Noe Bellet finished seventh for the Utes in the 30-km free race.
Jan. 8, 2014
MIDWAY, Utah - The Utah ski team won the Pat Miller Invitational over Denver on Wednesday afternoon after four skiers finished in the top 10 of the nordic freestyle races.
Utah scored 657.5 points, winning over Denver (649 points). Rounding out the top five was New Mexico in third (566.5) followed by Alaska (477), Montana State (415), and defending NCAA Champion Colorado (372).
"I'm ecstatic for us to take the win in the Pat Miller Invitational," Utah Director of Skiing Kevin Sweeney said. "I'm very pleased with how well we scored in all disciplines. Probably most significant is that we garnered some excellent NCAA qualifying points.
"I think today's races were potentially going to be the hardest races of the season. I was happy with how hard everyone charged, especially since I don't think that as coaches we made the best ski and wax selection. It's such a long race that can really add up. It was awesome to have nearly everyone starting today for us. It's a good feeling knowing we have a strong squad looking forward."
Oscar Ivars finished fourth in the men's 30-km race in 1:21:51, his second career top-four finish of the meet (he was second in Saturday's 15-km classical race). Noé Bellet finished seventh with a time of 1:22.54 followed by Niklas Persson in ninth (1:24.04). Tucker McCrerey crossed the finish in 12th place (1:24:51) with Kevin Bolger coming in 20th (1:27.18).
The women were led by Anna-Lena Heynen's sixth-place finish in the women's 20-km free race with a time of 1:04:26. Anna Svendsen finished 14th (1:07:04) while Josefin Nilsson, making her Utah debut, crossed the line in 15th (1:08:43).
The women's team was without All-American Sloan Storey, who competed in the juniors race following the senior races for a chance to compete at the 2014 World Junior Championships.
"I feel good about our opening weekend," Utah head nordic coach Abi Holt said. "I think we are in a perfect spot - we are strong enough that the results are there, but we are not so strong that we feel like we can coast. It keeps us all motivated and hungry for more next weekend."
The Utes have a quick turnaround, competing at the Montana State Invitational on Jan. 11-12 at Big Sky Resort and Bohart Ranch. Also on the schedule is a giant slalom RMISA qualifier on Friday, Jan. 10.