MIDWAY, Utah—The University of Colorado ski team had some success on the slopes and trails early this week, unfortunately as it pertains to the 2014 Pat Miller Invitational, the bad luck continued and the Buffs finished sixth in the meet hosted by the University of Utah, finishing up here at Soldier Hollow Wednesday with the 20K women’s and 30K men’s freestyle races as part of the U.S. National Cross Country Championships.
Freshman Jackson Hill placed third in the Men’s Junior 10K freestyle race and he was the top finisher out of the RMISA and second amongst all collegians, finishing the course in a time of 25:37.0, just 23.8 seconds behind the race winner Patrick Caldwell from Dartmouth. Fellow freshman Max Scrimgeour also competed in the junior race, finishing 43rd in a time of 27:41.9.
Unfortunately for the Buffaloes, the junior race did not count toward the RMISA meet points, and those two not competing plus sophomore Charlie Von Thaden not competing left the men’s team with two competitors in senior race.
Junior Arnaud Du Pasquier finished 14th in a time of 1:24:58.8 in the 30k race while junior Emil Johansson finished in a time of 1:25:38.9, good enough for 16th amongst the RMISA racers.
Senior Andreas Hoye will join the Buffs for the next meet this coming weekend in Montana State while junior Rune Oedegaard and freshman Mads Stroem, will rejoin the team for the third meet of the season, CU’s Spencer Nelson Memorial Invitational, in Steamboat Jan. 31-Feb. 1. Both Oedegaard and Stroem are in their home country of Norway competing in the prestigious Norwegian National Championships.
On the women’s side, the bad luck continued as for the second race, freshman Lucy Newman was the only CU competitor in the race. Freshmen Maja Solbakken and Jesse Knori are both ill. Solbakken had shown improvement but took another turn for the worse while Knori’s illness has been lingering a little longer. Nordic coach Bruce Cranmer kept Solbakken out in hopes of her return this weekend in Montana State.
Women’s newcomer Camilla Bratutaset will make her collegiate debut in Montana, as well. She enrolled at CU for the spring semester, which begins Monday. She arrived in the United States earlier this week and was unable to get cleared in time of the race Wednesday, but will be available to race from here on out.
Newman finished in a time of 1:10:09.9, which was the third best time for her age class of Under 20 in the race. She finished 18th amongst RMISA racers and 57th overall.
With the Buffs only scoring those three skiers, the team slipped from a tie for fourth to finish sixth overall. It’s represents the Buffs lowest finish in a meet since the 2005 NCAA Championships and lowest finish in an RMISA meet since 1983.
Utah won the meet in what turned out to be the closest RMSIA meet in six years, holding off a surging Denver squad by just 8.5 points, 657.5 to 649. The Utes held a 71 point advantage after the first day of competition and by 36.5 points entering the final day of Nordic racing. It’s the closest meet finish at the top since the 2008 New Mexico Invitational, when Denver edged out the Buffs by just 3.5 points.
New Mexico finished third with 566.5 points while Alaska Anchorage took fourth with 477 points, Montana State fifth with 415 and the Buffs in sixth had 372 points.
On the alpine side, the Buffs remained in Utah the last two days, skiing in non-collegiate races before heading to Montana State. Against the same competition (other RMISA teams did the same), the Buffs fared much better than their performance in the Utah meet.
The women competed in two slalom races. Jessica Honkonen won the slalom race at Snowbird on Monday while Thea Grosvold finished seventh, Brooke Wales eighth and Shane McLean 10th. In a similar race Wednesday, three Buffs finished in the top five with Honkonen second, Grosvold fourth and Wales fifth. The Buffs would’ve have won both races had they been scored collegiately.
The men stayed in Park City for another pair of giant slalom races and on Monday, three finished in the top 10 and six in the top 20. Tanner Mottau was seventh, Kasper Hietanen ninth and Henrik Gunnarsson 10th. Hietanen then finished on the podium in third place Tuesday in another GS race while Adam Zika took ninth.
Action gets underway in Montana Friday with a RMISA Alpine Qualifier giant slalom race at Big Sky. The alpine teams will then have another set of GS races Saturday as part of the Montana State Invitational. Saturday the Nordic teams will also begin competition with classical races at Briggs Ranch.
Team Results--1. Utah 657.5; 2. Denver 649; 3. New Mexico 566.5; 4. Alaska Anchorage 477; 5. Montana State 415; 6. Colorado 372; 7. Westminster College 243; 8. Wyoming 14; 9. Colorado Mountain College 0.
Women's 20K Freestyle Race (19 Collegiate Finishers)--1. Sylvia Nordskar, DU, 1:00:19.8; 2. Marine Dusser, UAA, 1:00:43.4; 3. Eva Severrus, UNM, 1:01:55.2; 4. Kate Backstrum, MSU, 1:03:27.7; 5. MacKenzie Kanady, UAA, 1:04:10.8; 6. Anna-Lena Heynen, UU, 1:04:26.6; 7. Annie Liotta, MSU, 1:04:35.6; 8. Anni Nord, UNM, 1:04:38.1; 9. Katie Gill, DU, 1:04:39.2; 10. Isabella Smith, MSU, 1:04:39.5. CU Finisher: 18. Lucy Newman, 1:10:19.9. Did Not Start: Jesse Knori, Maya Solbakken.
Men's 30K Freestle Race (21 Collegiate Finishers)--1. Aku Nikander, UNM, 1:20:48.0; 2. Lukas Ebner, UAA, 1:20:52.9; 3. Joergen Brevik, DU, 1:21:15.5; 4. Oscar Ivars, UU, 1:21:51.8; 5. Pierre Guedon, DU, 1:21:56.1; 6. Mats Resaland, UNM, 1:22:31.8; 7. Noe Bellet, UU, 1:22:54.8; 8. Forrest Mahlen, MSU, 1:23:00.3; 9. Niklas Persson, UU, 1:24:04.0; 10. Moritz Madelener, DU, 1:24:20.8. CU Finishers: 14. Arnaud Du Pasquier, 1:24:53.8; 16. Emil Johansson, CU, 1:25:38.9.