Senior Miles Havlick finished second in the 20-km freestyle race on Saturday at the CU/Spencer Nelson Invitational.
Jan. 12, 2013
Senior Miles Havlick earned runner-up honors in the men's 20-km freestyle at the CU Invitational and junior Jeremy Elliot registered a third-place effort in the giant slalom at the DU Invitational to highlight a busy and successful day for the University of Utah ski program.
The Nordic portion of the CU/Spencer Nelson Memorial Invitational started with freestyle races on Saturday in Steamboat Springs, Colo. The Utes improved to fifth place in the meet standings after accumulating 204 points today.
"Overall, we put up some excellent qualifying results for our season opener today in Steamboat," Utah Director of Skiing Kevin Sweeney said. "It feels good to get the first RMISA race under our belts, especially for the new athletes on the team. Conditions were very difficult with the cold weather and the length of courses, but we executed our race strategy well. There are many positives found in the results today, as well as room for us to move up in the ranks."
Four Utes claimed positions in the top 10 of the men's 20-km race as Utah piled up a meet-high 121 point in the event. Havlick took runner-up honors for the 20th podium finish of his career.
"It feels great to be back into the swing of race season," Havlick said. "The team had a good start to the season today, considering the cold temperatures and slow snow. Everyone fought hard and that's all we can do. We are all psyched to show what we can do tomorrow in the classic event."
A trio of newcomers made impressive Utah debuts, led by senior Einar Ulsund, who registered a fourth-place effort. Freshman Tucker McCrerey rounded out Utah's scoring effort with an eighth-place finish and Noe Bellet completed the Utes' presence in the top 10 by finishing 10th. Freshman Niklas Persson placed 19th in his collegiate debut.
In the women's 15-km Freestyle race, senior Rose Kemp paced the Utes with a 10th-place effort for her ninth career top-10 finish. Freshman Sloan Storey followed in 12th place in her first race as a Ute, while Marta Larsen rounded out Utah's scoring effort with an 18th -place finish. Parker Tyler finished 25th in the first race of her senior season.
"Our opening RMISA race went pretty well," Utah Head Nordic coach Abi Holt said. "Steamboat has a tough course. It was a long race and the cold day made for some really slow snow so it was a challenging race for everyone. I was happy to see most of our team place in the top 15 with a few in the top 10. This is a solid start. It shows that we should be contenders this season, but still gives us some goals to work toward. The athletes raced well and we are all happy to launch the racing season."
The University of Denver Invitational began with giant slalom races on Saturday in Winter Park, Colo., as the Utes stand in second place with 193 points after the first day of competition.
"Cold temperatures and rough snow conditions made it extremely challenging today," Utah Head Alpine coach Jaka Korencan said. "We are proud of our team performance today. It was a great effort by our women's team. Congratulations to Jaime [DuPratt] for a fearless performance and the second podium of the season. Ana [Kobal] and Kristiina [Rove] finished strong as well and proved they can be in the mix despite little mistakes.
"I am extremely excited for Jeremy's podium finish," Korencan said. "Day after day, he has been proving that he is the best giant slalom skier on the circuit and there's no doubt about it. We are a strong GS team. Our men just need that one day where things click and from there, it will be much easier."
Utah totaled 94 points in the men's race, led by Elliot, who turned in his second podium finish of the season with a third-place effort. The Park City, Utah native has now finished among the top three five times in his career as a Ute.
"I won the first run of giant slalom at the CU Invite and again yesterday, but crashed on the second run both days," Elliot said. "I knew the speed was there so I backed off a bit today to ensure a finish. I landed a podium spot and scored some valuable points for the team."
Junior Jaime Dupratt was Utah's highest finisher in the women's race with a fourth-place effort, which was the second time she has been among the top five this season and the fifth time of her Ute career.
Sophomore Ana Kobal was the next Ute in 10th place for her third top-10 effort of the year. Kobal's classmate, Kristiina Rove, was the last Utah scorer as she finished 14th. The Espoo, Finland native has finished 14th or better in each her last four races.
The CU/Spencer Nelson Memorial Invitational concludes with the 5/10-km Classical races tomorrow in Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Utah's Alpine skiers continue the Denver Invitational with slalom races tomorrow in Winter Park, Colo.
"We are all excited about tomorrow's slalom races," Korencan said. "We are just hoping for some great snow conditions to give us a chance to perform well despite higher starting positions."