Senior All-American Ben Thornhill
Jan. 14, 2006
BOZEMAN & BIG SKY, Mont. -- The University of Utah ski team takes a fourth-place finish midway through the Montana State Invitational. This event comes after a one day hiatus from college racing where the Utes claimed third at the Alaska-Anchorage Invite. Today, the alpine team raced in the giant slalom, while the cross country squad competed in the 5/10-km classical.
Once again, the defending NCAA champions Denver (300) led the way, followed by Colorado (264) in second. Alaska-Anchorage (262) is right on the heels of the Buffs in third, while Utah (241) sits in fourth. The Lobos of New Mexico (219) perch in fifth.
After a very competitive day of racing, the men's alpine team took third in the GS. The Ute racers were able to finish with all three scores in the top 10, headlined by senior All-American and GS specialist Ben Thornhill's sixth-place performance in 1:58.09. Freshman Scott Veenis took eighth in 1:58.19, while senior Will McDonald skied to 10th with a two run time of 1:58.51.
The women's alpine team fell to fifth place, but managed to score two skiers in the top 15. Sophomore Kim Stephens slated her way to a 13th-place finish in 2:02.89, while freshman Mikaela Grassl notched 14th with a time of 2:03.12. Junior Lauren Lattimer rounded out the scoring for Utah with her 16th-place performance in 2:03.32. Senior All-American transfer Erika Hogan lost a ski and did not finish.
"We had some missed opportunities that we needed to capitalize on," remarked assistant alpine coach Peter Shaffer. "The team as a whole skied solid. Veenis fell during his race, but bounced back quick and Hogan unfortunately loss a ski, preventing her from scoring."
The women's cross country team came out strong in the 5-km CL, finishing with two scores in the top 10. Freshman Sara Schweiger led the pack with a sixth-place performance in 19:09.9, while teammate Nicole Naef finished one tenth of a second behind Schweiger to claim seventh. Senior Anna Sprague strided to 18th and fellow senior Ashley McQueen notched 19th.
On the men's side, junior Fabian Figi finished 12th in the 10-km CL with a time of 34:04.0. Juniors Erik Gjomle (34:20.2) and Jess Kiesel (34:52.4) edged out the Utes final scores, placing 14th and 15th respectively.
"The teams had a good day today," said head coach Eli Brown. "It was a bit tough with waxing and that always plays a huge role in college racing. "I'm proud of the nordic team for once again, racing strong and consistent. Overall, we had a good solid day."
Tomorrow, Utah will wrap up the second and final day of the Montana State Invitation, Jan. 15. The nordic team will compete in the 10/15-km freestyle, while the downhill squad will race in the slalom. Events will be held at Bohart Ranch and Big Sky Resort. Race times are all day.
Montana State Invite Team Scores: 1. Denver 300; 2. Colorado 264; 3. Alaska-Anchorage 262; 4. Utah 241; 5. New Mexico 219; 6. Montana State 164; 7. Nevada 150; 8. Western State 102, 9. Whitman 83; 10. Boise State 29; 11. Wyoming 26.