FRANCONA, N.H. — Colorado has added another champion to its remarkable history in skiing.
On Wednesday at Cannon Mountain, CU freshman Cassidy Gray won the national title in the women’s giant slalom. She edged teammate Stef Fleckenstein, who was second.
A freshman from Panorama, British Columbia, Gray is the 96th individual NCAA champion in CU skiing history. Gray is the first CU women’s alpine skier to win a national title since Lucie Zikova swept the slalom and GS races at the 2008 nationals.
The 1-2 finish by Gray and Fleckenstein put CU in third place after the first day, with 119 points. Montana State and Westminster are tied for the lead with 137 points. Utah, which won the most recent team title in 2019, is in fourth, at 108.
The classic Nordic races will take place on Thursday, with the slalom on Friday and freestyle Nordic races on Saturday.
Gray posted a combined time of 2 minutes, 7.18 seconds in her two runs, edging Fleckenstein (2:07.66). The Buffs’ Emma Hammergaard was 14th, in 2:10.83.
Fleckenstein had the lead after the first run, with Gray in third. Fleckenstein’s time of 1:02.78 in the first run was the fastest run of the day. Gray, however, overtook her teammate on the second run, posting the best time in the field, at 1:03.83. Fleckenstein had a time of 1:04.88 on the second run.
Gray has spent much of her season away from CU and competing internationally. She made her World Cup debut earlier this season. She then competed for the Canadian National Team at the World Championships last month, placing 23th in the giant slalom.
Wednesday marked just the second GS race she’s completed for CU and she’s won both. She won her only other completed GS race at Park City, Utah, in February.
Fleckenstein, a junior, earned All-American honors for the second time in her career. She was second-team All-American in the slalom in 2019. She missed the first part of this season with an injury, but is finishing strong. Wednesday’s race was her second time on the podium (top three) this season and fifth time in the top five.
While it was a banner day for the women’s alpine team, the men didn’t fare so well.
Junior Filip Forejtek finished seventh in the men’s GS, but teammates Louis Fausa and Joey Young both fell on their second runs.
Fausa was able to recover and finish his run, but landed in 31st in place, with no team points. Young did not finish and, therefore, did not score points for the team. Both were top 13 on their first runs.
Forejtek was fourth after the first run and slipped to seventh overall after the second run. It was the lowest finish of the season for the junior, who had been top five in eight of his nine completed races this season.
Gray is the 98th national champion overall for CU, as the NCAA doesn’t recognize the two AIAW titles the Buffs won in the early 1980s.
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