Senior Linda Pettersson
Jan. 27, 2006
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. -- The University of Utah ski team was shorthanded in the men's cross country scoring, but managed to ski to a fifth-place performance in the first day of the 13th annual Colorado Invitational.
"We had some health problems on the men's side, but our goal is always to give a solid effort and let the results fall into place," said head coach Eli Brown. "This is a very competitive field and we are doing our best."
Junior standout Fabian Figi was unable to finish today's 10-km classical event, after a severe asthma attack. With only two other qualified skiers in the pack, Utah finished seventh overall. Fellow juniors Jess Kiesel (29:12.9) and Erik Gjomle (29:13.9) rallied to place 12th and 13th respectively.
"It was a huge blow not having Fabian in the scoring, but his health is more important than results," remarked Brown. "He has adjusted his medications and should be ready for tomorrow. I feel the men are skiing super consistent, finishing only seconds behind each other. Only having three skiers makes it difficult and really affects our team scores, but we are going to continue to ski strong."
The women's squad had a good day of nordic racing, finishing fourth overall in the 5-km classical. Utah was led by junior Nicole Naef's seventh-place performance in 16:39.8. Senior Linda Pettersson (17:03.4) garnered 13th and freshman Sara Schweiger (17:11.3) notched 17th rounding out the Utes' top three scores.
"The women had another solid day of racing," said Brown. "There have been a few new recruits from other schools coming into the mix, making it even more competitive. Nicole was our strongest skier today and it was good to have Linda back from illness."
Tomorrow, Utah is hopeful to gain ground on the top competitors in the 15/20-km freestyle events. The second day of nordic racing will be held at the Steamboat Springs Ski Resort. Race times will be all day.
Colorado Invitational Team Results: 1. Colorado, 163; 2. Denver, 148; 3. New Mexico, 125; 4. Alaska-Anchorage, 106; 5. Utah, 97; 6. Nevada, 94; 7. Montana State, 73; 8. Western State, 59; 9. Wyoming, 37; 10. Whitman, 27; 11. Boise State, 0.