NCAA: Western alpine, nordic teams gather in UtahTweet
The Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association schedule continues this weekend at the Utah Invitational, with the alpine squads scheduled to race at Park City and the nordic teams testing the track at Soldier Hollow.
THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN Intercollegiate Ski Association schedule continues this weekend at the Utah Invitational, with the alpine squads scheduled to race at Park City and the nordic teams testing the track at Soldier Hollow.
The association’s alpine teams kicked off the season last weekend at the Montana State Invitational. Defending national champion Colorado crowned the individual champions in both the men and women’s slalom. Poor weather scratched the giant slalom races.
Many of the association’s nordic racers, meanwhile, competed in the U.S. cross-country nationals last weekend before beginning the NCAA campaign in Utah.
“We're a little bit battered and are looking to regroup this weekend,” Utah head coach Eli Brown said. “It will be nice to get our feet back under us and be able to ski on our own snow.”
Utah finished fourth as a team in Montana, paced by Kyle Kung (sixth in the men’s GS) and Mikaela Grassl (12th in the women’s GS). The men’s team, which includes heralded recruit Tague Thorson and defending GS champ Scott Vennis, got off to a particularly rocky start. Thorson was one of three Utes’ racers who crashed out, and Veenis was disqualified.
“We were able to prove that we can ski with the fastest racers on the circuit,” Utah head alpine coach Jaka Korencan said. “Our only problem right now is consistency.”
On the flip side, Colorado head coach Richard Rokos watched a very steady performance from his Buffaloes. Freshmen Drew Roberts and Stefan Hughes finished 1-2, and defending NCAA GS champ Lucie Zikova won the women’s race. The men won the team event, and the CU women finished second behind Denver.
“I am very happy, it is a good way to start,” Rokos said. “We can build on it, and having three top scorers right away and a lot of top 10 finishes gives us confidence and peace of mind for the season. Even with one race we collected a pretty solid lead.”
First-year Denver alpine coach Andy LeRoy praised the effort of his women’s alpine team, which topped the field and spurred the Pioneers to a second-place finish as a team. Sophomore Claire Abbe led three Pioneers in the top 10 in third, freshman walk-on Molly Ryan was sixth and Karine Falck-Pedersen was ninth. Six DU women finished in the top 15.
“The DU women dominated,” LeRoy said. “This was just a huge way for our team to start the season. And to have freshman walk-on Molly Ryan finish sixth in her first race was great. We couldn’t ask for a better way to spark the momentum for our team.”
Sean Higgins’ podium finish in third led the DU men. Ian Dunlop finished 18th.
The Nevada alpiners also got off to a strong start, finishing second as a team on the strength of Katie Lyons’ fourth-place finish and three top-20 results from the men. Luke Patterson led the way in seventh.
A host of RMISA racers impressed at cross-country nationals. DU’s Rene Reisshauer punched a pair of top-15s (sixth in 10 km classic, 14th in 15 km free). Utah’s Fabian Figi finished 10th in the classic and 15th in the freestyle. CU’s Maria Grevsgaard finished 12th in the women’s 5 km classic race. Click here for complete results from the U.S. cross-country nationals.