BOZEMAN, Mont. - Just 11 days ago, the defending national champion University of Colorado ski team, particularly the men's alpine team, had one of their worst days in recent memory, and especially in the slalom. However, that all changed here Wednesday in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association (RMISA) Alpine Qualifier No. 2.
The Buffaloes had four skiers, two men and two women, finish in the top six of the slalom, with seven in the top 12, compared to none in the top five and the top male finishing 20th in the Alaska Seawolf Invitational outside of Anchorage back on February 11.
Junior Max Lamb paced the Buffaloes in the men's slalom with a third place finish in 1:54.22, well behind New Mexico's Armin Triendl (1:52.88) but just four one-hundredths behind Westminster's Petter Brenna. Senior Taggart Spenst had the best effort of his career in placing sixth in 1:55.09, also the sixth top 10 finish of his career. Sophomore Fletcher McDonald finished 12th (1:56.01) and freshman Adam Zika 16th (1:56.18); sophomore Andreas Haug was disqualified after his first run.
The Buff women placed three in the top nine and four in the top 12, all of whom are seniors. Erika Ghent led the way with a fifth place effort in 1:35.17, just one one-hundreth of a second ahead of teammate Katie Hartman (1:35.18). Denver's Sterling Grant won in a 1:34.09 time.
Jennifer Allen was ninth (1:36.08), followed by Carolina Nordh in 12th (1:37.19); junior Khyla Burrows was 23rd (1:39.13) with freshman Shane McLean, who was sick, having to hike during her morning run, opting not the race a second time down the Bridger Bowl course since she wasn't feeling her best.
Had the races been scored, New Mexico won the men's with 120 points, followed by CU (104) and Alaska (87), a far cry from the last slalom the Buffs participated in, whey they tied for sixth with no skier placing higher than 20th. Utah's 2-3-4 finish in the women's slalom would have netted 132 points, with the Buffs next with 107.
"Not a bad day, it was rewarding for the fact that we're at regionals and NCAA's will be on the same hill so the consistency will help," head coach Richard Rokos said (next month's NCAA Championships are also in Bozeman)." There were a few surprises. Jenny (Allen) in ninth place was her best performance this year, she skied well in difficult positions. Khyla moved up from behind. Max started 30th in the second run on a difficult course and kept his position throughout the second run.
"We're looking forward to the GS on that hill and better snow conditions," he added. "I don't think it can be softer than it was today, so it will be good."
The alpine skiers will have a third qualifier Thursday (a giant slalom, women ski at 10 a.m., the men at 1 p.m.), with the RMISA Championships following on Friday and Saturday. The giant slaloms will be run to completion on Friday (women at 10, men at 1) in conjunction with the Nordic freestyle races (women's 5K at 9:30 a.m., men's 10K at 11 a.m.). Saturday's events feature the slalom races (men's runs at 10:00/1:00, women's at 11:30/2:30) and the Nordic classical events (men's 20K at 9 a.m., women's 15K at 11 a.m.).
Men's Slalom (29 collegiate finishers)- 1. Armin Triendl, UNM, 1:52.88; 2. Petter Brenna, WC, 1:54.18; 3. Max Lamb, CU, 1:54.22; 4. Torjus Krogdahl, Utah, 1:54.73; 5. Joonan Rasanen, UNM, 1:54.88; 6. Taggart Spenst, CU, 1:55.09; 7. Christopher Acosta, UNM, 1:55.11; 8. Michael Bansmer, UNM, 1:55.49; 9. Niko Harmanen, UAA, 1:55.90; 10. Sean Alexander, UAA, 1:55.91. Other CU Results: 12. Fletcher McDonald, 1:56.01; 16. Adam Zika, 1:56.18. Disqualified (1st run): Andreas Haug (gate 14).
Women's Slalom (31 collegiate finishers)- 1. Sterling Grant, DU, 1:34.09; 2. Tii-Maria Romar, Utah, 1:34.44; 3. Anna Kocken, Utah, 1:34.64; 4. Julie Bordeau, Utah, 1:34.76; 5. Erika Ghent, CU, 1:35.17; 6. Katie Hartman, CU, 1:35.18; 7. Caroline Pernet, WC, 1:35.44; 8. Stefanie Demetz, UNM, 1:36.04; 9. Jennifer Allen, CU, 1:36.08; 10. Marissa Riopelle, MSU, 1:36.47. Other CU Results: 12. Carolina Nordh, 1:37.19; 23. Khyla Burrows, 1:39.13. Did Not Start (2nd run): Shane McLean.
(Associate SID Curtis Snyder contributed to this report.)