Utah took a major step toward winning its 14th national championship in NCAA skiing on Thursday with a dominating performance at the Jackson Nordic Center in New Hampshire.
Utah freshman Sydney Palmer-Leger, from Park City, won the national championship in the women’s 5K classical race to lead a Utes sweep of the podium.
The performances lifted Utah to first place in the team standings halfway through the NCAA Championships. Utah has 319 points, followed by Colorado (252.5) and Montana State (213.5).
Palmer-Leger won the race with a time of 15 minutes, 50.7 seconds, while RMISA Women’s Nordic MVP Julia Richter, a 2019 NCAA Champion in the 5K freestyle for Utah—was runner-up (15:55.9), followed by teammate Novie McCabe in third (16:12).
”I’ve coached for 30 years in college, and you definitely need to savor days like this because they don’t come around very often,” said Utah’s Director of Skiing Fredrik Landstedt. “Just amazing. The girls skied so well. We do have a very strong women’s team, but to get a sweep of the podium is just amazing.”
It was just the 10th time a team has swept the podium at the NCAA Championships since skiing went co-ed in 1983.
“It was a pretty incredible race,” said Palmer-Leger in the school news release. “I think I am still in shock that we swept the podium. It is always hard to go into the race when there is a lot of high pressure and expectations to do well. It was awesome that we pulled it off today.”