Junior Nicole Naef
Jan. 7, 2006
SOLDIER HOLLOW, Utah -- The University of Utah ski team comes out strong in the opening day of the Alaska-Anchorage Invitational to place second after skiing in the 10/15-km classical.
"The cross country team blew me away today," said head coach Eli Brown. "This was the first college race of the season and we were really fired up. We have a plan this year and that is to ease into the season. We want to pace ourselves and come prepared every race. We feel if we focus on our technique, the results will come out favorable and that was shown today."
The defending national champion Denver (151) began where they ended last season by claiming the top spot. Utah (137) finished second behind the Pioneers, followed by host Alaska-Anchorage (132) in third. The Buffs of Colorado (119) edged out New Mexico (110) for fourth place, while the Logos notched fifth to round out the top-five team scores.
The women's nordic squad had an outstanding day by winning the 10-km CL, placing all three scores in the top 10. Freshman Sara Schweiger led the pack, finishing third with a time of 38:41.2. Senior Linda Pettersson strided to fifth-place in 39:33.0, while teammate Nicole Naef earned tenth with an overall time of 40:17.2.
"The women were amazing today and I think this race really boosted their confidence," said Brown. "They have really been focusing on personal goals and they did just that today. Overall, they were solid."
The men finished third in the 15-km race, fueled by junior Erik Gjomle's tenth-place performance in 44:07.4. Fellow newcomer Fabian Figi garnered 11th with a time of 44:11.2, while junior Jess Kiesel raced to 13th in 45:49.1.
"The men did really well," said Brown. "They were focused and had a great performance. Our training really showed today and I was really happy with their results."
"We hope we can carry this momentum into tomorrow's races," added Brown. "We are going to wax well and gear up for the skate races. It should be very exciting."
Tomorrow, the Utes will battle in the second day of the Alaska-Anchorage Invitational in Soldier Hollow, Utah. Utah will compete in the 5/10-km freestyle races, with the women starting at 9:00 a.m. (MST) followed by the men at 11:30 a.m. (MST).
Live updates and times for tomorrow's FS events can be accessed from the link below. Live stats brought to you by Summit Systems.
Alaska-Anchorage Team Scores: 1. Denver 151; 2. Utah 137; 3. Alaska-Anchorage 132; 4. Colorado 119; 5. New Mexico 110; 6. Montana State 91; 7. Nevada 60; 8. Western State 52, 9. Whitman 49; 10. Wyoming 28; 11. Boise State 1.