Utah holds slim advantage
PARK CITY & MIDWAY, Utah – The host University of Utah Utes lead the RMISA Championships at the midpoint based on strong performances from their men’s squads Friday in freestyle and giant slalom action.
Utah and Colorado battled throughout the day and it ended with the Utes holding a 12.5 point advantage. Utah racked up 447 points to the Buffs 434.5. New Mexico is third with 387.5 points while Denver (372) and Alaska Anchorage (352) are both on its heels in fourth and fifth, respectively. Montana State scored 317 points while Westminster College rounded out the scoring with 187 points in alpine action.
In men’s Nordic action, the Utes’ Miles Havlick won his fourth race of the season, topping the field by 25.3 seconds in the 10K freestyle race here at Soldier Hollow. His time was one of two under 31 minutes, coming in at 30:29.3. The other such time was New Mexico’s Tor-Hakon Hellebostad, who earned his second runner-up performance and third podium appearance of the season in a time of 30:54.6. Colorado’s Reid Pletcher took third in a time of 31:19.2, his second podium appearance of the season. Utah’s Tom Smith (31:23.6) and Rolf Figi (31:34.3) round out the top five.
Utah racked up 130 points with that 1-4-5 performance while New Mexico took second as a team with 108 points and the Buffs also hit triple figures with 105 points.
Colorado dominated the women’s race, racking up 139 points with a 1-2-4 performance from its top-three skiers. CU’s Eliska Hajkova won her first race of the season in a time of 16:45.9, topping the field by 25.7 seconds. Her teammate Joanne Reid took second in a time of 17:11.6 to record her fourth podium appearance and first runner-up finish (she has one win). Utah’s Maria Graefnings took third in a time of 17:21.4. Hajkova and Graefnings both have hit the podium eight times in nine races this season. The Buffs Alexa Turzian (17:42.1) and Utah’s Zoe Roy (17:53.6) round out the top-five, meaning the Buffs and Utes had all five of the top finishers.
Utah took second as a team behind CU’s 139 points, with 109 of their own. Denver also hit triple figures with 101 points.
Utah’s Jeremy Elliot won the men’s giant slalom race in a time of 2:03.26 as the top-five skiers were all within a half-second of each other. Alaska Anchorage’s Halfdan Falkum-Hansen took home runner-up honors in a time of 2:03.32. Colorado’s Gabriel Rivas and New Mexico’s Armin Triendl tied for third in a time of 2:03.57 and Utah’s Nick Cohee rounded out the top-five in a time of 2:03.63.
Utah won the race with 120 points, followed by New Mexico (105.5) and Alaska Anchorage (100), who both hit triple figures as a team.
Denver’s Sterling Grant, despite having a start order of 25th, won the women’s race in a time of 1:27.82, almost a second-and-a-half over the next competitor, Westminster’s Sandy Tschofen, who’s time was 1:29.19. Alaska Anchorage’s Alex Parker took third in a time of 1:29.32 while Colorado’s Carolina Nordh was fourth in a time of 1:29.89 and Westminster’s Kendall Brown rounded out the top-five in a time of 1:30.29.
Westminster won its second race of the season, racking up 112 points while Denver (109) and Colorado (103) both hit triple digits, as well.
Action concludes and the RMISA Championship will be awarded Saturday with the Nordic classic races to go along with the men’s slalom and women’s giant slalom races.