Senior Linda Pettersson
Jan. 3, 2006
The University of Utah ski team opens the 2006 campaign, under the guideance of newly appointed head coach Eli Brown, by competing in the Alaska-Anchorage Invitational, Jan. 7-8.
The season opener will begin with the first-half of the UAA Invite featuring the cross country team. The nordic squad will compete in the 10/15-km classical races on Saturday, Jan. 7, and conclude with the 5/10-km freestyle events on Sunday, Jan. 8. The nordic venues will be hosted at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah. Races will be held all day.
The University of Utah skied to a third-place podium finish at the 2005 NCAA National Championships and to a fifth-place finish at the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association (RMISA) Western Regional Championships last season.
Six Utes were selected to the All-American ski team (top 10 at NCAAs). The list comprised of three skiers from both teams. Senior returner Ben Thornhill (GS) was honored for his performance in the giant slalom.
For the cross country team, former Utes Magnus Carlsson (CL and FS), Sandra Gredig (FS) and Daniel Sonntag (FS) were all honored for their marks in the 20/15-km freestyle and 10/5-km classical. Former alpine skiers Mark Heinrich-Wallace and April Mancuso were also honored for their efforts in the GS.
Utah was also home to seven top-ranked skiers in the All-Conference RMISA rankings (top 10 rankings) including Thornhill, Gredig, Heinrich-Wallace, Rowena Hyldahl, Lina Johansson, Mancuso and Sonntag.
2006 SKI RACING MAGAZINE PRESEASON RANKINGS:
1. University of Denver 2. University of Colorado 3. University of New Mexico 4. University of Vermont 5. University of Utah 6. University of Alaska-Anchorage 7. Middlebury College 8. Northern Michigan University 9. University of Nevada 10. Darmouth College
QUOTING HEAD COACH Eli Brown:
On Pre-Season Training:
"With a long dryland season behind us, the team is very eager to compete. We have had practice races in both alpine and cross county and have worked out the kinks."
On The UAA Invite:
"This team is ready to see how it stacks up to the competition. The UAA Invite, our only home meet this year, should be very exciting. Please come up to the mountains and support your Skiin' Utes!"
Senior Thornhill is the sole returning first-team All-American after skiing sixth in the GS at the 2005 NCAA Skiing Championships. The British Columbia, Canada native is a two-time NCAA GS champion after winning the event in '03 and '04.
Junior nordic skier Casey Simons recently underwent surgery and will miss duration of the 2006 season. The Park Ciy, Utah native competed in the NCAAs as a sophomore and will rejoin the team next year.
Senior alpine racer Andi Wieser will redshirt in '06. The Nova Gorica, Slovenia native missed the entire '05 ski season due to a knee injury and is expected to return to the squad next season.
-Nordic Recruits: Erik Gjomle Fabian Figi Linda Pettersson Sara Schweiger
University of Alaska, Anchorage University of Nevada Reno Montana State University University of Utah University of Colorado Western State College University of Denver Whitman College University of New Mexico Boise State University
Utah will wrap up the second half of the Alaska-Anchorage Invitational, which will be held in Park City, Utah.
The alpine events will be raced at the Park City Mountain Ski Resort, Eagle Arena. Race times will be held all day.