Skiers place fourth

In the team’s second event of the season, the Ute skiers finished fourth out of six teams at the Montana State Invitational over the weekend.

The Denver Pioneers, ranked as the top group in the country by the Ski Racing Magazine coaches’ poll, came out on top once again after winning the Alaska-Anchorage Invite last week, at which Utah finished third.

Denver finished with a score of 568 at the Montana State invite, barely surviving the Colorado Buffaloes (565). Alaska-Anchorage finished third with 521, while the Utes were a distant fourth with 476.

Leading the way for Utah was junior Nicole Naef, who came out with a third-place showing in the 10-km freestyle to pace the women’s Nordic team. Freshman Sara Schweiger finished in 10th place as the Ute women placed four skiers in the top-15 in the event.

For the U men, junior Fabian Figi survived an early fall in the 15-km freestyle to come in 10th, while Jess Kiesel finished 13th.

The alpine races, which took place in part during a reportedly heavy snowstorm, were headlined by freshman Scott Veenis, who placed second, just a half-second behind leader Alex Mach of New Mexico. On the women’s downhill, Ute All-American Erika Hogan led the way with a 14th-place finish.