Skiing: Utes place first at Seawolf, second in RMISA Championship

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Steve C. Wilson

(Photo / Steve C. Wilson / University of Utah)

The Utah ski team was kept busy all last week placing first at the Alaska Seawolf Invitational on Feb. 26 before finishing second in the RMISA Championship/NCAA West Regional on Feb. 28.

Kevin Sweeney, director of skiing, said the team’s performance in Alaska sets them up nicely for what they have coming up.

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“Since it is getting close to the NCAA championships, I’m really happy to see the team scoring well,” Sweeney said. “We did a really good job executing. We wanted to have a strong team performance so sometimes that means, especially on the alpine side, you can’t go for the win as strong so I think we executed that really well,”

Everyone on the team helped the Utes claim the top spot in the Alaska Seawolf as the Utes had multiple skiers place in the top 10 in both the women’s and men’s giant slalom. Kristina Rove and Chloe Fausa finished fourth and fifth on the women’s side and Andy Trow claimed fifth on the men’s side.

(Photo / Steve C. Wilson / University of Utah)
(Photo / Steve C. Wilson / University of Utah)

Rove said she felt awesome about her personal performance, but also said the team performance was what they have been expecting all year long.

“Now we’re starting to get into that right mindset, where we don’t risk too much and we all finish,” Rove said. “We just have such a good atmosphere right now. Everyone’s going for it.”

Earlier during the invitational Veronika Mayerhofer and Sloan Storey finished second and third in the women’s classical race, and the Utes had a total of four finish in the top 10 in the race. Niklas Persson finished third in the men’s classical race, with teammate Noé Bellet finishing in fifth.

All five of the skiers on the women’s side placed in the top 10 in the nordic freestyle races with Mayerhofer taking second. For the men, Persson claimed the third place spot once again.

Utah won the invitational with 629.5 points with Colorado coming in second with 567.5. However, with just one night between the two back-to-back invitationals, Utah and Colorado would switch places in the RMISA Championship/NCAA West Regional.

After the first day of the championship, Utah was holding the first place spot after a strong performance from the alpine team. Rove and Fausa finished on the podium in the women’s giant slalom for the Utes on day one and Andy Trow finished fourth in the men’s giant slalom with Joergen Brath finishing right behind him in fifth.

On day two, Mayerhofer finished on the podium, taking second in the women’s classical race. Josefin Nilsson was next for the Utes, finishing fifth. However Utah didn’t have a skier on the women’s side finish in the top ten for the women’s slalom. For the men, Endre Bjertness finished second in the slalom and Brath finished in 10th. Persson took fourth in the classical race, with Kevin Bolger finishing 10th.

Colorado ended up winning with 651 points with Utah coming in second with 609 points.

While Sweeney said picking one highlight is hard, one of the top highlights was the women’s nordic team.

“[They have] continued from the very beginning to excel and they did not falter at all at Alaska,” Sweeney said.

Utah will next hit the slopes again when it competes in the NCAA Championship in Lake Placid, New York. The Utes will take only 12 skiers, three of each gender per discipline, to compete with the rest of the country.

“I think we’re in really good shape for the championship,” Sweeney said. “We just need to rest up and recover from this two event trip to Alaska. We’re pretty tired. I think we’re in good shape.”

On Tuesday morning the team released its roster for the championship. For the alpine women it will be Rove, Fausa, and Ana Kobal. Trow, Brath, and Bjertness will be on the alpine men side. In nordic, the women are Mayerhofer, Storey, and Anna-Lena Heyen, while the men include Persson, Bellet, and Bolger.

“We’re going to get there early and get used to the snow, and [I will] try to get the slalom where I know it can be,” Rove said. “Obviously everyone of us who is going wants to get good individual results and we want to be on the podium, or at least top five, top ten. We really have to be precise.”

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