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Utah Ski Team Finishes Second at RMISA Championships

Trailing Colorado entering the final day, the Utes fought hard and finished with a total of 589.5 points, just behind CU’s winning score of 671 points.
The+Utah+ski+team+poses+for+a+photo+on+the+podium+at+the+Westminster+Invitational+at+the+Soldier+Hollow+Nordic+Center+in+Midway%2C+Utah+on+Jan.+7%2C+2024.+%28Photo+by+Xiangyao+%E2%80%9CAxe%E2%80%9D+Tang+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Xiangyao Tang
The Utah ski team poses for a photo on the podium at the Westminster Invitational at the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center in Midway, Utah on Jan. 7, 2024. (Photo by Xiangyao “Axe” Tang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

The Utah Ski Team competed in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association Invitational this weekend. The tournament was held at the Big Sky Resort in Montana, known for its scenic views and proximity to Yellowstone National Park. The tournament not only served as the final conference competition of the season, but as the NCAA Western Regional as well.

Day One 

Also known as Giant Slalom race day, the Utes saw many top performers including race winner Mikkel Solbakken, who notched his third win of the season. Solbakken clocked in at 1:52.94 to earn his fifth podium finish of the season. Also making the podium Friday was freshman Sindre Myklebust, who came in third at 1:53.14 to mark his first podium finish in college racing. 

For the women, Kaja Norbye led the race, starting strong with a top-five run and finishing seventh overall in a time of 1:55.14 to make her 11 for 11 in top-10 finishes on the season. Claire Timmermann finished 13th with a time of 1:55.93. Making her debut at the conference championships, Kaila Lafreniere secured 24th place 1:57.74, contributing valuable points to the Utah team who ended the day in third place.

Day Two

The nordic races saw five Utah skiers, including Joe Davies, race for the first time this year, as they were returning from non-collegiate competition. Davies dominated, securing his second win of the year with a time of 18:40.3, just barely ahead of Colorado’s Magnus Boee. Tom Mancini also continued his impressive streak, finishing third for his third consecutive podium finish and fourth of the season (18:58.3). Brian Bushey (19:11.7) and Walker Hall (19:28.8) rounded out the strong performance for Utah, placing within the top 10 and contributing to the team’s lead in the men’s competition with a total of 103 points.

Utah’s Nina Schamberger led the women’s team, finishing in 14th place with a time of 22:25.3. Karianne Dengerud followed closely behind in 15th place, just one second slower (22:26.3). Witta Walcher also contributed to the team score, placing 22nd with a time of 23:10.1 seconds.

On the alpine side, Norbye dominated the women’s slalom, leading after the first run and clocking a combined time of 1:41.68 seconds to take the win.

Wilhelm Normannseth started the men’s slalom strong, sitting in 10th place after the first run. He then put together a phenomenal second run, finishing in third place with a final time of 1:36.20.

Utah boasted several other impressive performances in the men’s race. Raphael Lessard (1:36.79) and Myklebust (1:36.82) both secured top-10 finishes, marking Myklebust’s third in a row and Lessard’s third of the season. Solbakken narrowly missed the top-10, finishing 13th with a time of 1:37.01.

On the women’s side, Michelle Kervén tied for 10th place with a time of 1:42.88, while Timmermann (1:43.44) finished in 15th. Melanie Dahlberg also contributed with an 18th-place finish. Timmermann’s second run was second-fastest in the entire field and Dahlberg’s was within the top five. The Utah ski team displayed a strong overall performance, securing wins and top finishes across both the men’s and women’s slalom events.

Day Three

The final day was the classic 20k race. Davies continued his strong performance, securing another podium finish by placing second. The Utah Ski Team put up a valiant effort against the Colorado Buffaloes but ultimately came in second place. Trailing Colorado entering the final day, the Utes fought hard and finished with a total of 589.5 points, just behind CU’s winning score of 671 points.

The curtain has closed on the RMISA Championships, but the Utah Ski Team isn’t taking a break. Their sights are now set on the 2024 NCAA Championships taking place in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, from March 6-9. This week, the Utes will announce their qualifiers for the competition, as they chase their fifth consecutive national title and a record-breaking 17th championship.

 

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@max_valva

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About the Contributors
Max Valva, Sports Writer
Max Valva is a sports writer for the Daily Utah Chronicle and is a studying journalism. Growing up playing basketball he made it his goal to pursue a career connected to the game. He is a diehard A’s, Warriors and Raiders fan.
Xiangyao Tang, Photo Director
Axe is a photographer and the photo director of the Daily Utah Chronicle. He is from China and is a senior majoring in computer science and minoring in digital photography. Axe joined the Chronicle in August of 2021. In addition to his position at the Chrony, he is also a photo intern for University of Utah Athletics. When he's not writing code, you will find him rock climbing, camping, skiing or hiking with his camera.

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