Noe Bellet led the way for the men with a sixth-place finish.
Jan. 31, 2014
WINTER PARK, Colo. - Four Utah skiers finished in the top 10 of the nordic classical races on the first day of the Colorado Invitational. The Utes are third after day one with 152 points behind first-place Denver (176 points) and New Mexico (154).
"I'm very pleased with how we opened on first day of competition," Utah Director of Skiing Kevin Sweeney said. "We are not 100 percent healthy and not having Sloan (Storey) here, everyone had to step up and I think they did a great job doing that. Every team has some very strong skiers, so it's very competitive, which makes it exciting. The competition is very close."
The women led the way for the Utes with Anna Svendsen and Josefin Nilsson finishing fourth and fifth in the 5-km, respectively. It was Nilsson's highest career finish while Svendsen tied her previous season-high result. Anna-Lena Heynen crossed the line 13th as Utah's third scorer, while Madeleine Thorn, competing in her first career race, finished 18th.
For the men, Noé Bellet led the way in sixth in the 10-km race, while Niklas Persson crossed the line seventh. Both skiers have not finished outside of the top 10 this season. Kevin Bolger scored points for Utah in 11th, followed by Tucker McCrerey (20th) and Oscar Ivars (28th).
"I was a little nervous coming into the weekend because several athletes have been battling colds, and Sloan is still away competing at the World Junior Championships in Italy, but today went pretty well," head nordic coach Abi Holt said. "At this point in the season, we are aiming to land all three scoring athletes in the top ten. Today we saw Anna, Josefin, Noé, and Niklas all grab spots in the top ten, with Kevin and Anna-Lena just barely missing the mark. We are very close to where we aim to be. The skiing is great, and the course is fun. I am satisfied with the day and am looking forward to tomorrow's mass start freestyle race."
The Colorado Invitational continues on Saturday, Feb. 1, with the nordic freestyle races, while the alpine team also gets underway with the slalom.