MINTURN, Colo.—The Colorado Ski Team along with the other schools in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association will converge on the Vail area this weekend to put the wraps on the 2020 Denver Invitational here at Maloit Park.
The alpine portion of the DU meet opened the season two weeks ago and entering the Nordic action, Utah holds a lead in a tight race that has the top five teams within 43 points of each other. The Utes have 317 points through four races while host Denver is second with 306, followed by Westminster (288), the Buffs (278) and Montana State (274), four of which are within striking distance (Westminster doesn't have a Nordic team).
The alpine team had a successful open to the season in Aspen in the first half of the DU meet, as Mikaela Tommy and Stef Fleckenstein won the women's alpine races, Tommy taking the GS gold and Fleckenstein the slalom.
Action will get underway Saturday with classic races starting at 10 a.m. MT with the men's 10K race followed by the women's 5K classic race at 11 a.m. It will be an interval start race with 15 seconds between skiers. Sunday's races will be in a pursuit start format with the men's 10K freestyle race starting at 9 a.m. and the women's 7.5K freestyle race at 10 a.m.
The pursuit start will mean that athletes with better times in Saturday's race will get a head start in Sunday's.
Another race win for frosh Magnus Boee, and I believe the highest scoring race of the season for the Buff women! Overall, Utah finishes 1st ahead of the Buffs, both with pretty significant point advantages over their nearest competitors.
MINTURN, Colo.—Freshman Magnus Boee won his second straight college race and Anne Siri Lervik was second in the women's race as the Colorado Ski Team finished second here at Maloit Park to close out the Denver Invitational.
The Buffs scored 93 points in the women's race and 87 in the men's to finish with 628 points, behind Utah's total of 708, but well ahead of third place and host Denver's total of 520. The Buffs finished second in both races behind the Utes, but the scores were tighter than Saturday, 105-93 in the women's race and 89-87 in the men's race.
Boee picked up his first freestyle win in the pursuit race thanks to the lead he opened up for himself in Saturday's classic race. Leading by over a minute, Boee needed most of that cushion to get the victory, having the ninth-best freestyle time to win the pursuit race by 15.2 seconds. Sondre Bollum was the story of the day, cruising to the fourth-fastest freestyle time in the field to move up from 13th to finish seventh. Ryan Jackson fell two spots but still maintained a 10th place finish to give the Buffs three team scorers in the top 10.
"I didn't have my best day, but I had my gap from yesterday and I'm glad I did, I ended up getting the win," Boee said "Today because I had a big gap, I didn't start off really hard, I tried to find a steady pace. I didn't feel like I was going super hard. I'm just happy I managed to keep it going somehow. I have to step up next time, but happy I got the win and it was a nice day."
The Buffs and Utes slugged it out in the women's race. The Utes finished first, second and third in the freestyle timing and the Buffs then finished fourth, fifth and sixth. The two teams held the top six spots in the final pursuit standings, as well, as Lervik held on to finish second, less than four seconds ahead of Utah's second and third finishers. Hedda Baangman held on to her starting position of fifth for her third straight fifth-place finish while Ezra Smith moved up three spots to finish sixth.
"I started about 40 seconds back," Smith said. "Fortunately I was able to catch the lead group and stay in the lead pack. It got a little messy the third lap and I fell back a little, but it feels good to lead this group for a bit."
UP NEXT: The Nordic teams remain on tap for a while as the alpine teams are in the midst of a six-week break in the college schedule. Feb. 8-9 will serve as an RMISA Nordic Qualifier at the Owl Creek Chase in Aspen. The Utah Invitational will then close out the regular season with Nordic races Feb. 14-15 and alpine races Feb. 22-24. The RMISA Championships will follow immediately on Feb. 27-29 in Bozeman, Mont., which is also the site for the NCAA Championships March 11-14.
Article and highlights after yesterday's qualifying races-
ASPEN, Colo.—Freshman Magnus Boee earned his third win of the season as the Colorado Ski Team racked up 10 top 20 finishes here Sunday at the Owl Creek Chase, doubling as an RMISA Nordic Qualifier.
There was no team scoring for the race, a popular point-to-point race that starts in Snowmass and finishes in Aspen, now in its 50th season. The race counts for individual qualifying and honors purposes.
Boee won his third race of the season, all coming in the last four races. He hasn't finished lower than second in his last five races and his only other finish of the season was fifth place in the opening race of the season at the CU Invitational. Another impressive win, he took Gold by 48.1 seconds, not quite the 71-second margin of his classic win at the DU Invitational, but impressive nonetheless.
In the women's race, the Buffs were led by Hedda Baangman and her seventh-place finish. It was her first time leading the Buffs, as she was second in the first five races of the season, behind Anne Siri Lervik the first four races of the season and Anna-Maria Dietze on Saturday. Lervik did not start the race for the second straight day.
Ezra Smith earned her fourth top 10 finish of the season while Dietze finished in 12th place. Bridget Donovan (18th) and Quinn Lehmkuhl (19th) gave the Buffs five top 20 finishes, similar to the men's race. All 10 skiers that started the race for the Buffs finished in the top 20.
The Nordic teams will remain on tap and will compete in the Utah Invitational in less than a week, set to commence Feb. 14-15 at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah. Alpine teams will close out the regular season at the Utah Invitational at Park City Feb. 22-24 before teams head to Montana for both the RMISA and NCAA Championships.
WHAT IT MEANS: As a qualifier race with no team scores, the pressure is off a little bit to post top results, but good results in a qualifier are nonetheless important. Boee continues his stellar rookie campaign, picking him his third college win. Baangman had another top 10 finish and has been consistent all season and Smith got into the top 10 again, all good signs. If Lervik and Jackson can come back healthy for the Utah Invitational, the Buffs will be in a position to end the regular season on a strong note and get into postseason action.
Best wishes to the Nordic Buffs today and tomorrow!
(Per the Ute preview article, both today's and tomorrow's action is scheduled to start at 9:00 AM.)
MIDWAY, Utah—The Colorado Ski Team will head west to Utah to take part in the 2020 Utah Invitational, with Nordic teams from the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association opening the event Friday here at Soldier Hollow.
Friday's races will consist of the 5K women's and 10K men's freestyle races with an interval start. Saturday's classic races will both be 10K in length.
The Buffs are led by freshman Magnus Boee, who has won three of the last four races and has five straight podium appearances and six straight top-five finishes to open his career. On the women's side, senior Anne Siri Lervik has three podiums and four top 5 finishes in as many races this season. She missed last week's RMISA Nordic Qualifier.
The alpine teams will return to the college ski season for the first time in six weeks next weekend when they conclude the Utah Invitational, which is the final regular-season meet for the 2020 season.
A week following the alpine portion of the Utah meet, the teams will convene in Bozeman, Mont., for the RMISA Championships, which double as the NCAA West Regional. Montana State will host that meet and also host the NCAA Championships two weeks later.
Better day for the Buffs compared to yesterday, especially the men, but still not close to past performances. (The article after yesterday's races mentioned ski wax issues; don't know if that was a problem again today or not.?. Of course, with all the bugs going around, assume illness for some of the team could also be in play, which I'd assume could be killer, especially in an aerobic sport like XC skiing.)
Lots of work for the Alpine side next weekend to try and move up the overall standings of the Utah Invitational, which would hopefully also help build momentum heading into the Conference Championships/ NCAA Regionals only ~2 weeks away. Hope they're ready to shush fast!