RED RIVER, N.M. — Behind the second 1-2 men’s Nordic finish of the season, the University of Colorado ski team maintained its second place standing here as the 2014 Jade Enterprises New Mexico Invitational came to a close.
Junior Rune Oedegaard won the 10K freestyle race over freshman Mads Stroem, and the Buffs had a fifth place finish in each of the other three races – Camilla Brautaset in the women’s 10K freestyle, Fletcher McDonald in the men’s slalom and Brooke Wales in the women’s slalom – to maintain their second place and best finish of the 2014 season.
The host Lobos won, racking up 655 points, by 66.5 points over Colorado (588.5). The Buffaloes, Denver (574.5) and Utah (550) all entered the final day with a shot at winning the meet, but in the end the top four of the standings didn’t change. Alaska Anchorage finished fifth with 431 points with Montana State scoring 374 points for sixth in the nine-team standings.
“New Mexico skied very well,” CU head coach Richard Rokos said. “That’s what happens when you have a home and you train there and you race there. They deserve it.”
Oedegaard and Stroem finished 1-2 for the second time in the four races since they rejoined the Buffs after missing the first two meets of the year, but this time it was in reverse order. In the 20K freestyle race a week ago as part of the CU Invitational, Stroem won with Oedegaard taking second. Oedegaard’s time of 29:19.3 was 23.4 seconds head of Stroem’s time of 29:42.7, who was then about 13.4 seconds ahead of third place Lukas Ebner from Alaska Anchorage.
“It was good to get some good results there, it helps people’s confidence,” CU Nordic coach Bruce Cranmer said. “Mads was leading for a good chunk of the race and Rune had quite a bit at the end and was able to get it.”
Oedegaard now has two race victories in four races this year and 11 career race wins. His 11 career wins ties him for fifth most in CU history and he is now second among men’s Nordic skiers behind only Per Kare Jakobsen, who won 13 races between 1988-90.
Oedegaard and Strom, in just four races back, have won three of those races with six podium appearances and neither one has finished lower than fifth.
“Today, again, the Nordic guys were phenomenal,” Rokos said. “We knew that’s what they could do and it’s a good sign looking forward to the postseason.”
Freshman Jackson Hill finished 15th in a time of 31:07.2 as the third Buffs scorer, just ahead of junior Emil Johansson, who was 16th in 31:13.2. Junior Arnaud Du Pasquier was 18th in 31:32.5 and senior Andreas Hoye rounded out the CU skiers in a time of 32:12.1, good for 23rd.
On the women’s side, Brautaset’s fifth place time came with her time of 35:40.5 as she was just one second out of fourth and 14.6 seconds off the podium. She now has two consecutive top five performances and in six races this season, she has finished lower than 11th just once.
Freshman Lucy Newman finished 15th in a time of 37:34.6 and freshman Maja Solbakken took 20th in 38:37.8.
“Camilla had another good, solid race,” Cranmer said. “She was only one second out of fourth and it was a great race for her. Lucy came up a little; Maja fell back a little bit. All in all, it was a relatively good weekend. The first time you go down there, it’s an eye opener. Some people just struggle with it and others can handle it for some reason or another.”
In alpine action, Wales’ fifth place finish was her career best in a time of 1:35.02. She came to CU as a GS specialist and has continued her improvement on the slalom side of things throughout her time as a Buff. In five slalom races this season, she has three of her four best career finishes in the discipline.
Sophomore Thea Grosvold finished eighth in a time of 1:35.80 but the rest of the Buffs had a bit of bad luck. On her first run, sophomore Jessica Honkonen struggled with the 36th fastest time in the field, but she rebounded and had a superb second run, the third fastest in the field to move up more than 10 spots to finish 22nd in a time of 1:39.02.
“Jessica had a little bad luck on her first run,” Rokos said. “But she has already proved what she can do, so she just has to go out there and do it.”
Freshman Katie Hostetler finished 27th after starting 53rd in a time of 1:43.09. Junior Shane McLean and sophomore Clare Wise were both disqualified in their first runs.
On the men’s side, McDonald’s fifth place finish came in a time of 1:34.23. He had the second-fastest first run and perhaps had memories of the day before in his second run, making sure he finished this time, hanging on to notch a top five time.
“Fletcher was second after the first run, and didn’t want to take the same chances as yesterday so he slowed down a little bit,” Rokos said. “Some of it was he was the 29th skier in the second run, but he did well and didn’t do anything that would keep him out of the top five, it was a good solid run.”
Sophomore Kasper Hietanen was seventh in a time of 1:34.81 while senior Andreas Haug (11th, 1:35.30) and sophomore Henrik Gunnarsson (13th, 1:35.34) gave the Buffs four skiers in the top 13.
“With the guys, it looks like we can put three in the top 10 pretty consistently,” Rokos said. “We just need to continue to execute at that level for regionals and NCAAs.”
Sophomore Adam Zika finished 20th in 1:36.13 with freshman Roger Carry finishing 24th in 1:38.13 and sophomore Cameron Smith taking 26th in 1:38.91.
The regular season is now over and the Buffs have two weeks off before the RMISA Championships, which double as the NCAA West Regional. Denver will host this year’s event on Feb. 21-22 with alpine races taking place in Beaver Creek and Nordic races at Maloit Park.
“I’m hoping some guys will come back up a bit for regionals,” Cranmer said. “The top guys are looking a little past regionals, and we know who the girls will be, but in terms of confidence, you want to be good at regionals; definitely coming up but not quite at your peak.”
New Mexico Invitational Team Scores (Final)—1. New Mexico 655, 2. Colorado 588.5; 3. Denver 574.5; 4. Utah 550; 5. Alaska Anchorage 431; 6. Montana State 374; 7. Westminster 293; 8. Wyoming 146; 9. Colorado Mountain College 33.
Women’s Slalom #2 (32 finishers)— 1. Kristine Haugen, DU, 1:33.19; 2. Tonje Sekse, WMC, 1:33.28; 3. Karoline Myklebust, UNM, 1:33.67; 4. Mateja Robnik, UNM, 1:34.39; 5. Brooke Wales, CU, 1:35.02; 6. Ana Kobal, UU, 1:35.20; 7. Devin Delaney, DU, 1:35.57; 8. Thea Grosvold, CU, 1:35.80; 9. Courtney Altringer, UNM, 1:35.81; 10. Jamie DuPratt, UU, 1:36.05. Other CU Finishers: 22. Jessica Honkonen, 1:39.02; 27. Katie Hostetler, 1:43.09. Disqualified (First Run): Shane McLean, Clare Wise.
Men’s Slalom #2 (32 finishers)— 1.Joonas Rasanen, UNM, 1:33.70; 2. Mark Engel, UU, 1:33.98; 3. Nikolai Narvestad, WMC, 1:33.99; 4. Tim Lindgren, WMC, 1:34.06; 5. Fletcher McDonald, 1:34.06; 6. Juho-Pekka Pentinnen, UNM, 1:34.53; 7. Kasper Hietanen, CU, 1:34.81; 8. Sean Horner, UNM, 1:34.92; 9. Grant Jampolsky, DU, 1:35.00; 10. Armin Triendl, UNM, 1:35.14. Other CU Finishers: 11. Andreas Haug, 1:35.30; 13. Henrik Gunnarsson, 1:35.34; 20. Adam Zika, 1:36.13; 24. Roger Carry, 1:38.13; 26. Cameron Smith, 1:38.91.
Women’s 10K Freestyle (31 finishers)— 1.Marine Dusser, UAA, 34:56.2; 2. Sylvia Nordskar, DU, 35:08.9; 3. Anni Nord, UNM, 35:26.0; 4. Eva Severrus, UNM, 35:39.3; 5. Camilla Brautaset, CU, 35:40.5; 6. Sloan Storey, UU, 36:17.4; 7. Isabella Smith, MSU, 36:19.2; 8. Jessica Yeaton, MSU, 36:33.2; 9. Elise Sulser, WYO, 36:43.6; 10. Kate Backstrum, MSU, 36:49.8. Other CU Finishers: 15. Lucy Newman, 37:34.6; 20. Maja Solbakken, 38:37.8.
Men’s 10K Freestyle (37 finishers)— 1.Rune Oedegaard, CU, 29:19.3; 2. Mads Stroem, CU, 29:42.7; 3. Lukas Ebner, UAA, 29:54.1; 4. Mats Resaland, UNM, 30:11.0; 5. Mortiz Madlener, DU, 30:15.4; 6. Aljaz Praznik, UNM, 30:20.0; 7. Oscar Ivars, UU, 30:22.0; 8. Aku Nikander, UNM, 30:24.8; 9. Niklas Persson, UU, 30:27.8; 10. Pierre Guedon, DU, 30:31.8. Other CU Finishers: 15. Jackson Hill, 31:07.2; 16. Emil Johansson, 31:13.2; 18. Arnaud Du Pasquier, 31:32.5; 23. Andreas Hoye, 32:12.2.