the 30th fastest time. Einarsdottir posted a 43.50 during her second run, 22nd fastest, to finish with a combined time of 1:25.89. Einarsdottir finished 15th in the slalom at last year's NCAA Championships after taking 12th during the 2016 NCAA Championships.
Freshman Amelia Smart of the University of Denver, who won the women's GS on Wednesday, made it a perfect two-for-two after taking home the individual slalom title. Her first run of 37.90 seconds was the second fastest and her second run was nearly 0.30 seconds faster than the next closest competitor, giving her a 1:19.21 combined time and a second title in as many events.
Smart's efforts helped lead UD to the women's team slalom title with a score of 91.0 points. The University of Vermont (78.0) and CU (66.0) rounded out the top three. Einarsdottir earned five points for PSU to finish 13th in the women's team standings, ahead of Colby College and just a point behind Middlebury College.
Plymouth State, led by first-year head coach Geoff Ouellette, was competing on the national stage for the fifth straight year and sixth time overall. This marked the first time the Panthers were represented by as many as three racers. It was also the first time two men qualified in the same year.
The 65th annual NCAA Skiing Championships conclude Saturday (Mar. 10) with the men's Nordic 20k freestyle and women's Nordic 15k freestyle races at Howelsen Hill.
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