Next up, Utah will have a couple of weeks off to recuperate before skiing in the NCAA Championships, March 10-13, in Reno, Nev.
Feb. 28, 2004
CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. - The University of Utah ski team jumped two spots to place third overall at the NCAA West Regional. Utah finished with a combine score of 459, skiing in the men's slalom, women's giant slalom and nordic classical events.
Denver remained on top, winning the WSU/Regional Championships. The Lobos of New Mexico skied second, while the Utes moved up to third. Alaska-Anchorage dropped to fourth and Colorado took fifth.
"As a team, we are sitting in great position for the NCAAs," said Head Coach Kevin Sweeney. "Our team is coming together and I'm hoping we will be at full strength for the championships. We had a lot of good results today and it feels good to finish on a good note."
Overall, Utah skied great, but it was the cross country squad that really boosted the Utes' scores. On the men's side, junior Henning Dybendal won the 15-km classical race beating out Colorado's Tor Erik Schjellerud with a time of 53:43.6. Fellow junior Benjamin Sonntag skied to an 11th-place finish in 54:16.5, while freshman Casey Simons notched 21th in 58:08.1. Skiers Daniel Sonntag and Tony Bozzio did not ski due to illness.
Sophomore Jenny Hansson has been the driving force for the nordic women, proving herself once again in the 10-km classical event. The Ostersund, Sweden, native skied to a sixth-place finish with a two-run time of 42:18.4. Freshman Sandra Gredig contributed strongly, placing 10th in 42:40.9, while junior Barbro Hatlevik skied 13th with a time of 43:24.4. Sophomore Ashley McQueen climbed to 32nd.
"This was the first overall good weekend of the season," said Head Alpine Coach Aaron Atkins. "Rowena and April had another great day. They are both skiing very well."
Junior Ben Thornhill rallied to a career best in the men's slalom, finishing fifth with a two-run time of 1:12.10. Freshman Gaspar Perricone was in second place midway through the race, but couldn't hold on down the stretch. Perricone did manage to record a season best 12th-place finish in 1:12.76, while sophomore Andi Weiser grabbed 26th with a time of 1:15.24. Will McDonald skied 32nd.
"Ben had the best slalom race of his career here at Utah," commented Atkins. "Gaspar started out very well and ended with another great race. Will was skiing well, but ended up having to hike, which cost him some time."
Next up, Utah will have a couple of weeks off to recuperate before skiing in the NCAA Championships, March 10-13, in Reno, Nev. Venues for this year's NCAAs will be held at the Sugar Bowl Ski Resort and Auburn Ski Club.
"Everyone on the team is improving and this is exactly what we needed," added Atkins. "I'm excited for the championships and we are right on pace. We are skiing very well and you never can tell what exactly is going to happen at the NCAAs."
Regional Championship Final Results:
1. Denver 570.0
2. New Mexico 510.0
3. Utah 459.0
4. Alaska-Anchorage 457.0
5. Colorado 449.0
6. Nevada 315.0
7. Western State 296.5
8. Montana State 279.0
9. Whitman 211.0
10. Boise State 110.0