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Go Utes!
Utes Sweep Slalom as Skiing Wins RMISA Championship

Noe Bellet tied for sixth to lead the men's nordic team in the skate races.

Noe Bellet tied for sixth to lead the men's nordic team in the skate races.

Feb. 22, 2014

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BEAVER CREEK and MINTURN, Colo. - Utah skiers Kristiina Rove and Mark Engel swept the women's and men's slalom events as the Utes won the RMISA Championships and NCAA West Regional by four points over defending NCAA champion Colorado on Saturday afternoon.

Utah scored 640 points, winning over Colorado's 636 points. The Utah women scored 327 points with the alpine team scoring 366 points for the Utes. New Mexico finished third (617.5 points) followed by Denver (578.5) and Montana State (445).

"It was very exciting and we really had some gutsy performances all weekend, especially today," Utah Director of Skiing Kevin Sweeney said. "I'm really excited how everyone stepped up at regionals. We are at a new level right now and I think it's primarily because of how well each individual team member is pushing their teammates, but at the same time supporting them. Just like every weekend, we made a few mistakes, and I believe there is still more upside in this team but this weekend was a real confidence booster for all of us. We have some tough decisions to make about who will represent our team at NCAA's, but that is a good position to be in as a team.

"I think the team captains did a great job this weekend providing leadership (Sloan Storey, Noé Bellet, Eian Sandvik and Jaime Dupratt) and the staff did an excellent job managing equipment. Our trainer Chris Toone did an excellent job managing some of the injuries we have. I definitely came away from this weekend thinking that we were all on the same page."

It was the second-closest RMISA Championships margin, tied with the 1999 championships, where Colorado defeated Denver by four points. In 1985, Utah beat Wyoming by just 1.5 points for the RMISA title.

Rove followed up yesterday's second-place finish in the giant slalom with her second slalom win of the season. She has finished on the podium six times this year. Ana Kobal finished sixth with Chloe Fausa tying for seventh place. Jaime Dupratt crossed the line 13th with Teagan Palmer in 17th. Lauren Samuels was 22nd.

Engel picked up his first career victory and his third-straight podium finish. Joergen Brath had his third career top 10 with a sixth-place finish. Andy Trow finished 18th and Eian Sandvik did not finish.

"Congratulations to the whole team for outstanding consistent performances this weekend," said head alpine coach Jaka Korencan. "The coaching staff could not be more proud of this group of athletes. We have been slowly gaining momentum through the season and their hard work is paying off. Congrats to Kristiina and Mark on their impressive double wins today, and on all four podiums yesterday by Chloe, Kristiina, Andy and Mark. Motivation and confidence is high, and we cannot wait for the NCAA Championships to start."

The nordic team was led by a fourth-place finish from Sloan Storey in the 15-km skate race, her second-straight top-four finish, following up yesterday's classical second-place finish. Anna-Lena Heynen came in 14th followed by Anna Svendsen in 17th, Josefin Nilsson in 20th and Madeleine Thorn in 21st.

Noé Bellet and Niklas Persson both finished in the top 10 in the men's 20-km freestyle race, with Bellet tying for sixth place and Persson coming in eighth. Bellet has eight top-10 finishes this year while Persson has finished in the top 10 in all 10 races. Kevin Bolger finished 13th followed by Tucker McCrerey in 17th and Oscar Ivars in 24th.

"What a great way to wrap up the regular season!" Utah head nordic coach Abi Holt said. "Sloan, Noe and Niklas again led the team with top ten finishes. Anna-Lena, Anna, and Kevin also showed that they are continuing to shape up as we head into the championships. Right now, I am optimistic that the best is yet to come from this group."

The Utes host the NCAA Skiing Championships, March 5-8 at Park City Mountain Resort and Soldier Hollow resort. Skiers must be selected by Tuesday, Feb. 25. Teams can choose up to 12 skiers who qualify. For more, visit http://utahutes.cstv.com/ncaa/.



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