Utah's Holt; MSU's Francis Named RMISA Coaches of the Year

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 • by Brooke Fredrickson, RMSIA

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah—Utah head Nordic coach Abi Holt and Montana State head alpine coach Kevin Francis have been named as the 2017 Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Athletic Association Coaches of the Year, announced this week by the conference. The award is selected by the coaches in the league.

For Utah's NCAA championship team, Holt coached Martin Bergström to both the 10-km classic and 20-km freestyle titles at NCAA's while five athletes combined for nine All-America honors. Also earning podium finishes at NCAA's was Merete Myrseth, who earned a silver in the women's 5-km classic, while Martin Mikkelsen earned bronze in the men's classic. Utah was the top-scoring Nordic team at the NCAA Championships.

Holt is in her eighth season as head Nordic coach for the Utah ski team. She has helped coach the Utes to six top-three finishes at the NCAA Championships and her skiers have brought home seven individual national titles and earned 17 podium finishes at NCAA's. Holt has coached 16 athletes to 45 All-America honors during her time at Utah.

Francis helped lead Montana State to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships while Benedicte Lyche won the women's NCAA giant slalom title. MSU skier swept the top two spots on the podium with Stephanie Gartner finishing second. Both also earned All-America honors in the slalom while Gartner was the RMISA Champion in the giant slalom. For the men, Addison Dvoracek was an All-American in the giant slalom with a seventh-place finish.

Francis is in his third season at Montana State. Lyche is his first individual national champion and he has coached seven athletes to 15 All-America honors. Last year the Bobcats finished fourth at NCAAs, their best career finish.

It is Holt's second RMISA Nordic Coach of the Year award. She was also the recipient in 2011. Francis has won the alpine Coach of the Year award three straight seasons.

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