LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (ABC4 Sports) – Once again, the Utes are the champions of skiing.

Utah’s Novie McCabe completed a sweep of the Nordic races at the 2023 NCAA Skiing Championships on Saturday, winning the women’s 20K Classic in 1:00:04.3, to power the Utes to their fourth consecutive NCAA team championship and fifth win in the last six NCAA Championships. It is the Utah Ski Team’s 16th national championship.

The Utes’ Sophia Laukli followed in third place, and Sydney Palmer-Leger finished fifth, to contribute 103.0 points to Utah’s team total, the most by one team in any race in the 2023 NCAA Championships. In the men’s 20K Classic, Utah’s Samuel Hendry led a strong team effort with a fourth-place finish.

Utah won the title with 526.0 points, followed by Colorado (491.5) and Denver (416.5).

“It’s an incredible feeling to pull this one off,” said Director of Skiing Fredrik Landstedt. “It was probably the hardest one in my five years at Utah. Colorado came out and they really performed at a higher level than they have all winter, and it ended up coming down to the wire. I’m very proud of our whole team.”

Since the NCAA combined genders in skiing beginning with the 1983 Ski Championships, the Utes are the first program to win four straight team NCAA Championships.

Utah’s team win was highlighted by a dominant performance on the women’s side, as Utah skiers won all four national championship races this week in Lake Placid. Madison Hoffman was a double national champion in the Alpine competition, winning the giant slalom to open the competition on Wednesday, and claiming the win in slalom on Friday. That set the stage on Saturday in the Nordic competition for McCabe, who had won the women’s 5K Freestyle on Thursday, to complete the quartet of individual championships for the Utes.

“It was a really good day out there today,” McCabe said. “It was fun to ski with both of my teammates for pretty much the whole race. I think we really wanted to really try to work together coming into this and get some good points for the team. I’m really happy with today and proud of how everyone performed.”

With McCabe’s win today, Utah has swept the women’s Nordic races at each of the last three NCAA Championships, winning six consecutive races. Palmer-Leger swept the 2021 titles, while McCabe (5K Classic) and Laukli (15K Freestyle) claimed last year’s individual titles, before this year’s sweep by McCabe.

“That was just incredible by our Nordic women,” Landstedt said. “They are just in a different class. For all three of them to be up there the entire race, especially with Sydney and Sophia coming straight from Europe and definitely being a little tired coming back from the World Championships is just awesome. This was a really tough race, and a tough course with the conditions, so they had to fight it out and it took everything they had to be able to stay up there and finish that well. With long hills and tough conditions it was a tough course to ski.”

McCabe, Laukli and Palmer-Leger formed the lead pack throughout today’s 20K Classic, with McCabe’s winning time of 1:00:04.3 followed closely by Laukli’s 1:00:25.3 for third place and Palmer-Leger’s 1:01:31.2 for fifth. In the Men’s 20K Classic, Hendry’s fourth-place time of 55:43.0 led the way for the Utes. Jager’s 11th-place finish came in a time of 57:01.7 and Hall’s 17th-place performance came in 58:43.0, all contributing valuable points toward Utah’s 34.5-point team victory.

Hendry’s fourth-place performance in today’s 20K Classic followed second-place finishes in each of the 2021 and 2022 NCAA Championships 20K Freestyle races, and was his fifth career top-three finish in an NCAA Championships race for his fifth first-team All-America award.

“That was a battle in the men’s race, and the conditions got even harder as it got warmer and the course was a little slower, so it was not easy for anyone,” Landstedt said. “They said it was the hardest race they’ve ever had. Sam had a great race today. He came back and he was really disappointed after Thursday’s race so it was really exciting to see him finish fourth. Luke had to fight the whole way and so did Walker, and their finishes really helped the team.”

Today’s performances saw four Utes earn All-America honors (Hendry, McCabe, Laukli and Palmer-Leger), bringing Utah’s total for this year’s NCAA Championships meet to 13.

The team title is Coach Landstedt’s fourth NCAA championship at Utah (2019, ’21, ’22 and ’23) and sixth overall in collegiate skiing.

This is the University of Utah’s 30th team national championship in school history, and fifth national title for Utah skiing in the past six NCAA Championships, dating back to 2017.

“We have an incredible coaching staff that works work so hard to make this happen,” Landstedt said. “The Alpine coaches, JJ (Johnson) and Mary (Joyce), do a great job for the team to be able to perform at this level at the championship. It’s always a bit of a gamble because you only have three spots in each race so everyone contributes and every few places can make the difference in falling to third, fourth or fifth place. Even one bad run can be the difference in a championship. And Miles (Havlick) works extremely hard with the Nordic team and does a really good job. There’s just so much that goes into it and that has to work out for Utah to have a good day.”

Utah came into the day holding a slim 1.5-point lead over Colorado, having surged into the lead Friday for the first time in this year’s championship meet with a strong day of Alpine racing, powered by Hoffman’s national championship in the slalom.

“It’s the same with the athletes,” Landstedt continued. “We have a tough team, for them to even make our NCAA team, because we have 22 or 23 and we only can take 12 to NCAAs. They come here and they’re under a lot of pressure because we have high expectations and they want to win it, and it makes it definitely more stressful than with a smaller team where you’re able to ski more individually. We have to always make sure we get the most points and ski for the team. That’s what makes it more fun, the way they support each other and they’re cheering other on. We have great camaraderie on this team, and I’m proud of the way they competed.”