After five years of flirting with NorAm victories, the senior NCAA racer from Middlebury College finally picked up his first NorAm victory today (3/14/2013) at the NorAm Finals held in Nakiska, AB.
What was it like to finally win after years of coming so close? “Relieving” said Donaldson, “it was just a full sigh of relief at the bottom, that’s about all I feel right now… let it sink in, and then focus for tomorrow,” he said. “I’ve been about 14 feet away from a NorAm win before, that was about 5 years ago, so this is it… this is the only one. If it had to be my last race, I wouldn’t mind it.”
Donaldson won all but one of the GS races in Eastern NCAA skiing this season, and was favored to win at the NCAA Championships in Middlebury last week, but came up disappointingly short. One week later, he has claimed his first NorAm win, scored a personal-best 6.0 FIS result, and now leads the NorAm GS standings with only one NorAm GS left this season… tomorrow. When asked which would have felt better, an NCAA win this year, or the NorAm today, he said “I don’t know which feels better, I think NCAA’s… there’s just nothing quite like it, and I’ll never get to do it again no matter what, and I can still race NorAms next year, so that was a huge disappointment at NCAA’s…. but to come here and win, obviously was a great relief in terms of coming back from that.” Donaldson speaks from experience as the 2009 NCAA champion, when he represented UVM.
Keiffer Christianson (pictured next to David Donaldson) led the first run, but after some rowdy mistakes at the top of the second run dropped back to fourth. The Canadian, Phil Brown, put in two solid runs and finished second, 1.13 seconds behind Donaldson, and Robby Kelley battled his way from a 25th starting position up to third place, only 13 hundredths behind Brown.
The 2012-2013 NorAm GS season concludes tomorrow, and then competitors move over to the Canada Olympic Park in Calgary for the final slalom events of the season.