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TABERNASH, Colo.—Sophomore newcomer Rune Oedegaard won the men’s 10K classical race here at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, helping the University of Colorado ski team remain in second place through six of eight events at the Denver Invitational. 

Utah, however, propelled by three podium finishes in the two races, extended its lead from 27 after the alpine portion of the meet to 72 points with Saturday’s freestyle races remaining as the Utes have 694 points to the Buffaloes 622.  The Buffs still do have a 52 point lead over third place Denver (570) while both Alaska Anchorage (553) and New Mexico (534) round out the top five with over 500 points, as well. 

“Today wasn’t the day we were looking for,” CU Nordic coach Bruce Cranmer said. “It was exciting to see Rune do so well, especially after that start to the day.  He’s definitely the bright spot of the day, for sure.”

Oedegaard won the men’s race with a time of 36:53.7 and beat the field by an impressive 32.8 seconds.  Coming in second was Utah’s Miles Havlick (37:26.5), who edged out his teammate Didrik Smith (37:29.2).  With the two podium finishes, the Utes beat Colorado to with the race, 126-115. 

“The conditions were really tough today but I had great skis,” Oedegaard said. “Bruce and (assistant coach) Jana (Weinberger) did an awesome job getting the right skis, they great kick and a great slide. The first time I saw Jana on the course, she said I had a 20 second lead, so from there I was just trying to keep my speed up as much as possible.”

Senior Vegard Kjoelhamar finished sixth in a time of 38:13.9, one of his best collegiate finishes at high altitude.  Senior Reid Pletcher finished 12th in a time of 39:08.5 and sophomore Andreas Hoye, recovering from being sick, had an impressive race, finishing 15th in a time of 39:29.2 after being seeded 37th in the race.  Freshman Arnaud Du Pasquier (41:09.5) and junior Ian Mallams (41:14.4) finished together in 27th and 28th place, respectively. 

“Vegard has never had an awesome killer race at altitude,” Cranmer said. “It’s probably one of his best races at this high of altitude. And for Reid, obviously not great, he always wants to be in the top 10, he wasn’t that far off.  Overall on the guys side, it was a reasonably good day.”

The Buffs struggled a bit on the women’s side without junior Joanne Reid, who is recovering from being sick.  Reid had two podium appearances last weekend at Steamboat Springs at CU’s meet.  Senior Eliska Hajiova finished in 10th place for the Buffaloes in a time of 22:54.2 as the top 10 skiers all were within less than a minute of each other.  Utah’s Parker Tyler won the race un a time of 21:57.1. 

“We had a few different kinds of skis available for them today,” Cranmer said. “The no wax skis for the women’s race wasn’t the best choice.  Eliska needs a good kick and she switched skis right before she started and second guessed herself a little bit and unfortunately it wasn’t the best choice.  Even with the wrong skis, she’s right there, so she will bounce back fine.”

Tyler beat out a pair of Denver Pioneers as, unlike the men’s race where Oedegaard won by over 30 seconds, all three podium finishes were within 5.4 seconds of each other.  Kate Dolan took second in 22:01.8 with teammate Makayla Cappel taking third in 22:05.8 on their home course.  Alaska Anchorage skiers finished 4-5-6 and finished just one point behind the Pioneers (118-117) as the top two teams in the race.  Utah was right there with 112 points while the Buffaloes finished the race with 78 points. 

Junior Mary Rose finished 16th in a time of 23:21.9 while freshman Marianna Madsen was 23rd in a time of 24:06.2, just ahead of senior Katie Stege and her time of 24:36.8, good for 25th place. 

“It was a good race for Mary,” Cranmer said. “She was the only one who went on hard wax and it paid off for her.”

The Denver Invitational concludes Saturday with the freestyle races.  The men will get the day started at 9 a.m. with at 15K mass start race followed by the women’s 10K race, also a mass start.  At that point, the RMISA season will be one-third complete and teams will have some time off before heading to Alaska for a pair of meets hosted by the Seawolves. 

“Mass starts are a different kind of racing,” Cranmer said. “This is a pretty hard course, it could be pretty tough.  It will be an interesting day.” 

DU INVITATIONAL (6 events)—1. Utah 694; 2. Colorado 622; 3. Denver 570; 4. Alaska Anchorage 553; 5. New Mexico 534; 6. Montana State 459; 7. Westminster College 346; 8. Wyoming 120; 9. Colorado Mountain College 87. 

Women’s 5K Classical (32 Collegiate Finishers)—1. Parker Tyler, UU, 21:57.1; 2. Kate Dolan, DU, 22:01.8; 3. Makayla Cappel, DU, 22:02.5; 4. Jaime Brogna, UAA, 22:16.2; 5. Steffi Hiemer, UAA, 22:18.4; 6. Laura Rombach, UAA, 22:42.6; 7. Linn Klaesson, UNM, 22:43.0; 8. Rose Kemp, UU, 22:51.5; 9. Anni Nord, UNM, 22:53.3; 10. Eliska Hajkova, CU, 22:54.2. Other CU Finishers: 16. Mary Rose, 23:21.9; 23. Marianne Madsen, 24:06.2; 25. Katie Stege, 24:36.8. 

Men’s 10K Classical (39 Collegiate Finishers)—1. Rune Oedegaard, CU, 36:53.7; 2. Miles Havlick, UU, 37:26.5; 3. Didrik Smith, UU, 37:29.2; 4. Lasse Moelgaard, UAA, 37:52.9; 5. Tyler Reinking, MSU, 37:54.7; 6. Vegard Kjoelhamar, CU, 38:13.9; 7. Tom Smith, UU, 38:20.6; 8. Andrew Dougherty, DU, 38:27.0; 9. David Norris, MSU, 38:36.1; 10. Sjur Prestsaeter, UNM, 38:37.2. Other CU Finishers: 12. Reid Pletcher, 39:08.5; 15. Andreas Hoye, 39:29.2; 27. Arnaud Du Pasquier, 41:09.5; 28. Ian Mallams, 41:14.4.