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Lobo skier Irwin 2nd at NCAAs

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — The last time Katharine Irwin was sitting in eighth place after the opening run of the giant slalom, she blitzed the field on the second run and won the whole thing.

She almost did it again, this time at the NCAAs.

Irwin turned in a spectacular run in the second go, and just missed a national title, coming in second place by just 0.04 seconds.  That run was enough to make her the national runner up, and she combined with teammates Rebecca Fiegl and Haley Cutler to pull in 74 points, placing the women’s alpine team second in the NCAA giant slalom, finishing just behind Denver.

Overall, UNM is sixth after day one of the championships with 94 points, and only a horrid break to skier Rob Greig kept UNM for possibly leading the championships through day one.

Greig finished his opening run in second, giving Greig a great shot as earning All-America on the same hill he earned it on in 2016 in the giant slalom.  Greig handled the top part of the mountain in fine order, and hit the intermediate mark with the top split time.  However, after coming around one gate a little wide to the right, he went low to try and regain some ground, and hit hand hit the ground, causing him to slide just enough to zip past the gate just 20 seconds or so from the finish.

That DNF hurt UNM’s totals as Vegard Busengdal finished 21st and Tyler Theis finished 22nd on his home mountain, giving UNM 19 points.

NOTES: Irwin earned All-American honors in the giant slalom for the second straight season … Irwin’s finish is the best for a Lobo in the women’s giant slalom since Estelle Pecherand-Charmet … UNM’s last women’s giant slalom national title was Jennifer Delch in 2004 … Irwin becomes the ninth two-time giant slalom All-American, and she will have a shot next year at becoming UNM’s first three-time GS All-American.

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