Kristiina Rove has four top-five finishes this season.
Jan. 27, 2014
SALT LAKE CITY - After two weekends off from competition, the Utah ski team returns to the hill this weekend for the Spencer James Nelson Memorial Invite, hosted by Colorado.
The invitational kicks off with the women's 5-km and men's 10-km classic races on Friday, Jan. 31. The alpine team competes in the slalom on Saturday, Feb. 1, along with the women's 15-km and men's 20-km freestyle races. The giant slalom races will be held on Sunday, Feb. 2.
Also being held in conjunction with the meet is a giant slalom RMISA qualifier on Monday, Feb. 3, which does not count towards team scoring but is used as an extra opportunity for skiers to earn qualification points for the NCAA Championships.
The Utes will be without All-American Sloan Storey, who is competing in the FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships from Feb. 27 through March 3.
"We've skied very well at both of these venues in the past," Utah Director of Skiing Kevin Sweeney said. "I think everyone is excited to race this weekend. We've had great training opportunities this past week. Weather and conditions have been great, and it really does not get much better in regards to training. Unfortunately we've had some injury and illness that has set us back a little, and we won't be at full strength, but I doubt we're the only ones. I think several of the squads will look a little different as we enter the second half of the season. We will be focused on NCAA qualifying this weekend."
Individually, several skiers have been strong. The men's nordic team has three skiers who have not finished outside of the top 10 this season - Noé Bellet, Oscar Ivars and Niklas Persson. Ivars has finished in the top six four times while Persson has a win in the 15-km classic at the Pat Miller Invitational. Chloe Fausa in women's alpine also hasn't finished outside of the top 10 and won the slalom at the Pat Miller Invitational, while Kristiina Rove has four top-five finishes. In men's alpine, Mark Engel has a pair of top-five finishes on the year while Andy Trow has two top-10 runs. Anna-Lena Heynen has three top-10 finishes in women's nordic.