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Skiers Extend Lead At RMISA Championships

Discussion in 'University of Colorado News and Olympic Sports' started by cmgoods, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. cmgoods

    cmgoods Olympic Sports Mod Club Member

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    Joanne Reid, Eliska Hajova and Maria Nordstrom on the poduim Saturday in helping CU extend its lead in the RMISA Championships.

    Photo Courtesy: CUBuffs.com
    [h=1]Skiers Extend Lead At RMISA Championships[/h] Release: 02/23/2013 Courtesy: David Plati, Associate AD/Sports Information


    BOZEMAN, Mont. - The University of Colorado ski team picked up a third regional champion in taking all three top spots in a race for the second straight day in extending its lead as the second day of competition was completed here Saturday in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association Championships, an event that doubles as the NCAA West Regional.

    The Buffaloes finished the day with 711 team points, extending its lead over second-place Utah (625) from 40 to 86 points with two events remaining. Denver moved from fifth into third (616) with host Montana State fourth (550). Heavy snowfall overnight and into the morning made things challenging for all the skiers, especially those competing in the giant slalom.

    Colorado is bidding for its 12th RMISA/West Regional title in the 23 years that Richard Rokos as served as the program's head coach, as its 23rd overall in the 60-plus year history of the conference.

    For the second straight day, Colorado's women's Nordic team posted a 1-2-3 sweep, this time in the 15-kilometer freestyle race, duplicating the effort in Friday's 5k classical event. Prior to Friday, Colorado had not recorded a 1-2-3 sweep in women's Nordic action since the sport went coed in 1983; with Saturday's accomplishment, it matched the number of times Buff skiers had done in all other disciplines (two, once in men's Nordic and in women's alpine).

    Senior Eliska Hajkova won for the first time this year, marking the first time in CU history that three different women's Nordic skiers have captured races in the same season, joining senior Joanne Reid (eight wins) and freshman Maria Nordstroem (one). Hajkova's eighth career victory (third in freestyle) also allowed CU skiers to win all 10 RMISA women's cross country races this winter, another school first.

    Hajkova led the pack of 27 skiers in the mass start format in a time of 51:25.7, with Reid next in at 51:40.2 and then Nordstroem in 51:45.9; the first non-Buff was Utah's Rose Kemp, who crossed the finish line some 37 seconds later. The only "downside" to this was that Hajkova ended her teammate Reid's string of seven consecutive wins, tied for the second longest in any discipline in Buff history.

    "I wanted it so much today," Hajkova said. "I had prefect skis. I was rested and my skis went so fast. On the last uphill, I just felt like I should try, so I did and it worked. It feels great when you're at the end of the second lap and it's just your teammates and friends around you. Sometimes when people get away from the main pack, they slow down and rest, but we worked really hard to make it a bigger gap, and I'm so proud of all of us."

    "I was thinking that we should keep a gap as a team," Nordstrom said. "I was in the lead on the final lap until the final uphill, which isn't smart if you want to win a race, but we went 1-2-3, so it was worth it. It's pretty perfect for us to all get podiums again, and helps our confidence going to NCAA's."

    "We thought our biggest competition would be from the Alaska Anchorage girl Marine (Dusser)," Reid said. "When she started falling back, I started pulling ahead on the flats. But then I was struggling, so my teammates took over and it was awesome. I'm a little relieved, the more you win in a row the more nervous you get and I've always said I want us to go 1-2-3 more than me winning, so I'm so happy right now."

    And with senior Mary Rose coming in eighth in 52:46.8, it marked the fourth time this winter four CU skiers, and the only four on the roster this year, finished in the top 10. It was Rose's sixth career top 10 effort, all coming in her last 13 collegiate races, as she is one of the most improved skiers from freshman to senior seasons in school history.

    In the men's 20-kilometer race, Utah won as a team by placing four in the top five, including winner Miles Havlick in a time of 58:35.6. Colorado sophomore Rune Oedegaard took second, less than three seconds back in 58:38.2; the two finished in reverse order from Friday's classic result.

    Sophomore Arnaud Du Pasquier recorded his best collegiate finish, as his 59:28.1 time placed him seventh, also his second top 10 effort. Junior Andreas Hoye was CU's third scorer, finishing 11th in 1 hour, 26.6 seconds. Rounding out the CU men on Saturday were freshmen Charlie Von Thaden (matching his career best finish,15th, in 1:01:13.8) and Gustav Nordstrom (16th, 1:01:22.0), senior Ian Mallams (17th, 1:02:00.0) and freshman Michael Vigers (20th, 1:02:33.7).

    "At the beginning, I started really easy, since I was sixth in our lane, so I knew it wasn't worth killing myself to have a good start," Du Pasquier said. "You have to use a lot of energy out front anyway with these conditions. Then I just wanted to keep the pace for every lap. I was able to stay with the lead pack, I had some issues with pacing and I think that hurt me at points, but I was able to fight back and almost caught the lead pack again at the end." Hajkova, Reid and Oedegaard continued their climb up CU's all-time podium (top three) list. The Nordic trio has 67 among them: Hajkova is third with 31; Reid is now tied for 10th with 19, while Oedegard pulled into a tie for 12th.

    "It was sweet to get another sweep," CU Nordic coach Bruce Cranmer said. "It's hard to know exactly how things evolve in a race, but they passed the girl from Alaska and she dropped off and it was just the three of them. They were really happy to go 1-2-3, for sure.

    "I think Eliska had something she wanted to prove, so it's good for her to sort of break through and get a win," he continued. "Rune sometimes has to work harder. When Utah has four guys in the top five, they can rotate around, and he has to make sure he's in first or second place, otherwise the other teammates will make gaps that he has to close them. Over a 20K race, it takes a lot of effort.

    "It was great to see Arnaud up there, he's been working hard and he's definitely had a few of his best career results here at the end of the season and that's all you can ask for.

    "It's unique, and the Nordic girls are peaking at the right time and hopefully not too early," Rokos said. "It's good for Joanne and Eliska to swap places every once in a while just so they don't get bored.

    "Bruce and Jana (Weinberger, assistant Nordic coach) did a great job coaching. For alpine, it will just be to maintain the lead. For us, it's more not to jeopardize things than to gain. There are tons of points in our pocket already. We learned early in our race that they had swept and everybody skied a little less aggressive and just to secure the team result and not give anything to other teams."

    Rokos noted that the giant slaloms, "Were difficult races but the same for everybody. We ran all four runs on the same course with just minor modifications. It was a fair race, a good surface. We will probably repeat that again with the slalom races tomorrow just it's difficult to move the excess snow or even to maintain it."

    In the men's giant slalom, Colorado had two in the top 10, led by junior Andreas Haug taking fifth place in 1:39.47; New Mexico's Christopher Acosta won in a 1:38.89 time.

    "For my first run, Richie put me in the first seed so I took advantage of it," Haug said of what turned out to be his best finish of the season. "I started late second run but had a solid run then, too. I'm finally starting to find some of the stuff I was able to do two years ago, and it feels good and builds confidence coming into the biggest races of the season. I think we're confident as a team. Our GS has been lacking, but we've been training a lot and it's starting to pay off."

    "Andreas is coming slowly back, building his confidence," Rokos noted. "He has been progressing gently but steadily, but he will have another opportunity in slalom to make it to NCAA's again. At this point it's hard to seed the guys, because on one side you want to win the race, on the other you want to help somebody improve qualification. There is compromise, sometimes you just randomly pick which we did today. We don't have the pressure of fighting for the qualification spots, so that takes some pressure off, we can focus more on winning the RMISA Championship."

    Two freshmen were CU's next finishers and thus scorers, with Cameron Smith matching his collegiate best GS finish with an eighth place showing in a 1:39.80 clocking, while Kasper Heitanen placed 11th in 1:40.29. Freshman Henrik Gunnarson (14th, 1:40.37), senior Max Lamb (16th, 1:40.65) and junior Fletcher McDonald (26th, 1:42.32) rounded out the CU men. Less than three-and-a-half seconds separated first through 26[SUP]th[/SUP], making this a particularly tight race.

    As for the women, freshman Brooke Wales finished fourth in 1:40.75, her fourth top five finish this winter (the other three were all runner-up efforts); Denver's Kristine Haugen won in 1:39.23. Another freshman finished ninth for the Buffs, as Jessica Honkonen posted her eighth top 10 finish of the year in a 1:41.65 clocking.

    "I started further back because of seeding to help the other girls with NCAA's," Wales said. "I always like to be on the podium, so I'm not super happy but it's okay. On the first run, visibility wasn't good and there was snow on the course, so it was an inconsistent surface, you had to trust yourself to put a good race down. That's ski racing."

    Other Buff finishes in the women's GS included senior Khyla Burrows (a second-best career finish, 13th, in 1:42.52), freshman Thea Grosvold (14th, 1:42.59) and frosh Claire Wise (22nd, 1:46.33).

    "Brooke is a great skier," Rokos said. "Starting where she started (17th), she had to move through the field on the first run and then just confirm it on the second run. It was a little tactics, we were helping Jessica and Thea secure some good points for NCAA qualification. And it was fun to see Khyla score for the team for the first time in her final collegiate GS race."

    The meet concludes Sunday with the slalom races; CU will return to Boulder ahead of departing next weekend for the NCAA Championships in Vermont.

    NCAA EAST: In the Bates Carnival/NCAA East Regional in Sunday River, Maine, Vermont rallied on the second day to win the title, scoring 939.5 points to defeat first day leader Dartmouth, which finished with 908.5 points; New Hampshire (690) edged Middlebury (689) for third. UVM captured three of the four Saturday events to rally from 10 points down entering the day. Vermont had three individual champions, Dartmouth and Middlebury two each and Harvard one.

    [FONT=arial black,avant garde]RMISA[/FONT][FONT=arial black,avant garde] Championship Team Scores[/FONT] (through 6 of 8 events)- 1. Colorado 711; 2. Utah 625; 3. Denver 616; 4. Montana State 550; 5. New Mexico 523; 6. Alaska-Anchorage 477.

    [FONT=arial black,avant garde]Men's Giant Slalom [/FONT](30 collegiate finishers)-1. Christopher Acosta, UNM, 1:38.89; 2. Jeremy Elliot, Utah, 1:39.17; 3. Espen Lysdahl, DU, 1:39.43; 4. Grant Jampolsky, DU, 1:39.45; 5. Andreas Haug, CU, 1:39.47; 6. Max Marno, DU, 1:39.58; 7. Michael Bansmer, UNM, 1:39.78; 8. Cameron Smith, CU, 1:39.80; 9. Kitt Flowers, DU, 1:39.82; 10. Sam Monseu, MSU, 1:40.28. Other CU Finishers: 11. Kasper Hietnanen, 1:40.29; 14. Henrik Gunnarsson, 1:40.37; 16. Max Lamb, 1:40.65; 26. Fletcher McDonald, 1:42.32.

    [FONT=arial black,avant garde]Women's Giant Slalom [/FONT](25 collegiate finishers)- 1. Kristine Haugen, DU, 1:39.23; 2. Kristina Rove, Utah, 1:39.78; 3. Mateja Robnik, UNM, 1:40.52; 4. Brooke Wales, CU, 1:40.75; 5. Ana Kobal, Utah, 1:41.03; 6. Stephanie Irwin, MSU, 1:41.26; 7. Devin Delaney, DU, 1:41.28; 8. Vanessa Berther, UAA, 1:41.60; 9. Jessica Honkonen, CU, 1:41.65; 10. Kelly McBroom, MSU, 1:41.67. Other CU Finishers: 13. Khyla Burrows, 1:42.52; 14. Thea Grosvold, 1:42.59; 22. Claire Wise, 1:46.33.

    [FONT=arial black,avant garde]Men's 20K Freestyle [/FONT](27 collegiate finishers)- 1. Miles Havlick, Utah, 58:35.6; 2. Rune Oedegaard, CU, 58:38.2; 3. Einar Ulsund, Utah, 59:00.9; 4. Niklas Persson, Utah, 59:00.9; 5. Noe Bellet, Utah, 59:07.7; 6. Mats Resaland, UNM, 59:21.1; 7. Arnaud Du Pasquier, CU, 59:28.1; 8. Andrew Daugherty, DU, 59:49.7; 9. Tyler Reinking, MSU, 59:50.6; 10. Lukas Ebner, UAA, 59:54.9. Other CU Finishers: 11. Andreas Hoye, 1:00:26.6; 15. Charlie Von Thaden, 1:01:13.8; 16. Gustav Nordstrom, 1:01:22.0; 17. Ian Mallams, 1:02:00.0; 20. Michael Vigers, 1:02:33.7.

    [FONT=arial black,avant garde]Women's 15K Freestyle [/FONT](27 collegiate finishers)- 1. Eliska Hajkova, CU, 51:25.7; 2. Joanne Reid, CU, 51:40.2; 3. Maria Nordstroem, CU, 51:45.9; 4. Rose Kemp, Utah, 52:23.6; 5. Makayla Cappel, DU, 52:30.2; 6. Jessica Yeaton, MSU, 52:39.5; 7. Silje Benum, DU, 52:41.6; 8. Mary Rose, CU, 52:46.8; 9. Jessica Jortberg, DU, 53:15.9; 10. Isabella Smith, MSU, 53:19.5.

    (Associate SID Curtis Snyder contributed to this report.)

    from cubuffs.com
     

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