Sophomore Casey Simons
Jan. 24, 2005
The preseason No.1 (SkiRacing Magazine) ranked University of Utah ski team takes to the road, traveling to Winter Park, Colo., to ski at the Denver Invitational, Jan. 28-29. Events will be held Friday and Saturday at Winter Park Resort. Events will be held all day.
The Utes had a week off, prior to their fourth-place performance at the Alaska-Anchorage Invitational. Utah opened the three-day event by finishing first in the giant slalom, but couldn't hold on to its lead as Denver, New Mexico and Colorado surpassed the Utes.
Denver (541.0) won its second invite of the season, while the defending NCAA champion New Mexico (493.5) finished second. The Buffs of Colorado (487.0) skied third, followed by Utah (486.0) in fourth. Alaska-Anchorage (465.5) claimed fifth.
Although Utah finished fourth overall, the alpine team claimed an overall team victory after winning both the GS and slalom events. The downhill squad skied remarkably well, headlined by Ben Thornhill, Will McDonald, April Mancuso and Lina Johansson.
On the cross country side, junior newcomer Magnus Carlsson made his college debut by skating eighth in the 10-km classical and seventh in the 10-km freestyle. All-American Barbro Hatlevik led the women, finishing fifth in the 5-km CL and ninth in the 5-km FS.
In other events last week, nordic skier Sandra Gredig and All-American alpine specialists Mancuso and Thornhill recently skied at the World University Games in Innsbruck, Austria. Sophomore Gredig (Davos, Switzerland) skated to a 6th-place finish in the women's sprint and 27th in the 5-km skate races.
Mancuso (Lake Tahoe, Calif.) finished 28th overall in the SL and 16th in the GS, while Thornhill (Whistler, British Columbia) skied to 55th in the first run and 38th in the second run in the men's SL.
In the junior ranks, sophomore Casey Simons has been named to the 2005 Junior World Championship Team, joining five other men and six women skiers. The team will compete in the Rowaniemi, Finland in March.
2005 SKI RACING MAGAZINE PRESEASON RANKINGS:
Utah 144 Denver 141 New Mexico 139 Colorado 131 Vermont 117 Alaska-Anchorage 78 Middlebury College 59 Dartmouth College 58 Nevada 44 Alaska-Fairbanks 9
Junior Andi Weiser will miss the rest of the 2005 season due to a knee injury sustained during a training run prior to the Utah Invite. The Nova Gorica, Slovenia, native will rejoin the team next season.
QUOTING COACH SWEENEY:
Quoting Team's Performance:
"We made a critical evaluation of both squads after our performance in Jackson Hole. We have a very strong squad with the motivation and desire to win. We have had a nice week of training and settling back into academics after our whirlwind of the first two weeks of January. We have found a nice balance of resting up after such a hard initial push and have found some excellent training conditions. I anticipate our results to be much more consistent at Winter Park. I have a few athletes that still need some rest so those are taking it easy, others are working on intensity gearing for better race-pace performance. The staff is doing a great job as we have been focusing on individual details as well as overall team performance. The athletes are responding just as I had hoped...getting fired up to score well for team points and NCAA Qualification."
Quoting Andi Weiser's Injury:
"Also on a positive note, Andi Weiser underwent successful surgery and has begun rehab. It's going to be a long process getting him back for next year, but we are focused on taking the time and doing the right things for him. He's under the care of Bob Toth (Head Athletic Trainer) whom I have the utmost respect and confidence in."
RETURNING NCAA CHAMPIONS:
Senior and two-time GS champion Ben Thornhill will be returning for his fourth-season with the Utes. Fellow senior Lina Joansson rejoins the team after skiing to a first-place podium spot in the SL at the 2003 NCAA Championships.
-Nordic Recruits: Magnus Carlsson and Nicole Naef -Alpine Recruits: Mark Heinrich-Wallace, Matic Ramus and Kim Stephens
Below is the list of schools with ski teams that count in the final scoring of invitational meets:
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 have another week to train before traveling to Taos, N.M., and Red River, N.M., for the New Mexico Invitational. This two-day event will be held Friday through Saturday, Feb. 11-12. Events will be held all day.