FILE UNDER -- Nordic

NCAA: CU's Richmond, Grevsgaard win in Montana

BOZEMAN, Mont. — Freestyle Nordic wins by juniors Maria Grevsgaard and Kit Richmond on Friday helped pave the way for the defending national champion University of Colorado ski team to extend its lead in the Montana State Invitational.
BOZEMAN, Mont. — Freestyle Nordic wins by juniors Maria Grevsgaard and Kit Richmond on Friday helped pave the way for the defending national champion University of Colorado ski team to extend its lead in the Montana State Invitational.
    The first portion of the meet began two weeks ago, though weather allowed for only the slalom to be run. Thus, through two of four events, Colorado leads the meet with 306.5 points, with Denver second at the midway mark with 259. Utah holds third, well back with 223.5 points, with four teams within 28 points of the Utes in a tight race for third at this point.
    The Buffaloes are shooting for their sixth straight win, which would tie the school record set in 1995, when CU won all six ski races that season. The western record is 11, set by Utah over the 1988-89 seasons.
    In the women’s 5-kilometer freestyle, Grevsgaard won in convincing fashion, posting a time of 14 minutes, 16.52 seconds to defeat runner-up Annelise Bailly of Denver by more than 24 seconds. It was Grevsgaard’s second win of the young season, as she opened the year with a victory in the 5 km classical in Utah last weekend, and the third of her career.
    Mandy Bowden of Montana State finished third, Kasandra Rice of Alaska-Anchorage was fourth and Colorado’s Lenka Palanova was fifth.
    In the men’s 10 km version, Richmond, the defending NCAA freestyle individual champion, recorded a 25:40.45 time to defeat Utah’s Snorri Einarsson by 10 seconds. Denver’s John Stene and Rene Reisshauer finished third and fourth, respectively. Andy Liebner of Alaska-Anchorage rounded out the top five.
    “Seven in the top 11 with a couple of career-best finishes made it a very good day for us,” said Bruce Cranmer, CU’s Nordic coordinator.
    “Most important, we posted some good finishes for national qualifying, as anything in the top 12 or better is usually good enough. We almost have a full team qualified already, and a couple of kids need one more good result. That’s really sort of the first big thing … get people qualified and then winning about winning meets outright, and of course, we want to win. But hopefully we’ll have another good day [Saturday] and then we won’t feel pressure as much to qualify a full team. Then we can concentrate on improving seeds.”
    Friday’s sweep of the Nordic races gave Colorado skiers six wins in the 12 races so far this season in the West, Cranmer takes that with a grain of salt.
    “Doing well early isn’t always best recipe for doing good later,” he said. “You need to stay up and of course peak at the right time, and it’s really hard to be on top all season. Some can ski well all year, and come NCAA time, they fall off a little bit. I‘d rather see people improve gradually through the year, build confidence and then peak for the national meet.”
    The classical races will occur Saturday morning, with the final alpine event of the MSU invite, the giant slalom to be made up Feb. 4 in Eldora, Colorado, one day after the completion of Denver’s meet in Winter Park.

    Montana State Invitational Team Scores —1. Colorado 306.5; 2. Denver 259; 3. Utah 223.5; 4. Alaska-Anchorage 214.5; 5. Nevada 214;  6. Montana State 204.5;  7. New Mexico 196;  8. Western State 132;  9. Whitman 86; 10. Wyoming 14.
    Women’s 5 km Freestyle — 1. Maria Grevsgaard, Colorado, 14:16.52;  2. Annelise Bailly, Denver, 14:40.87;  3. Mandy Bowden, Montana State, 14:42.10;  4. Kasandra Rice, Alaska-Anchorage, 14:49.58;  5. Lenka Palanova, Colorado, 14:56.83;  6. Jamie Woelk, Montana State, 14:59.04; 7. Polina Ermoshina, New Mexico, 15:01.51;  8. Kristin Ronnestrand, Colorado, 15:01.55;  9. Claire Rennie, Montana State, 15:02.61; 10. Sara Schweiger, Utah, 15:08.93.
     Men’s 10 km Freestyle —1. Kit Richmond, Colorado, 25:40.45;  2. Snorri Einarsson, Utah, 25:50.41;  3. John Stene, Denver, 25:55.29;  4. Rene Reisshauer, Denver, 26:05.41;  5. Andy Liebner, Alaska-Anchorage, 26:28.60;  6. Raphael Wunderle, Alaska-Anchorage, 26:32.97;  7. Matt Gelso, Colorado, 26:38.44;  8. Fabian Figi, Utah, 26:48.38;  9. Darrin Markvardsen, Alaska-Anchorage, 26:52.99;  10. Karl Nygren, Colorado, 26:57.81.

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