Junior Pierre Olsson is optimistic to carry over his first-place finish in the GS to the Western State Invitational.
Feb. 3, 2003
The University of Utah ski team is performing well, placing no lower then second in any of the previous invitationals thus far this season. Utah is confident on continuing its triumphant momentum into the Western State Invitational. The invite is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Feb. 7-8, in Gunnison, Colo.
The Ute ski team came away from Boulder, Colo., with a second-place finish in the Colorado Invitational. Utah accumulated an impressive total of 565 points, but the Buffs of Colorado skied to a victorious point total of 618 to nab first-place.
Both teams (alpine and nordic) performed at optimal levels throughout each discipline. The women's cross country team was again led by Katrin Smigun. The junior newcomer continues to remain unbeaten this season, adding first-place finishes in both the freestyle and classical events at the CU invite. "I feel good about my results," remarked Smigun. "This is the highest I've ever skied and I felt everything was under control."
Sara Svendsen skied exceptionally well placing second in the 5 km classical race, which is a career-best for the junior. Svendsen also placed fifth in the freestyle event. Skiers Barbro Hatlevik and Ashley McQueen also contributed for the Utes.
Seniors Zack Simons and Ryan Quinn made the difference for the men's cross country team in the classical and freestyle events. Simons placed third in the CL and fifth in the FS, while Quinn came in sixth in the CL. Freshman Jess Kiesel pulled through finishing sixth in the CL.
The alpine team put up a terrific showing, especially in the giant slalom event as they placed five skiers in the top-10. Junior Pierre Olsson's time of 2:08.35 nabbed him a first-place finish, while senior Jernej Bukovec skied third with a time of 2:09.68. Josh Whitham slid in at the ninth position.
The women's squad executed to perfection, paced by Lina Johansson and Rowena Bright. Johansson placed second in the GS, which is her best-ever collegiate finish. Bright gave a sixth-place effort in the GS and third in the slalom event.
QUOTING COACH KEVIN SWEENEY:
"This is a quick turn around trip for us, being back to the altitude and off to another long road trip. We are skiing very well right now, as a team, as our second-place showing demonstrated. We have been consistent as a whole, but there is room for improvement. At the midpoint of the season, I would like to see all squads be placing three skiers in the top-10. We have the ability, we just need to make this a reality."
"Torin Koos (nordic team) will be heading off to Italy to represent the U.S. Ski Team at the World U-23 (under 23 years of age) Championships and then at the World Ski Championships. This will mean we will be without our similar depth on the men's nordic side, so my other guys will need to step up their performance."
"We have traditionally raced very well in Crested Butte. I'm hopeful we will put up some good points and secure NCAA qualifying positions. The team is hungry for the title and we need to stay focused on that as the big picture."
The Ute skiers will have some time off before the Denver/ RMISA Regional Championships. The regionals are going to be held in Winter Park, Colo., this season and will be skied Sunday and Monday, Feb. 23-24.