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Colorado Wins New Mexico Invitational

Discussion in 'University of Colorado News and Olympic Sports' started by cmgoods, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. cmgoods

    cmgoods Olympic Sports Mod Club Member

    Oct 15, 2011
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    Photo Courtesy: Joel Broida
    [h=1]Colorado Wins New Mexico Invitational[/h] Release: 02/10/2013 Courtesy: Curtis Snyder, Associate SID

    RED RIVER, N.M.—The University of Colorado ski team hung on … literally … to win the 2013 New Mexico Invitational Sunday here in the final day of regular season Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association action.

    Colorado finished third in the men’s slalom race and second in the women’s race, needing just about every one of those points to hold of Utah in the end by a score of 864 to 851. The 13 points was the closest finish in a meet in two years dating back to when Colorado edged Utah by 10 points (879-869) in the 2011 Denver Invitational during the Buffs NCAA Championship run.

    Denver finished third with 808 points, followed by the host Lobos in fourth with 794 points. Montana State finished fifth with 670 points and Alaska Anchorage was sixth with 605 points.

    The men’s teams hit the slopes first and it became immediately clear that the final day would hold some drama for the Buffs as freshman Henrik Gunnarsson and senior Max Lamb did not finish their first runs. It was Gunnarsson and Lamb who finished third and fourth, respectively, just 24 hours earlier for the Buffaloes.

    “It started early this morning when Henrik had some technicals problem,” CU coach Richard Rokos said. “It looked like something happened on his edge and he couldn’t turn left. By the middle of the race, he just couldn’t go any further. Shortly after that, Max had a winning run on his hand but crashed just right before the finish line. He was flying, I’m sure he probably would’ve had the fastest run on his hands.

    “Those two things put enough pressure on the rest of the guy’s team, they had to ski far more conservatively. It was unfortunate for the men’s side.”

    The rest of the guys did respond. Freshman Kasper Hietenan put an amazing effort forth on his first run. He ran 21st out of the gate and had the fourth-fastest first run time. Sophomore Fletcher McDonald, who has hit the podium twice in slalom races this season, matched Hietenan’s first-run time to give the Buffs two of the top five after the first run. Sophomore Andreas Haug was sitting 23rd after the first run while Cameron Smith was in 38th.

    Hietenan and McDonald, ironically, had the same time in their second runs and finished the race tied for seventh, both with times of 1:36.31. Haug ran the 13th fastest second run, which pushed him up to a 16th place finish in 1:36.98. Smith finished in 27th after a solid second run with a total time of 1:39.97.

    “In my career, I have never seen that,” Rokos said. “Where we had two teammates with the exact same time in both the first and second runs, down to the hundredth of a second. Ties happen from time to time, but not both runs and not from teammates. I think that’s more than one in a million chance of happening.”

    Utah also had some misfortune in the men’s race with two of its five skiers not finishing the race. CU’s 17 point lead grew slightly to 24 points with just one race left in the meet.

    The drama continued into the women’s race. With just three alpine skiers on its roster, the Utes went with an all-or-nothing approach and it worked out as they finished second, third and 10th to win the race with 118 points.

    Colorado responded, despite a late disqualification of freshman Brooke Wales, the Buffs placed three other skiers in the top 12 to score 107 points and hold on for the win. Freshman Jessica Honkonen hit the podium in third place with a time of 1:34.44 while freshman Thea Grosvold finished seventh (1:35.88) and sophomore Shane McLean took 12th (1:36.69).

    “The girls skied well, but they felt the same pressure with two guys out of the earlier race,” Rokos said. “Considering that we skied conservatively, and were just aiming to protect the lead, things went well for us.”

    Freshman Clare Wise also had her best performance of the season, finishing 17th in a time of 1:37.94. She began the race 37th and had the 24th fastest first run and 19th fastest second to move up 20 spots from her starting position. Senior Khyla Burrows didn’t finish the second run.

    A situation like Saturday may help the Buffs down the road. Normally late in the season, skiers are fighting for NCAA Qualification points and the meet results usually take a back seat. In a change this season, all six NCAA teams from the RMISA will qualify full 12 skier teams. That added to the fact that CU skiers are in good shape with qualification standings led to the mentality of hanging on to win the meet, much the same mentality for all teams at the NCAA Championships where there’s little room for error.

    “The girls have a good grasp on qualification and we’re in good shape,” Rokos said. “And we’re not fighting for musical chairs, each school has a full allotment for skiers. So on the qualification front, it’s far more relaxed right now.”

    The regular season is now complete and skiers will have about two weeks off before the RMISA Championships, which double as the NCAA West Regional, set for February 22-24 in Bozeman, Mont., hosted by Montana State. The season will then conclude with an east coast trip to Vermont for the NCAA Championships, hosted by Middlebury March 6-9.

    “We’ve had a great season so far, winning all the meets,” Rokos said. “We’ll try to keep that going, it’s good to be the conference champion. We took the regular season title and now we will try to be RMISA Champions. At the same time, for us, it’s still gearing up for the NCAA Championships and we won’t risk anything.”

    University of New Mexico Team Standings (Final)—1. Colorado 864; 2. Utah 851; 3. Denver 808; 4. New Mexico 794; 5. Montana State 670; 6. Alaska Anchorage 605; 7. Westminster College 275; 8. Wyoming 204; 9 Colorado Mountain College 98.

    Men’s Slalom No. 2—1. Espen Lysdahl, DU, 1:34.70; 2. Joonas Rasanen, UNM, 1:34.95; 3. Chris Acosta, UNM, 1:35.89; 4. Eian Sandvik, UU, 1:36.05; 5. Nikolai Narvestad, WMC, 1:36.06; 6. Mark Miller, UNM, 1:36.08; 7. Kasper Hietenan & Fletcher McDonald, CU, 1:36.31; 9. Andreas Adde, UAA, 1:36.36; 10. Max Marno, DU, 1:36.38. Other CU Finishers: 16. Andreas Haug, 1:36.98; 26. Cameron Smith, 1:39.97. Did Not Finish (First Run): Henrik Gunnarsson; Max Lamb.

    Women’s Slalom No. 2—1. Anna Goodman, WMC, 1:32.67; 2. Ana Kobal, UU, 1:33.73; 3. Jessica Honkonen, CU, 1:34.44; 4. Kristiina Rove, UU, 1:35.02; 5. Mateja Robnik, UNM, 1:35.59; 6. Devin Delaney, DU, 1:35.79; 7. Thea Grosvold, CU, 1:35.88; 8. Tianda Carroll, DU, 1:35.89; 9. Kate Williams, UNM, 1:36.18; 10. Jamie DuPratt, UU, 1:36.31. Other CU Finishers: 12. Shane McLean, 1:36.69; 17. Clare Wise, 1:37.94. Disqualified (second run): Brooke Wales. Did Not Finish (second run): Khyla Burrows.

    from cubuffs.com

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