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NCAAs: Karl Johnson, Lucie Zikova win slalom titles; CU shoots into lead

NCAAs: Karl Johnson, Lucie Zikova win slalom titles; CU shoots into lead{mosimage}STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – Dartmouth College should be allowed to retire the NCAA slalom trophy. Karl Johnson gave the Big Green its fifth straight men’s slalom title under the lights on Howelsen Hill Friday. In the women’s slalom, Lucie Zikova led the Colorado Buffaloes to take over the lead from Denver.

Colorado now sits 25 points ahead of its Front Range rivals: Colorado 436, Denver 412.5. New Mexico sits a breath behind Denver in third with 410 points.

For Johnson, it was an evening of fun. As twilight settled over Howelsen Hill, he floated down the first run cleaner than any skier and the only one to break 37 seconds. Between runs, he was joking with his teammates in the lodge.

‘I just love the feel of this place’ the Dartmouth skier said. ‘It reminds me a lot of Cochran’s, which is where I grew up skiing back in Vermont. Once you have the mentality of a place, it’s easy to do well. I felt great today. I had a rough day of training yesterday but got that out of my head and tried to have fun. Before second run, the guy behind me said, ‘This is fun.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, this is fun.”

Timothee Theaux, who was disqualified from the 2005 NCAA slalom after finishing third, smoked second run to move from 10th to second overall. Theaux raced for Western State College but transfered to the University of Alaska-Anchorage this year. Tor Fodnesbergene, skiing for the University of New Mexico, rounded out the podium.

Colorado shot into the lead on the skis of the Lady Buffs. In the lead after the first run, Zikova felt the pressure of the team win but skied cleanly enough on the turny second run to maintain the lead.

‘I feel so much more responsible when I’m skiing for the team and not just myself’ Zikova said. ‘When I don’t do well, the team doesn’t do well. … It’s hard to not think about that when there’s the whole team here, and people came from everywhere.’

With Lisa Perricone in fourth and Sabrina Mocellin in 11th, the Lady Buffs scored huge points, moving them ahead of the Pioneers, who had a horrible night. Two Denver women were disqualified first run for not hiking high enough after skiing out, and Jennifer Tank managed only 23rd on her first run.

Rounding out the women’s podium was UVM’s Jilyne McDonald in second — the first NCAA medal for the Catamounts — and defending slalom champion Megan Hughes from Middlebury grabbing the bronze medal.

The NCAAs conclude tomorrow with the freestyle races at Howelsen Hill. The men’s mass start 20 km freestyle starts at 10 a.m., while the women charge off the line for the 15 km race at noon.

NCAA men’s slalom

1) Karl Johnson, DAR 1:13.85
2) Timotheee Theaux, UAA 1:14.37
3) Tor Fodnesbergene, UNM 1:14.49
4) Luke Patterson, UNR 1:14.52
5) Sean McNamara, UNH 1:14.66
6) Joe Dunn, UNH 1:14.81
7) Alex Mach, UNM 1:15.13
8) Charles Christiansen, WIL 1:15.31
8) Zachary Brown, UVM 1:15.31
10) Greg Hardy, UVM 1:15.76

Women’s slalom

1) Lucie Zikova, CU 1:22.77
2) Jilyne McDonald, UVM 1:23.02
3) Megan Hughes, MID 1:23.15
4) Lisa Perricone, CU 1:23.41
5) Karin Ohlin, UNM 1:23.64
6) Jamie Kingsbury, UVM 1:23.71
7) Abbi Lathrop, CBC 1:23.83
8) Michelanne Shields, DAR 1:24.04
9) Mattie Ford, MID 1:24.21
10) Spela Bertoncelj, MSU, 1:26.52

Team scores

1) Colorado 436
2) Denver 412.5
3) New Mexico 410
4) Vermont 388
5) Dartmouth 382.5
6) Middlebury 318
7) Utah 314
8) New Hampshire 306
9) Anchorage-Alaska 297
10) Nevada 199

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