The 2011 NCAA National Champions stay undefeated in the RMISA with win at Denver University invite.
Despite podium performances from alpine skiers Shane McLean and Fletcher McDonald, the CU win was largely attributed to the women’s Nordic team led by Buffalina, Joanne Reid (pictured below), who won both Nordic events with teammate, Eliska Hajkova, finishing 2nd in the 10K classical and 3rd in the 5K freestyle. Rune Malo Oedegaard racked in points on the men’s side, with his win in the 15K classical, and an impressive 2nd place in the freestyle after crashing off course during the race. Mary Rose cracked into the top-5 as well, and the CU Nordic team was able to overcome a 71-point deficit after the alpine events to win by 19 over DU.
Denver University may have the strongest alpine team in the nation, traveling with eight men and eight women, six of whom are Ex-national team athletes including Kristine Haugen, Lindsay Cone, Trevor Philp, Luke Laidlaw, Max Marno, and the 2012 NCAA slalom champion Espen Lysdahl (pictured left). Collectively, they seem to be Denver’s strongest team since a three-year Championship winning streak in 2008, 2009, and 2010. They have won the alpine portion of both the CU and DU invites this year, and if their Nordic team steps it up, the Pioneers will surely be a strong contender to reclaim victory at the 2013 NCAA championships.
The University of Utah finished third, relying heavily on their Nordic team. They occupied four of the top ten positions in both of the men’s Nordic events, led by freshman Einar Ulsund, who scored a 2nd in the 15K classical, and 3rd in the 10K freestyle. While the undefeated RMISA champs from 2012 expected a win, struggles on the alpine side left the Utes with a bittersweet third. The Utah alpine team consists of only eight, in contrast to Denver’s 16; consequently, their probability of finishing three scoring men and women is lower. Jamie Dupratt, Ana Kobal, Andy Trow, and Jeremy Elliot have all found the podium in one or more of the RMISA events this year, but have struggled to do so on the same day. Their inconsistency resulted in a disappointing 4th alpine team. Utah yearns for their first NCAA victory since 2003, which is a very real possibility with some fine-tuning on the alpine side and continued success by the Nordic team.
While CU, DU, and Utah celebrated podiums, New Mexico, Alaska, and Montana State all proved to be podium threats with outstanding individual performances. Joonas Rasanen claimed the men’s slalom for New Mexico, Michael Radford (pictured right) from MSU won the GS, the UAA Seawolf, Lukas Ebner, won the men’s 10K freestyle, Anna Goodman from Westminster won the women’s slalom, and six out of the nine schools competing in RMISA landed athletes on the podium. It appears the RMISA is more competitive than ever this year, with point-margins much closer than in the EISA. Dartmouth finished 2nd to UVM in the last EISA carnival, 224 points back. The same margin would have landed them 7th at the DU invite, as MSU finished 6th, only 200 points behind CU.