Next up, Utah will compete in the New Mexico Invitational, Feb. 11-12.
Jan. 29, 2005
WINTER PARK, Colo. -- The University of Utah ski team dropped the top-spot, but held on to second beating out top-teams New Mexico and Colorado in the final day of the Denver Invitational. Utes finished the two-day invite skiing in the men's and women's slalom and classical events.
"This was a terrific weekend for both squads," said Head Coach Kevin Sweeney. "We really charged hard today, scoring with great alpine and cross country results. We came up a little short this weekend, but it was a real effort on the part of the team and I'm really optimistic about the future."
Denver (565.0) has been the team to beat, sweeping all three invites this season. Utah (523.0) claimed a solid second-place finish, while New Mexico (493.0) remained in third. Colorado (461.0) held on to fourth and Alaska-Anchorage (394.0) skied fifth wrapping up the top scores over the weekend.
The women's alpine team led all scores in the SL, finishing with three skiers in the top-10. Freshman Kim Stephens had another spectacular race, leading the Utes with her seventh-place finish with a two-run time of 1:34.21. Senior Elisha Stephens skied a few tenths of a second behind her sister to finish eighth with a time of 1:34.52, marking a season best. Fellow senior Rowena Hyldahl raced to her best ever finish of the season with a ninth-place performance in 1:34.63.
"The women's team had a great weekend," remarked Head Coach Aaron Atkins. "We couldn't have asked for a better performance from Kim this weekend. She was awesome. It was also great to see Elisha and Rowena ski so well today. Overall, I was really proud of this team, they skied very well."
The men's alpine team was only able to finish two scores, which were both in the top-10. The Utes were shorthanded this weekend, without the help of senior All-American Ben Thornhill. Thornhill didn't make the trip to Colorado due to illness. Senior Mark Heinrich-Wallace finished the men's SL with a sixth-place finish in 1:24.32, while teammate Will McDonald was seventh with a time of 1:24.58. Sophomore Gaspar Perricone was unable to finish the second run and didn't qualify for points.
"The men skied really well and I was very happy with our top-10 finishes," added Atkins. "We didn't have a full team, which made it difficult but I was really happy with the effort. Mark and Will ski very well in the slalom and they proved that today."
The women's cross country squad tied for fourth with Denver in the 10-km CL. The Utes were led by sophomore sensation Sandra Gredig's fifth-place finish in 33:50.9. Nicole Naef posted yet another great result, this time taking home eighth with a time of 34:34.2. Junior Linda Pettersson finished the day with a season best 17th-place performance in 34:56.3, while teammate Ashley McQueen skated to 26th in 36:18.1.
The men's cross country team was just shy of placing three skiers into the top-15, but managed to place fourth overall in the 15-km CL. Junior Magnus Carlsson was the Utes' top-finisher, placing seventh in 43:32.6. Sophomore Casey Simons raced to a 13th-place finish with a time of 45:22.1, while Daniel Sonntag skated to 16th in 45:51.5.
"I was very proud of the cross country team's effort today," said Sweeney. "Linda finished with one of her best results and Casey also skied really well. Magnus and Sandra gave very solid performances. I thought they gave a great all-around effort."
Next up, the Utes will have some time to fine tune a few things before traveling to Taos, N.M. and Red River, N.M., to compete in the annual New Mexico Invitational, Feb. 11-12. This will be the final invite before the 2005 Regional Championships.
Overall Team Scores (FINAL)
Denver 565.0 Utah 523.0 New Mexico 493.0 Colorado 461.5 Alaska-Anchorage 394.0 Montana State 374.0 Nevada 374.0 Western State 221.0 Whitman 167.0 Boise State 67.0