Thorson paces Ute skiers to second-place showing

By By Tom Quinn

By Tom Quinn

As local temperatures approached record lows, Utah freshman Tague Thorson was red hot, winning two events and leading the Utah Ski Team to a second-place overall finish in last weekend’s Utah invitational.

Thorson, a blue chip recruit from Mahtomedi, Minn., won both the giant slalom on Saturday and Sunday’s slalom, making him the top performer in a weekend full of good showings by Utah’s ski team.

“He was pumping his fists and had a huge grin on his face as he crossed the line,” said head ski coach Eli Brown of Thorson. “He was definitely excited.”

Sophomore Kyle Kung had a similarly impressive weekend. The Girdwood, Alaska, native was the only other Utah man to crack the top 25 in both the giant slalom and slalom events, finishing 22nd and 12th, respectively.

“We didn’t have too many expectations coming in,” Brown said. “We emphasized individual effort, and I think it really worked out well for us.”

Although the women’s alpine team failed to win either slalom event, Mikaela Grassl and Chirine Njeim performed admirably, finishing in the top 20 on both Saturday and Sunday.

In Nordic competition, which was temporarily postponed due to record low temperatures at Soldier Hollow, the Utes fared every bit as well as they did on the slopes.

Led by Snorri Einarrson, who finished second in both the men’s 10K on Saturday and Sunday’s 15K, the men’s Nordic team matched the alpine contingent point for point. The women’s Nordic team was equally impressive, as Sara Schweiger finished second in Saturday’s 5K and seventh in Sunday’s 10K.

The Utes could have pushed Colorado University for the overall title had they not been without Sarah MacCarthy and Fabian Figi. MacCarthy, a freshman, was held out of Sunday’s competition due to exhaustion, while Figi, a sophomore, suffered a nasty fall early in Sunday’s 15K.

“I think we had some pretty good results,” Brown said of the team’s overall performance. “Getting Fabian and Sarah (MacCarthy) back will be big for us next week.”