Skiing: Canadian and American NCAA alumni shine in Beaver Creek

Talk about a good weekend for NCAA ski racing athletes on the world cup circuit. In the USA’s home race weekend in Beaver Creek, Colorado, three NCAA athletes finished in the top 10, including a winner and a Canadian.

The first race of the two was the Super-G. What used to be a strong suit for Canada in with racers like Manny Osborne-Paradise and Erik Guay, has become less dominant as the two have aged. No Canadian NCAA racers finished in the top 30, but the same cannot be said for the Americans.

Travis Ganong, formerly of Sierra Nevada college finished sixth, besting his result from last week’s race in Lake Louise. He has consistently been a podium challenger in the speed events but has yet to push through into the top five this season. Being American, he knows the Beaver Creek course like the back of his hand and this could have been his best shot at a win this year, but alas, he did not reach the podium.

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Cochrane-Sigel makes a GS turn in Kranjsa Gora in 2018 (US Ski Team)

The next best NCAA athlete was Ryan Cohcarane-Siegel, who is quietly making himself noticed on the world cup stage. He showed well in the first race of the year and his familiarity in Colorado certainly did him favours this weekend, leading him to an 18th place finish in the Super-G. The veteran Stevan Nyman finished off the field of former NCAA’ers in the top 30 on Saturday.

Making himself look even better, Cochrane-Seigel captured his first world cup top 10 finish in Sunday’s downhill race, finishing sixth and the best racer from his country. He beat out high ranked racers such as Dominik Paris and Kjetil Jansrud, who are some of the best men ever to strap on a pair of skis.

Although the speed events are more fun to watch for the casual skiing fan, it was the lone technical race of the weekend where NCAA alumni shined brightest and finished atop the podium.

Tommy Ford, an alumnus of Dartmouth College finished above the rest of the pack in the giant slalom (GS), capturing the US Ski Team’s first gold medal of the season on the men’s side. His teammate and 2014 Olympic champion Ted Ligety finished 11th, just outside the top 10.

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Tommy Ford atop the podium (FIS.com)

Ford was not the only NCAA alum in the top 10 despite Ligety’s exclusion. Canadian Trevor Philp captured his first-ever top 10 finish on the World Cup circuit, coming in seventh. After finishing up his last season at the University of Denver, this is his first year on the full World Cup circuit. The familiarity of the hill helped him as it did the Americans this weekend, as Denver regularly trains on the slopes of Beaver Creek. The other Canadian NCAA athlete, Erik Read, failed to finish his second run and was therefore disqualified.

When Ford crossed the finish line the the GS in a golden position, he became the first American to land atop the podium on home soil since the aforementioned Ligety did it back in 2014.

With both Lake Louise and Beaver Creek now in the rearview mirror, the field of men’s speed ski racing now takes a break for Christmas before resuming the season across the Atlantic Ocean to continue their pursuits of the FIS World Cup championship.

Cover Photo: Trevor Philp from CBC Sports

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