The Buffs are holding off Utah on the slopes, but only by a ski.
Thanks to second place performances by Eliska Hajkova in the women’s classical and Vegard Kjoelhamar in the men’s classical, the CU ski team sits atop the standing in the Utah Invitational after Friday’s event at Soldier Hollows, Utah.
But, after a day that saw skiers navigating through the mountains in single digit temperatures, the Buffs stand in the number one spot with 680 points, just 10 points ahead of second place Utah, who tallied 670 points.
“All in all it was a great day,” CU Nordic Coach Bruce Cranmer said in a news release. “Our guys outscored Utah by a good margin, and then their girls outscored ours by about the same.”
The men’s squad controlled the slopes with five top-12 finishers and four in the top 10. The leader, Kjoelhamar, finished 5.6 seconds behind race winner Miles Havlick of Utah.
“Vegard was up about eight seconds with about 1.5K to go,” Cranmer said. “And it was within his grasp to have won. He led most of the race. Give Miles credit, he skied well, but it just got away from Vegard at the end, mostly because he was cold.”
“Having five of the top 13 and four top 10s; it was a good day for them,” Cranmer added. “We skied well as a team and everybody moved up a bit.”
Hajkova led on the slopes for the women, finishing in second with a time of 14:21.4.
“Certainly Eliska is giving it 100 percent to win and she’s closer than she was last week,” Cranmer said. “We’ll get stronger and attempt to have our best races later this season leading up to NCAA Championships in March.”
Six of the eight races for the invitational are complete. The event will conclude on Saturday with the women’s 15K and the men’s 20K classical races.
Utah Invitational Team Scores (6 events)-1. Colorado, 680; 2. Utah, 670; 3. New Mexico 601.5; 4. Denver 557; 5. Alaska Anchorage 485.5; 6. Montana State 478; 7. Westminster College 478.
Women’s Freestyle (33 finishers)-1. Maria Graefnings, UU, 14:10.4; 2. Eliska Hajkova, CU, 14:21.4; 3. Zoe Roy, UU, 14:31.7; 4. Alexa Turzian, CU, 14:39.0; 5. Ase Carlson, MSU, 15:01.6; 6. Stephanie Hiemer, UAA, 15:03.2; 7. Marta Larsen, UU, 15:15.1; 8. Rose Kemp, UU, 15:20.9; 9. Casey Kutz, MSU, 15:23.5; 10. Kate Dolan, DU, 15:23.5. Other CU Finishers: 24. Mary Rose, 16:05.4. Did Not Start: Katie Stege.
Men’s Classical (28 finishers)-1. Miles Havlick, UU, 26:21.0; 2. Vegard Kjoelhamar, CU, 26:26.6; 3. Michael Schallinger, MSU, 26:31.0; 4. Reid Pletcher, CU, 26:33.3; 5. Kristian Soerlund, DU, 26:52.5; 6. Patrick Neel, CU, 26:57.8; 7. Christian Otto, UNM, 27:00.8; 8. Martin Kaas, UNM, 27:13.6; 9. Jesper Ostensen, CU, 27:16.5; 10. Tyler Reinking, MSU, 27:27.7. Other CU Finishers: 12. Ian Mallams, 27:29.2; 26. Spencer Lacy, 29:20.4. Did Not Start: Andreas Hoye.
Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Esteban L. Hernandez at Esteban.firstname.lastname@example.org