Rocky’s Svedberg wins national GS title; teammate Julliand is 2nd

2014-03-11T13:22:00Z 2014-03-11T23:43:14Z Rocky’s Svedberg wins national GS title; teammate Julliand is 2ndGazette Staff The Billings Gazette
March 11, 2014 1:22 pm  • 

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Freshman skier Frida Svedberg is on a historic run for Rocky Mountain College.

Svedberg and sophomore teammate Eloise Julliand placed 1-2 on Tuesday afternoon in the women’s giant slalom during the opening day of competition at the 36th United States Collegiate Ski Association national championships on Whiteface Mountain.

With her latest victory at the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics, the 21-year-old Svedberg, who is from Sweden, became the first Rocky woman to ski to a national title in the GS. She has now won a school-record 11 races overall this winter — and five in a row.

“It was pretty exciting to watch,” Rocky coach Jerry Wolf said. “She didn’t miss a lick. She was determined and skied really well ... smooth and solid.”

Svedberg ruled over both runs — in the field of 78 finishers — with a combined time of 2:04.09 on the soft snow conditions. She was nearly three seconds faster than Julliand.

“Her attitude was ‘I’ve got this,’” Wolf said of Svedberg’s soaring confidence level. “That was her plan and she executed it flawlessly. Super exciting, that’s for sure.”

Julliand, who is from France, was clocked at 2:06.91.

“That’s some of the best GS (skiing) she’s done all year,” Wolf said.

Julliand was the first Rocky female ever to come away with a national crown last year when she won the slalom and combined titles at the USCSA championships in Sun Valley, Idaho.

On Tuesday, Rocky sophomore Fredrika Hjelm also placed ninth at 2:08.32, as the third-ranked Battlin’ Bears women won the GS event and took a huge step toward claiming their first national team championship after placing second a year ago.

“It’s right on track,” Wolf said. “We came in with a game plan of winning the GS. The execution was great. It’s a step in the right direction, but we still need to finish it off.”

Top-ranked and reigning team champion Sierra Nevada College was second to Rocky in the GS. The Incline Village, Nev., school placed five skiers in the top 10 in occupying spots four through eight.

Rocky’s Mallory Kelley and Malin Eriksson didn’t finish on Tuesday. However, just the times of the top three skiers for each school count toward the team standings.

The Bears won the GS at 6:19.32, followed by Sierra Nevada 6:23.19 and Brown 6:31.65.

The national team title is based on each school’s combined showing in the GS and slalom.

The women will compete in the slalom on Thursday.

Rocky’s top-ranked men’s team will hit the slopes on Wednesday for the GS. They will race in the slalom on Friday.

The Rocky men have won three national championships, with the last one coming in 2011. The Bears have been second the past two seasons.

Rocky’s lineup includes sophomore Nils Hogbom, who swept all three individual titles at last year’s nationals in Idaho.

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