LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – Filip Forejtek made history and the Colorado Buffaloes got off to a great start at the NCAA Ski Championships on Wednesday.
A fifth-year senior, Forejtek became just the third male ever to win back-to-back national titles in the giant slalom. His performance helped the Buffs finish the first day of the championships in the lead.
CU’s alpine team scored 139.5 points, taking a 22-point lead over second-place Denver (117.5). Three-time defending champion Utah is in third (115), while Montana State (108) isn’t far behind. The championships resume Thursday with the Nordic freestyle races, followed by the slalom on Friday and the Nordic classic races on Saturday.
“I think it was a complete team effort today and it’s been building for a while that we can do this as a team,” CU alpine coach Chad Wolk said. “As a team, we did really well today and that’s exciting. And it’s only part of the way done and we’re looking forward to the next.”
It started with Forejtek, who finished his two GS runs at Whiteface Mountain in 2 minutes, 7.16 seconds, edging teammate Louis Fausa, who was second in 2:07.54.
“It feels better today (than last year) because Louis got second, so it’s two Buffs on the podium,” said Forejtek, who earned his fourth career first team All-American honor. “Plus in general the team performance was really good today. So it feels much better.”
Forejtek joins Dartmouth’s David Viele (1998-99) and Utah’s Ben Thornhill (2003-04) as the only repeat champs in the GS.
“Wow, that’s definitely a cool stat,” Forejtek said. “I like that, but as I said before, the most important thing today is that we performed well as a team.”
Fausa, a junior, got some redemption after last year’s disappointment. Sitting fifth after the first run in 2022, his ski fell off during the second and he didn’t finish. This year, he pushed Forejtek for the title and earned his first career All-American honor.
“It’s quite the performance I feel,” Fausa said. “Even cooler to be on the podium with Filip. It’s kind of what we dreamed off. We talked about it last year; unfortunately I lost my ski then, but, yeah, amazing feeling.”
Jacob Dilling also performed well, placing 13th with a time of 2:08.62.
On the women’s side, Emma Hammergaard placed fifth, with a time of 2:13.42. Utah’s Madison Hoffman was the champion, in 2:10.66.
“It feels great,” Hammergaard said of her first career first-team All-American honor. “It’s my first one so it feels really good. … I’m happy with two solid runs to put together.”
Also for the Buffs, Elena Exenberger was 17th (2:16.86) and Kaitlyn Harsch was 29th (2:20.55).
Most importantly for the Buffs is that they have the lead as they seek their 21st national title and first since 2015 – the last time nationals were held at Lake Placid.
“Yes, it feels amazing,” Forejtek said of turning the lead over to the Nordic team on Thursday. “This is the best feeling. This was our goal, so we made the first step.”
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