Utah takes Denver Invitational
Utes win second meet in a row at Devil’s Thumb Ranch
TABERNASH, Colo. -- Utah continued its western dominance Saturday by winning the 2012 Denver Invitational at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, the Utes second win in as many meets this season.
Neither Utah team won its race as the meet concluded with the 10K women’s and 15K men’s freestyle races, both with a mass start, but the men still accumulated 124 points, enabling the team to reach the impressive 900-point plateau for the meet, a feat only accomplished eight times since the scoring system changed three years ago.
Colorado edged out Utah on the men’s side behind Rune Oedegaard’s win, his second consecutive as he swept the men’s Nordic races. He’s the first skier this season to sweep races in the RMISA, both alpine and Nordic, and the first men’s Nordic skier to sweep races since former Buff Matt Gelso accomplished the feat in the midst of a five-race win streak at the 2010 RMISA Championships.
Oedegaard’s winning time was 48:14.5 and he edged out a pair of Utah skiers by less than five seconds. Didrik Smith was second in 48:18.6 and Miles Havlick third in 48:19.2 Montana State’s Tyler Reinking took fourth in 48:27.8 while the Buffs Vegard Kjoelhamar rounded out the top five in a time of 48:48.0.
CU’s edged out Utah by two points, 126-124, on the strength of finishing 1-5-6 vs. the Utes’ 2-3-8.
In women’s action, Alaska Anchorage’s Jaime Bronga won her second race of the year, out sprinting Colorado’s Eliska Hajkova at the finish to win with a time of 36:59.5 to Hajkova’s 37:05.1. The Seawolves dominated the race, racking up 133 points on the strength of a 1-3-5 finish. Laura Rombach also hit the podium in a time of 37:23.6 while New Mexico’s Clara Chauvet edged out Steffi Hiemer for fourth place.
The Seawolves surged into third place past the host Pioneers on the strength of the women’s race. Utah’s 902 points won the meet by 57 as the Buffaloes remained in second with 845. The Seawolves finished with 770 points, just 18 points ahead of Denver’s total of 752. New Mexico also hit the 700-point plateau with 705.
Next up on the RMISA schedule is a trip to Alaska for a pair of meets. A total of eight races will take place between February 6-11 (Feb. 8-11 for alpine action). The first of each race will be calculated in the Alaska Anchorage Invitational while the second race of each discipline will be the Seawolf Invitational.
The last time the RMISA went to Alaska was in 2009 for a double meet when the Seawolves won one and the Buffaloes the other.