Anna Svendsen finished fifth in the women's 5-km classical race.
Feb. 7, 2014
RED RIVER, N.M. - Six Utah skiers earned top-10 finishes on the first day of the New Mexico Invitational, led by a second-place finish from Niklas Persson in the men's 10-km classical race.
"Everyone was really charging today, however, we made a few mistakes and came up short in the point tally," Utah Director of Skiing Kevin Sweeney said. "We have not skied to our full potential yet as a squad, so we are all focused on that. Motivation is high and it looks like we are on the up-and-up health-wise, so those are big positives."
Persson earned his second podium finish of the season, which also includes a win in the Pat Miller Invitational. Oscar Ivars finished 11th, followed closely behind Tucker McCrerey in 12th and Kevin Bolger in 14th. Noe Bellet crossed the line 18th.
In the women's 5-km classic, Anna Svendsen recorded her third top-five finish of the year with a fifth-place finish. Josefin Nilsson finished sixth for her second top-10 of the year. Sloan Storey, returning from the Nordic Junior World Championships, finished 10th, followed by Anna-Lena Heynen in 14th and Madeleine Thorn in 20th.
In the alpine slalom races, Chloe Fausa (sixth), Kristiina Rove (seventh) and Ana Kobal (10th) all finished in the top 10. It was Rove's first finish this year outside of the top five and Kobal's fourth top-10 of the year. Jaime Dupratt finished 17th while Lauren Samuels did not finish her first run and Teagen Palmer was disqualified.
Utah stands fourth after the first day with 285 points, behind New Mexico (315), Colorado (294) and Denver (288).
"The discipline ties and close scoring show how competitive it is," Sweeney said. "We did see several steps forward in individual performances and we keep earning individual NCAA qualifying points. In the big picture, that is very important as we get closer to the NCAA Championships.
"We need to stay focused and look ahead to tomorrow's events. Overall, we are pretty fired up."
The Utes continue at the New Mexico Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 8, with the nordic freestyle races and alpine giant slalom races.