MONDAY, MARCH 23RD
A week and a half ago, Ben Ogden and the UVM ski team were in Montana for the NCAA Championships. Wednesday, March 11th, the first day of competition, featured alpine skiing, the giant slalom
Day two, Thursday the 12th, was the first day if Nordic racing, the women's and men's freestyle. The women raced first, then the men, with Ogden, a sophomore from Landgrove, Vermont, powering to the win. Then, the sports world stopped.
"It wasn't overly surprising, I will say,", said Ogden. "With March Madness getting canceled, we sort of knew we were up next."
On that Thursday, UVM sophomore Ben Ogden competed in the first of what he hoped would be two events at the NCAA Ski Championships, the 10K freestyle.
Ogden jumped out to a nine second lead halfway through the race and then held on over the second half.
"At 8K in heard that 'three second' split and I was like, 'oh my goodness, it's now or never'. Tons of people were on that hill, cheering really loud. My teammates, my sister, my friends, and I just put my head down and went as hard as I possibly could.", said Ogden.
Ogden wound up winning by three seconds, his first individual national championship as a Catamount. Ben has raced nationally and internationally in his young career, but says this win is special.
"There's something really special about competing for something more than just individual glory.", said Ogden. "It felt so, so good to be able to win that."
However, growing concerns about coronavirus led to the NCAAs being canceled with two days to go. As a competitor Ogden was disappointed, but he understood the decision completely.
"They had to do what they had to do.", said Ogden. "I respect the decision. There's a lot more people going through a lot bigger hardship than the NCAA Ski Championship being canceled."
And now, like so many of us, Ogden is at home, taking things day-by-day.
"Things are stressful. There's a lot going on, for sure.", said Ogden. "I'm ok at keeping myself entertained. Past school I work on my bike a lot, work on my car. That sort of thing."