Rose Kemp took fifth in the Friday's 5-km Classical race on Friday at the New Mexico Invitational, which was her third top-five effort this season.
Feb. 1, 2013
RED RIVER, N.M. - Senior Miles Havlick earned his eighth career win, and his second already this season, to help the University of Utah ski team to first place after Friday's 5-km Classical race during the first day of the New Mexico Invitational at the Red River Resort.
Utah leads the way in the team standings with 228 points, which is 11 ahead of runner-up Colorado. The Utes were in first place with 135 points in the men's 5-km Classical, while Utah totaled 93 points in the women's 5-km Classical event.
"Overall, I am extremely pleased with how the team performed today," Utah Director of Skiing Kevin Sweeney said. "The men's team is clearly having a great run this season, posting outstanding results with four in the top seven. We missed the kick wax a bit for the women so they were not able to race to their full potential. They started first and the conditions changed more quickly than we anticipated. We just did not have 100% competitive skis today, otherwise they executed very well. That being said, the women's team did an outstanding job relying more on strength and technique to post excellent results. We were able to adjust the wax for the men's race and they capitalized on it. It was a good opening day of the UNM Invite for us and UNM put on a good race. Spirits are up and we are resting for the 10-km tomorrow."
The Utes took three of the top four spots in the men's 5-km Classical competition and also had all four of its athletes among the top seven of the race.
Havlick has won two races early this season and has eight career victories and the Boulder, Colo., native has placed third or better three times in 2013 and 22 times over his career.
"Going into today's race, we all knew it would be tough adapting to the high elevation of Red River at 9,800 feet of elevation," Havlick said. "For me, I grew up training at this altitude so it felt like my home resort of Eldora today. It is pretty humbling how fast every good feeling in your body can be sapped away in just five kilometers, but our entire team should be very proud of today's exceptional performance. We are all focusing on recovering from today's effort for another good day tomorrow. Hopefully, we can lay down some strong points and set a high standard for our Alpine team next weekend."
First-year Utah skier Einar Ulsund turned in his fourth straight podium finish to start this season and has been among the top four in all five of his races as a Ute.
Freshman Noe Bellet came up with his best finish to this point this season with a fourth-place effort, his highest finish of his career. Bellet has been among the top 10 in all five of his competitions in 2013.
Niklas Persson turned in his second straight top-10 effort with a seventh-place finish, which was also his third top-10 performance of the year.
"This was another solid effort for the Utes today," Utah Head Nordic coach Abi Holt said. "Somehow the men just keep managing to improve every week. Today, all four of our starters in the men's race finished in the top seven, which it pretty incredible. These guys are really feeding off one another, and it is fun to watch them all jockey for position in these races. This week, Miles led the Ute pack and found his way back to the top of the podium. He skied strong for the entire race, and I think he really benefited from last week's rest. He looked to be back on form. On the women's side, Rose continues to be a dominant force in the RMISA. Her fifth place finish today reaffirms Rose's consistent presence among the top women in this field this year. Maybe our biggest surprise of the day was Sloan. She just returned from the World Junior Championships in Europe on Monday, so I was just hoping for her to get in a start. Seeing Sloan place in the top ten was a real bonus today."
The women's Nordic posted two top-10 performances in the 5-km Classical race, led by Rose Kemp, who posted her third top-five effort of the year and the seventh of her career. The Boise, Idaho native has had 13 top-10 finishes over her career.
"We had another successful day as a team today," Kemp said. "Everyone is working hard to survive at this high of an altitude and our hard work showed in our results. Our men's team performed outstandingly once again and the women were not far behind, though we ran into some trouble with waxing due to rapidly changing snow conditions. But, overall the women raced as well as we could and though we were not totally satisfied with our results, we were satisfied with our effort and our teammates' accomplishments. We are excited for tomorrow's skate race."
Freshman Sloan Storey posted her second consecutive top-10 effort with a ninth-place finish. The Hailey, Idaho native has placed 12th or better in all three of her races this season.
The 10/10-km Freestyle events of the New Mexico Invitational will be held tomorrow at Red River, N.M., while the Alpine portion will consist of slalom races at the Red River Ski Area on Saturday, Feb. 9 and Sunday, Feb. 10.