Tii-Maria Romar earned her first win of the season in the GS race Saturday at Winter Park.
Jan. 14, 2012
Miles Havlick's second consecutive second-place finish, the University of Utah ski team clinched the Spencer Nelson Memorial Invitational title Saturday at the Howelsen Hill Ski Resort. Meanwhile during day one of the Denver Invitational, seniors Nick Cohee and Tii-Maria Romar got the Utes off to a quick start with giant slalom victories at Winter Park.
"I'm very pleased with the consistency that both the Alpine and Nordic teams have demonstrated," Director of Skiing Kevin Sweeney said. "We still have quite a bit to work on, but these early results qualifying for NCAA's is extremely motivating for us."
Utah finished first in the team standings with 896 points and finished 24 points ahead of runner-up Colorado (872). The team win was the first for the Utes since taking the Utah Invitational crown on Jan. 12, 2008. The Utes finished in second place in all seven events last season.
The Ute Nordic squad had three competitors finish in the top 10 of today's race. Utah totaled 105 points in the men's race, which earned third place, while 89 points by the Ute women gave them fifth.
"For our first mass start classic race, I think we did very well as a team overall," Sweeney said. "I was very happy with how well we skied in both the men's and women's races. Our results were probably not as solid as yesterday's event, but we still had some excellent individual performances. When you combine this with the weekend's results, this exceeded my expectations."
With his second-place effort in the 20k men's Freestyle race, Havlick has continued to be a very consistent performer for the Utes. Havlick posted a second-place finish in yesterday 15k Classical race before taking second in today's event. The Boulder, Colo., native has finished in the top two eight times in his career.
"It was a great day to race in Steamboat Springs," Havlick said. "There were sunny skies, hard tracks and a great course. I tried to push the pace from the start and it worked for the first five laps. Sometimes you have to gamble and go for it and that was what I did today. I ran out of steam on the last lap, but hung on for second so I am psyched. Overall, I am happy with the way I skied. The rest of the men's team skied well on a demanding course today. The women's team skied very strong today as well. They really showed the other teams our strength. I want to send a big thank you to the coaches for the support and great skis this weekend. We are very proud about our performance during this first racing weekend. We are all looking forward to the DU Invite next week."
Fresh off his second career victory, senior Didrik Smith turned in his second straight top-10 finish to start this season with a ninth-place effort. Smith has finished among the top 10 in 18 races over his career.
For the second straight time, senior Rose Kemp paced the Ute skiers in the women's 15k Freestyle. Kemp turned in a fifth-place effort for the second consecutive race, which tied for the highest finish of her career. Entering this weekend, Kemp's previous best finish was a sixth-place effort in the 5k Classical race at Soldier Hollow during the 2011 Utah Invitational.
"I think this was a perfect opening weekend for us," Utah Head Nordic Coach Abi Holt said. "We got a taste of success, which is a great way to open the season. We also saw that, as ever, the RMISA is a highly competitive ski division with a plethora of great skiers. This team is absolutely capable of rising to the challenge and we are all excited for this season."
The Alpine segment of the Utah ski team got the Utes off to a strong start in the Denver Invitational at Winter Park after turning in four top-five efforts. The Utes are in first place in the team standings with 240 points after the first day, 21 ahead of runner-up Colorado. Both Ute squads led the way as the women's team racked up 133 points and the men's team accumulated 107.
"First of all, congratulations from the Alpiners to our Nordic team for an impressive and motivational season opener yesterday and today," Utah Head Alpine Coach Jaka Korencan said. "It's great to see their hard work paying off like that at the beginning of the season. Congratulations to the whole team again for an amazing fight in both GS runs today. I'm really proud of the strong team and individual performances delivered today. Tii-Maria Romar and Nick Cohee skied extremely maturely and tactically smart in both runs and dominated the field.
Cohee earned his second straight giant slalom race and second so far this season. He has now won five career races, all five have come in the GS discipline. Cohee, a Gardnerville, Nev., native has finished on the podium in three out of four races this year.
"Winter Park is a race hill that has been very good to me over the years," Cohee said. "Right now, I am just trusting my abilities and sending it down the hill. It feels good."
Junior Ryan Wilson joined Cohee in the top 10 as he posted a seventh-place effort. He has been among the top 10 in all four races this year and 13 times over his career. Cohee turned in the fastest first-run time of the entire meet.
"Ryan also finished strong today on the men's side and helped us to a strong team finish," Korencan said.
Senior Torjus Krogdahl added a 21st-place finish.
In the women's race, senior Tii-Maria Romar earned her first win of 2012 and the third of her career. She has earned a spot on the podium seven times as a Ute. Romar got off to a fast start as she turned in the second-fastest first-run time and then posted the fastest time of the second run.
Sophomore Jaime Dupratt turned in the best performance of her brief Utah career. DuPratt, a Park City, Utah native, finished in third place to help the Utes. She had one career top-10 finish entering this season and now she has four.
"I could not be more impressed and excited about Jaime's performance," Korencan said. "Her hard work is finally paying off and she is definitely a highlight of the Utes' performances in the last two weeks."
Sophomore Julie Bordeau joined Romar and DuPratt in the top five as she took fourth place. She has finished fifth or better in each of the four races at the start of her career at Utah.
"It was a great job also by Julie," Korencan said. "Her consistency and flawless performances are impressive.
"We are all looking forward to the Slalom races tomorrow," Korencan said. "I believe we can finish strong again and fire up our Nordic team for their portion of the DU Invitational."
The Denver Invitational continues tomorrow with the men's and women's slalom races at Winter Park. The Nordic portion of the DU Invite starts with the Classical races next Friday at the Devil's Thumb Ranch in Granby, Colo.