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CU skiing: Buffs win Utah invitational and take lead at New Mexico

MIDWAY, Utah & RED RIVER, N.M. – The University of Colorado ski team concluded an impressive day in which they held on to win the Utah Invitational in Nordic action while simultaneously taking the lead at the New Mexico Invitational in alpine action.
 
“It was a good day,” CU head coach Richard Rokos said. “Everybody skied to their potential here in New Mexico, and hearing the results from Utah, it looks like things are coming together for us at the end of the season.”
 
In Nordic action at Soldier Hollow, the Buffs used a dominant performance from its women’s team, including a sixth straight win from senior Joanne Reid, and a second place team showing from the men’s team in freestyle action to hold on for the win.  The Buffs extended the lead they had entering the day over Utah and finished the meet with 904 points, a season best, winning by 59 points over the host Utes (845).  Denver finished third with 777 points with New Mexico taking fourth place (695), just five points ahead of Montana State (690) while Alaska Anchorage rounded out the teams in action with 616 points.
 
In alpine action at Red River, N.M., CU took the lead from Utah, which led the Buffs by 27 points entering the day.  CU now holds a 17 point advantage over Utah and 60 over Denver with the final day of racing slated for Sunday.  Colorado has racked up 663 points while Utah has 646 and Denver 603.  The host Lobos had a solid day or racing and are in fourth place with 572 points, followed by Montana State’s 519 points and Alaska Anchorage’s total of 444.  Associate members Westminster College (138) and Colorado Mountain College (41) rounded out the day’s performers.
 
The women’s Nordic team led the way for the Buffs, earning an impressive 136 points (the most a team can score is 141) on the strength of Reid’s win.  She edged out teammate Eliska Hakova by just 3.3 seconds after more than 43 minutes of racing in the 15K race.  Reid’s winning time was 43:15.0 while Hajkova crossed the line in 43:18.3.  Freshman Maria Nordstrom finished in fifth place in a time of 44:06.2, edging out Utah’s Rose Kemp at the line.  Senior Mary Rose finished 20th in a time of 47:27.8.
 
“There looked like a chance for a little bit that we may sweep the podium,” CU Nordic coach Bruce Cranmer said. “Maria was right in there; she just didn’t quite have enough.  I thought for a moment it would happen, but it was still pretty sweet to have three in the top five.”
 
Reid credited Hajkova for Saturdays win, saying she “pulled and kept them from catching us after we put some distance on the chase pack,” and that Hajkova also “gave me a couple pushes on the downhill because my skis were too slow to hold the lead pack in the beginning.”  Reid summed it up, saying “that’s what teammates are for.”
 
Reid has now won six straight races and seven on the season.  Her six straight wins are the most since Maria Grevsgaard won seven straight during the 2008 season.  Her streak is now the third longest at CU since the sport went co-ed in 1983, trailing Grevsgaard’s 2008 streak and a run of eight straight by Line Selnes in 1998.
 
Her seven wins on the season matches the third most in a season since 1983, trailing only Grevsgaard (2008) and Selnes (1998), who each claimed 11 victories in 12 races those seasons.  The seven matches feats also accomplished by John Skajem (alpine, 1986), Toni Standteiner (alpine, 1991), Lucie Zikova (alpine, 2006) and Grevsgaard (2007).
In men’s Nordic action, sophomore Rune Oedegaard lost a near photo-finish to Utah’s Mile Havlick, finishing second by one-tenth of a second after 50 minutes of racing.  Havlick’s time of 50:05.5 just edged Oedegaard (50:05.6).  Sophomore Arnaud Du Pasquier took 10th in a time of 51:28.3 and freshman Michael Vigers rounded out the team scorers on the men’s side in 11th place in a time of 52:27.3.
 
“Rune and Miles were in a full-on sprint,” Cranmer said. “Rune had him with about 100 yards to go, I thought he may hold him off but Miles started catching him.  It wasn’t a photo finish, but it was pretty close.  It was a tough battle between those two.  The gaps kept opening and I think that took a toll on Rune.  He’s never happy if he doesn’t win.  It will keep him focused.  He’s really focused on NCAAs and trying to peak there.”
 
Freshman Charlie Von Thaden finished 15th in 52:27.3, while freshman Gustav Nordstroem finished 18th in 52:53.7 and junior Andreas Hoye took 21st in 54:56.6.  Senior Ian Mallams returned from illness to finish 23rd in 56:15.5.
 
The Nordic regular season is now complete and the Buffs will have two weeks before the RMISA Championships in Bozeman, Mont.
 
“We will just keep training normally and back off a little right before we go to Montana,” Cranmer said. “We’ll do that and before you know it we’ll be in Vermont at NCAAs.”
 
On the alpine side, the CU women won the race with 115 points while the men finished second, but the men still racked up more points (118).
 
Freshman Jessica Honkonen finished second and was the top NCAA finisher so she will get credit for a win in terms of NCAA qualification standings.  She now has two podium finishes in slalom action and another top five.  She finished with a two-run time of 1:38.59.
 
Freshman Thea Grosvold finished seventh in a time of 1:39.79 while freshman Brooke Wales was right behind her in eighth place in a time of 1:40.29.  Wales had to have stitches in her mouth after a pole hit her in the face last week and then had to have another eight stitches Saturday after the same thing happened again.  Wales has three top 10 finishes in what is not her strongest discipline while Grosvold has three top 10s of her own in slalom racing.
 
Sophomore Shane McLean took 13th place in a time of 1:41.82.  In a correction of what was reported of her slalom finish at Utah, where her result was fixed the next day and adjusted from 20th place to ninth, she now has two finishes in the top 13 after not finishing the first two slaloms of the year.
 
Freshman Clare Wise finished 20th in a time of 1:44.36 while senior Khyla Burrows did not finish the race.
 
In men’s alpine action, the Buffs placed five skiers in the top 11.  New Mexico placed five in the top 12, meaning CU and UNM combined for 10 of the top 12 skiers in the race.  CU’s Henrik Gunnarsson made the podium in third place in a time of 1:36.17, just four-hundredths ahead of senior Max Lamb, who took fourth in 1:36.21.
 
Gunnarsson hit the podium for the first time but in his other three races, he has a pair of fourth place finishes and a seventh place. Lamb now has three top five slalom finishes on the season.
 
Junior Fletcher McDonald took eighth in 1:36.87 with freshman Kasper Hietenan finishing 10th in 1:37.26 and junior Andreas Haug just behind Hietenan in 11th in a time of 1:37.26.  Freshman Cameron Smith did not finish.  McDonald has three top 10 slalom finish with this result plus two podium appearances early in the season.  Haug now has three top 11 slalom finishes and Hietenan broke through on the slalom side with his 10th place finish, his best of the season, besting a 13th place finish at the Denver Invitational.
 
The RMISA regular season concludes Sunday with the running of the second set of slalom races at Red River, N.M., which will also close out the New Mexico Invitational.
 
“Anything can happen in the slalom,” Rokos said. “Today was a day where we didn’t make too many mistakes and it will serve as a good confidence booster for future races.  It’s good that we have a little cushion over the field because it can be a sketchy event.”
 
Utah Invitational Team Results (Final)—1. Colorado 904; 2. Utah 845; 3. Denver 777; 4. New Mexico 695; 5. Montana State 690; 6. Alaska Anchorage 616; 7. Westminster College 190; 8. Colorado Mountain College 40.
 
Women’s 15K Freestyle (28 collegiate finishers)—1. Joanne Reid, CU, 43:15.0; 2. Eliska Hajkova, CU, 43:18.3; 3. Marine Dusser, UAA, 43:39.9; 4. Jessica Yeaton, MSU, 43:44.7; 5. Maria Nordstrom, CU, 44:06.2; 6. Rose Kemp, UU, 44:07.4; 7. Clara Chauvet, UNM, 44:56.0; 8. Annie Liotta, MSU, 45:21.6; 9. Kate Backstrum, MSU, 45:31.2; 10. Silje Benum, DU, 45:33.3. Other CU Finishers: 20. Mary Rose, 47:27.8.
 
Men’s 20K Freestyle (28 collegiate finishers)—1. Miles Havlick, UU, 50:05.5; 2. Rune Oedegaard, CU, 50:05.6; 3. Einar Ulsund, UU, 50:13.0; 4. Tyler Reinking, MSU, 50:21.4; 5. Mats Resaland, UNM, 50:58.1; 6. Niklas Persson, UU, 50:59.7; 7. Viktor Braennmark, UAA, 51:12.4; 8. Patrick Madden, MSU, 51:13.4; 9. Trygve Markset, DU, 51:26.0; 10. Arnaud Du Pasquier, CU, 15:28.3. Other CU Finishers: 11. Michael Vigers, 51:32.4; 15. Charlie Von Thaden, 52:27.3; 18. Gustav Nordstroem, 52:53.7; 21. Andreas Hoye, 54:56.6; 23. Ian Mallams, 56:15.7.
 
New Mexico Invitational Team Results (through six of eight events)—1. Colorado 663; 2. Utah 646; 3. Denver 603; 4. New Mexico 572; 5. Montana State 519; 6. Alaska Anchorage 444; 7. Wyoming 204; 8. Westminster College 138; 9. Colorado Mountain College 41.
 
Men’s Slalom No. 1—1. Joonas Rasanen, UNM, 1:35.03; 2. Espen Lysdahl, DU, 1:35.21; 3. Henrik Gunnarsson, CU, 1:36.17; 4. Max Lamb, CU, 1:36.21; 5. Chris Acosta, UNM, 1:36.58; 6. Nikolai Narvestad, WMC, 1:36.74; 7. Juho-Pekka Penttinen, UNM, 1:36.77; 8. Fletcher McDonald, CU, 1:36.87; 9. Sean Horner, UNM, 1:37.23; 10. Kasper Hietenan, CU, 1:37.26. Other CU Finishers: 11. Andreas Haug, 1:37.44.  Did Not Finish (second run): Cameron Smith.
 
Women’s Slalom No. 2—1. Anna Goodman, WMC, 1:36.56; 2. Jessica Honkonen, CU, 1:38.59; 3. Ana Kobal, UU, 1:38.69; 4. Kristiina Rove, UU, 1:39.35; 5. Kristine Haugen, DU, 1:39.46; 6. Mateja Robnik, UNM, 1:39.71; 7. Thea Grosvold, CU, 1:39.79; 8. Brooke Wales, CU, 1:40.29; 9. Kate Williams, UNM, 1:40.89; 10. Mary Rachel Hostetter, UNM, 1:40.94; Other CU Finishers: 13. Shane McLean, 1:41.82; 20. Clare Wise, 1:44.36. Did Not Finish (second run): Khyla Burrows.

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