Denver wins second straight Invitational as New Mexico rallies to runner-up
WINTER PARK, Colo. – The University of Denver won its second straight meet, claiming victory in the University of Colorado Spencer James Nelson Memorial Invitational with giant slalom races ending the meet action Sunday (Feb. 2).
“It was good to see the team come out and fight through difficult conditions today,” said Denver’s head alpine coach Andy LeRoy. “This area saw a few feet of snow over the past week or two and it provided some rough, bumpy track that our team managed well. Since this is a familiar hill to us, this past week has been less about training and preparation and more about school and healing everyone’s body. Despite our limited on-hill preparation, it’s still nice to come out and win. … I am pleased where we are at as a team and confident we can ski much better.”
The Pioneers finished with 648 points, 57 points ahead of second place New Mexico as the Lobos had their best finish since winning their own Invitational in 2011. Utah was third with 579 points, while the host Buffaloes finished fourth with 555.
New Mexico’s Eva Severrus had a fifth straight podium finish, this time earning her first collegiate win as she beat out Sylvia Nordskar of Denver, in the 15k freestyle race. That win helped the Lobos maintain second place overall, a position maintained by the alpine squad.
“Overall it was a very good race by our women’s team. We had two skiers on the lead lap today and got a first and fourth-place finish, so I’m proud of them,” said New Mexico head coach Fredrik Landstedt.
Men’s alpine action got underway at Winter Park and Westminster’s Tim Lindgren won the race by 1.2 seconds over Denver’s Sebastian Brigovic who will compete for Croatia in the upcoming Olympic Winter Games. The Griffins’ David Herzog took third to round out the podium while New Mexico’s Sean Horner was fourth, tallying precious points for his team.
Denver’s Kristine Haugen won by an even greater margin than Lindgren in the women’s race, winning both the first and second runs en route to a time of 2:07.25, almost two seconds ahead of Westminster’s Tonje Sekse, while the Griffins’ Marie Aufrere gave them four podium finishers on the day. Utah’s Kristiina Rove in fourth and New Mexico’s Mateja Robnik in fifth rounded out the top five.
In the closest race in terms of team points this season, Denver and Utah both tied for the race victory with 74 points, one ahead of New Mexico’s total of 73 and three more than fourth place Westminster (71).
The CU Invitational is over but the RMISA teams remain in Winter Park for Monday’s Giant Slalom Qualifier. After a few days off, the regular season will come to an end later in the week at the Jade Enterprises New Mexico Invitational Feb. 7-8 in Red River, N.M.
Release courtesy of RMISA
Team scores at the conclusion of the CU Spencer J. Nelson Memorial Invitational:
1 DENVER 648
2 NEW MEXICO 591
3 UTAH 579
4 COLORADO 555
5 MONTANA STATE 415
6 ALASKA ANCHORAGE 398
7 WESTMINSTER 248
8 WYOMING 76
9 COLORADO MOUNTAIN 39