Entering today’s final races, Colorado Coach Rick Rokos fi
BARTLETT, N.H. (AP) _ Entering today’s final races, Colorado Coach Rick Rokos figured his Buffaloes were on target for a 13th NCAA ski title, while Pat Miller must have realized his Utah team was close to getting the gate again.
Unbeaten Colorado took a 540 1/2-509 lead over Utah into the women’s 10-kilometer and the men’s 20-kilometer races.
``I think we’re in good shape,″ Rokos said after the Buffaloes overcame a 33 1/2-point deficit Friday in the slalom races to overtake the Utes.
Defending champion Vermont was third with 421 1/2 points and Denver fourth, 420.
But Rokos predicted ``it will be hard day for us because the pressure will be on us.″
Miller figured ``if we’re within 10 points of Colorado, they’re definitely catchable.″
But that was before he saw the team standings after the slalom races.
Colorado last won in 1991 and before that in 1982 after dominating the 1970s with eight titles.
Utah won six crowns in the 1980s with three seconds, and won in 1993 before finishing second to Vermont last year.
Scott Wither of Colorado won the men’s slalom Friday while teammates Jamie Engelking and Greg Buchheister finished 11th and 21st.
Mark Elvidge, 12th, was the top Utah finisher with Per Johansson 25th and Andy Hare 26th. The Utes top slalom racer, Mike Elvidge, straddled a gate and did not finish the first run.
Narcisa Nehovic of Denver won the women’s slalom and Christl Hager of Utah finished second, but Colorado skiers finished fourth, seventh and 12th while Utah’s only other finisher was 20th. The Ute’s third woman, Benedict Johansen, was disqualified for missing a gate on the first run.
Johansen’s mistake prompted a protest by Miller, whose request for a video replay was rejected.
After Johansen missed the gate, she hiked back up, but the gatekeeper said she missed another gate.
``It seems hard to imagine someone would miss a gate after hiking back up,″ Miller said.
With only three Utah women qualifiers, the disqualification cost the Utes valuable points that might have put it within the 10 points Miller figured they needed.