Only 25 points separated first and second place on the final day of events for the Utah Invitational.
But the margin was just enough to secure a Colorado victory as the Buffs edged the Utah Utes by a final score of 923 to Utah’s 898 to win the Utah Invitational in Soldiers Hollow, Utah on Saturday.
With the win, the Buffs secured four straight western meets, the most consecutive meets the Buffs have won since the national championship team of 2006 and the 2007 seasons.
The Buffs were victorious despite the absence of one of their star skiers, sophomore Joanne Reid, who was named to the U.S. Ski Team’s World Junior Championship squad earlier this month.
“All in all, it was a great day,” CU Nordic Coach Bruce Cranmer said in a news release. “To win by 25 points without Joanne Reid here, I’ll take that for sure. Soldier Hollow is a tricky place to wax, there are a lot of outside factors that affect it. It’s tricky.”
Norwegian senior Vegard Kjoelhamar took a first place finish in the men’s classical with a time of 1:03:11.5.
“He had a big day,” Cranmer said of Kjoelhamar. “He just got the lead at the beginning and skied away from everybody. He kept building his lead throughout the race, each lap he improved.”
Senior Jesper Ostensen also placed in the top five in the men’s classical with a time of 1:04:50.0, good enough for fourth place.
A total of four CU skiers would finish within the men’s top 10.
In the women’s classical, junior Czech Republic international Eliska Hajkova finished in second place behind Utah’s Maria Grafnings. Senior Alexa Turzian finished behind Hajkova in third place.
“That was one of Alexa’s best classic races,” Cranmer said of Turzian. “Skating is a different story, but she hasn’t made it to the podium a whole lot in classic races. Everybody for the most part had a good day.”
Final Utah Invitational Team Scores—1. Colorado, 923; 2. Utah, 898; 3. New Mexico 824.5; 4. Denver 710; 5. Alaska Anchorage 658.5; 6. Montana State 640; 7. Westminster College 254.
Women’s Classical (30 finishers)—1. Maria Grafnings, UU, 54:38.0; 2. Eliska Hajkova, CU, 55:37.0; 3. Alexa Turzian, CU, 56:59.2; 4. Marta Larsen, UU, 57:20.5; 5. Stephanie Hiemer, UAA, 57:25.9; 6. Zoe Roy, UU, 57:38.4; 7. Mareine Weng, UNM, 57:46.4; 8. Terese Andersson, UNM, 57:55.4; 9. Kate Dolan, DU, 58:13.3; 10. Sarah MacCarthy, UU, 58:44.2. Other CU Finishers: 16. Mary Rose, 1:00:44.0. Did Not Finish: Katie Stege.
Men’s Classical (28 finishers)—1. Vegard Kjoelhamar, CU, 1:03:11.5; 2. Tor-Hakon Hellebostad, UNM, 1:04:42.5; 3. Martin Kaas, UNM, 1:04:44.9; 4. Jesper Ostensen, CU, 1:04:50.0; 5. Miles Havlick, UU, 1:05:10.0; 6. Christian Otto, UNM, 1:05:44.3; 7. Reid Pletcher, CU, 1:06:37.4; 8. Pierre Niess, UNM, 1:06:58.4; 9. Bernhard Roenning, MSU, 1:07:14.9; 10. Ian Mallams, CU, 1:07:20.1. Other CU Finishers: 16. Patrick Neel, 1:08:46.7; 20. Spencer Lacy, 1:09:36.0. Did Not Finish: Andreas Hoye.
Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Esteban L. Hernandez at Esteban.email@example.com.