Rocky men ski to 1-2-3-4-5 finish at regionals

2014-02-21T15:45:00Z 2014-02-22T00:31:06Z Rocky men ski to 1-2-3-4-5 finish at regionalsGazette Staff The Billings Gazette
February 21, 2014 3:45 pm  • 

MCCALL, Idaho -- Day 2 of the United States Collegiate Ski Association Western Regional Championships featured yet another dominating performance by the Rocky Mountain College skiers.

The Battlin' Bear men, with freshman Erik Hogbom leading the way, carved out a staggering 1-2-3-4-5 finish on Friday in the giant slalom competition on Brundage Mountain's Alpine Run.

"We've swept regionals a little bit before, but I don't think quite like that," Rocky coach Jerry Wolf said.

Rocky, ranked No. 1 in the USCSA, had a pair of freshmen, Thomas Vandel of France and Hogbom of Sweden, win one run apiece.

Hogbom finished first overall with his combined time of one minute, 48.45 seconds. Vandel was second out of 62 finishers at 1:49.88.

"Erik was really hungry," Wolf said. "I seeded him third (among the Rocky skiers) ... I think that got a little fire in his belly. That was good to see."

Sophomore Nils Hogbom, Erik's older brother and a reigning regional and national champion, was third at 1:50.09.

Teammates Harlan Collins (1:50.30) of Sun Valley, Idaho, and Andrija Vukovic (1:50.43) wound up fourth and fifth.

Rocky actually placed all seven of its skiers in the top 10, but just the top three count toward the team score.

Travis Ahmann (1:52.62) of Washington was seventh, while Jesper Lindstrom (1:53.06) of Sweden placed ninth.

"It was pretty crazy because there's a few fast guys out there," Wolf said. "We never thought we'd sweep it like that. It's pretty amazing."

College of Idaho's Zach Shenk had the third-fastest time in the first run, but he didn't complete his afternoon run.

Rocky was the runaway winner in the team standings at 5:28.42.

The Bears were followed by the University of Colorado 5:39.97, Montana State 3:46.81, Denver University 5:49.04 and British Columbia 5:49.96.

The Rocky men and women will be back on the slopes on Saturday for the slalom, which is considered the Bears' strongest event.

The Bears also dominated in the women's GS on Thursday, with freshman Frida Svedberg and sophomore Eloise Julliand placing 1-2.

The top three teams at regionals, both men and women, will qualify for the USCSA nationals, which get underway on March 10 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Rocky's men and women have qualified for nationals for 12 consecutive years under Wolf. A 13th straight trip would establish a new school record, breaking a mark they currently share with the women's golf team.

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