MINTURN, Colo. – The University of Colorado ski team used another outstanding performance from its women’s Nordic team, including a win from senior Joanne Reid, to gain ground on host University of Denver Saturday with freestyle races held here at Maloit Park.
The Buffs scored 133 points in the women’s race, 100 in the men’s and made up 51 points on the Pioneers as the two sit first and second with 639 for DU and 619 points for the Buffs with six of eight races in the meet now complete. New Mexico sits third with 574 points followed by Utah with 569 points. Alaska Anchorage is fifth with 512 points while Montana State sits in sixth with 496 points.
“Having a win, going 1-3-5 on the women’s side is great,” CU Nordic coach Bruce Cranmer said. “It was an awesome day, that’s about all you can hope for. And Rune really hung in there after a pretty big fall. He fought his way back; any time you can do that, it’s really good.”
With perfect weather not affecting the racing conditions, the course at Maloit Park, a 2.5K loop constructed in 2010 and hosting its first college race, did not disappoint.
“It’s a difficult, really technical course,” Cranmer said. “There are a lot of turns and you’re constantly doing something. There’s no time to relax. There’s one steep hill, you have to keep it together on that, and then there are lot of little ups and downs and lots of turns.”
Reid won the women’s 5K freestyle race in a time of 15:27.3, by 17.6 seconds over Alaska Anchorage’s Marine Dusser. Reid’s win is her second in three races this season and she has won both freestyle races on the young season, finishing second in the classical race last weekend in the CU Invitational. She now has four victories and 12 podium appearances in her career.
“I thought it was really fun,” Reid said. “This is a fun course, it has a lot of fast downhills and quick corners. It was over really fast.”
Senior Eliska Hajkova, continuing to get back to 100 percent, finished third in a time of 15:49.8, just 4.9 seconds out of second place. She finished ninth in the freestyle and sixth in the classical races at the CU Invitational last weekend. She now has 26 podium appearances in her career.
“It was fun out there,” Hajkova said. “This course doesn’t let you get tired, because you have to pay attention all the time.”
Senior Mary Rose continues to impress this season with a fifth place showing in a time of 16:25.0. The fifth-place finish matches the best of her career and is her best this season. It’s her second career top 5 finish and fourth career top 10 finish, three of which have taken place this season.
“It was a good race,” Rose said. “Having four in the top 10 shows we are coming into the season strong, and I don’t think we’re racing our fastest quite yet, we haven’t peaked by any means.”
Freshman Maria Nordstroem finished ninth in a time of 16:42.2. She had a bit of bad luck with some broken polls, but nonetheless held on to a top 10 performance. In three career races she has finished in the top 10 in each of them with two podium appearances with one victory and one runner-up finish at the CU Invitational last weekend.
On the men’s side, Rune Oedegaard earned another podium appearance with a second place performance in a time of 26:57.0. He was winning the race at the halfway mark and then fell and suffered a cut on his face. He picked back up but had to stop again to check his skis. He had broken a binding, but it held and he was energized in his final lap and climbed back into second place.
“It was a steep downhill, I was sliding with my skis and there was a rock that my outer ski hit really hard,” Oedegaard said of his crash. “My ski came off, I was just flying and hit my head pretty hard on something, I’m not sure what. At first, I was just standing up not believing what happened. Then there was something wrong with my ski, I figured there’s nothing I could do, so I just continued. My last lap I actually felt good and had a lot of energy, and at the same time I was mad, so I just went for it.”
Oedegaard now has 12 podium appearances in 15 races. He has six wins and this marks his fourth runner-up performances in his career.
“It’s a fun course,” Oedegaard said. “It’s all up and down, turns, turns, turns, all the time. It’s really fast and difficult getting a good feel, it seems like you’re just using your turn techniques in different directions all the time.”
Junior Andreas Hoye was the second CU finisher in a time of 28:06.1, good for 13th place, his first action of the season as he continues to recover from an illness that kept him out of last week’s races. Freshman Gustav Nordstrom was CU’s third finisher in a time of 28:28.1, good for 16th place in his first collegiate race. He was feeling the effects of traveling back from Europe where he was competing in World Cup races last week, and his own bout of illness.
Senior Ian Mallams was right behind Gustav Nordstrom in a time of 28:28.8 in 17th place. In 21st place was freshman Michael Vigers in a time of 29:07.8 while fellow freshman Charlie Von Thaden was right behind Vigers in 22nd place in a time of 29:11.2. Sophomore Arnaud Du Pasquier rounded out the CU men in 24th in a time of 29:54.7.
Action here concludes Sunday, as does the DU Invitational, with the running of the Nordic classical races. The men’s 15K classical mass start race will kick things off at 9 a.m. followed by the women’s 10K classical mass start at 10:20 a.m.
The consensus is not if there will be falls and crashes, but when and how many. The action will probably be even faster given the likely similar scouting of needing to stay ahead of the pack to avoid the chaos behind.
“I guess we will find out,” Reid said. “Especially on classic skis on a mass start, your boots are less stable.”
“It will be crazy tomorrow,” Rose said. “We will be in the same race with junior skiers, so some won’t be as good at skiing downhill. It will be difficult and there could be a lot of carnage. The key will be to beat everybody off the start and stay in front, because the further back you are, the more crashes there will be.”
“Tomorrow is all about not falling,” Oedegaard said. “We need to stay focused, stay near the lead, and be careful.”
Cranmer agrees with all of his athletes, “We need to be out in front and stay out of traffic. People will be falling tomorrow, that’s a given, the key is to come out of the race healthy and hopefully we don’t break too much equipment along the way. It will be a little crazy.”
Denver Invitational Team Scores (through 6 of 8 events)—1. Denver 639; 2. Colorado 619; 3. New Mexico 574; 4. Utah 569; 5. Alaska Anchorage 512; 6. Montana State 496; 7. Westminster College 337; 8. Wyoming 122; 9. Colorado Mountain College 92.
Women’s 5K Freestyle (30 collegiate finishers)- 1. Joanne Reid, CU, 15:27.3; 2. Marine Dusser, UAA, 15:44.9; 3. Eliska Hajkova, CU, 15:49.8; 4. Anni Nord, UNM, 16:06.2; 5. Mary Rose, CU, 16:25.0; 6. Clara Chauvet, UNM, 16:34.6; 7. Rose Kemp, UU, 16:34.8; 8. Silje Benum, DU, 16;35.8; 9. Maria Nordstroem, CU, 16:42.2; 10. Jessica Yeaton, MSU, 16:47.1.
Men’s 10K Freestyle (32 collegiate finishers)- 1. Lukas Ebner, UAA, 26:16.1; 2. Rune Oedegaard, CU, 26:57.0; 3. Einar Ulsund, UU, 27:08.6; 4. Joergen Brevik, DU, 27:09.0; 5. Mats Resaland, UNM, 27:14.3; 6. Tyler Reinking, MSU, 27:30.1; 7. Viktor Braennmark, UAA, 27:34.9; 8. Miles Havlick, UU, 27:35.7; 9. Noe Bellet, UU, 27:36.5; 10. Niklas Persson, UU, 27:42.0. Other CU Finishers: 13. Andreas Hoye, 28:06.1; 16. Gustav Nordstrom, 28:28.1; 17. Ian Mallams, 28:28.8; 21. Michael Vigers, 29:07.8; 22. Charlie Von Thaden, 29:11.2; 24. Arnaud Du Pasquier, 29:54.7.