NCAA Power Rankings week 3
February 15, 2012
By C.J. Feehan
While the RMISA wrings out its clothing from the trip to Alaska and the EISA recovers from a 3-day series comprised of the Dartmouth Carnival and a make-up giant slalom from earlier in the season, our leader board holds firm at the top but slippery on the bottom; kind of like a fish on the line.
#1 Utah (Last week: 1) - What weather in Alaska? Utah seemed unfazed by the rain, frozen crust, wintry mix, and hazardous conditions that could have otherwise plagued their trip North. Yes, those were smiles on the faces of Nick Cohee and Anna Kocken as they rode the chairlift in the pouring rain between alpine runs. Havlick and Graefnings continue to make regular podium appearances in both classical and freestyle. It would take a tsunami to wash the Utes off the top step at this point.
#2 Vermont (Last week: 2) - The Cats arrived at the Dartmouth Carnival not yet at full strength and still swept both of the men's alpine podiums and the women's classic race. Lucy Garrec's win over teammate Amy Glen came down to a photo finish and less than half a boot length. That's one helluva training group in which to find pace for NCAAs.
#3 Dartmouth (Last week: 4) - There's a new sheriff in town, and his name is Ben Morse. If Morse is leading a GS that you hope to win, then he better throw a shoe (in which case he will still carve out the bottom of the turn on his boot lifter); otherwise, the victory is his. The men's nordic trifecta of Packer, Tarling, and Vermeer is unstoppable. When a squirrel gets in Tarling's way, he kills it, grills it, and eats it in the parking lot after his podium finish. That isn't a metaphor. These guys are gearing up for Montana by dodging adversity on a daily basis. Warn the rodents.
#4 Colorado (Last week: 3) - Despite a stellar performance by the Buffs' nordic squad in Alaska, malcontent head alpine coach Richard Rokos said, "It was just a disaster. The whole trip here, the guy's alpine team should have gone fishing. They would've caught more fish than they did qualification points." Colorado finished third in the Seawolf Invite; that's only the second time in the last fourteen meets dating back to 2010 that they have failed to finish inside the top two. Adam Zika was unable to race in the double scored slalom due to injury, but otherwise the team was near full strength. Denver and New Mexico regularly compete with only three alpine women to Colorado's six, so it was shocking to see no female Buffs on the Seawolf Invite podium. Here's to hoping they only packed enough bait to catch a fluke. Hajkova, Reid, and Oedegaard can only do so much to carry the team's spirit.
#5 Denver (Last week: 5) - Bravissimo! Denver's alpine squad capitalized on Colorado's misfortune with wins and podium results from Sterling Grant, Espen Lysdahl, and Trevor Philp. Their nordics pulled off enough top-10 results in the Seawolf Invite to support a leap from sixth into second overall. That's just the kind of spunk necessary to solidify a place in the Power Rankings for another week.
Photo of Dartmouth's Ben Morse "throwing a shoe" by Don Rendall