On Friday and Saturday the NCAA’s RMISA met for slalom and giant slalom racing at the University of Denver Invitational in Loveland, CO.
Day one of the Invitational saw GS racing take place on Friday. In the women’s race, Katharine Irwin lead the New Mexico Lobos with her win. Second place went to the Utah Utes and Ann-Kathrin Breuning and third was Tonje Trulsrud of the University of Colorado Boulder (CU).
In the team standings, Montana State University took the lead after the first day thanks to a strong team performance anchored by Addison Dvoracek, who won the men’s race. CU’s Ola Buer Johansen was second and Westminster College’s Adam Chrapek finished third.
Montana State head coach Kevin Francis was happy with his team’s performance and the competitive nature of the team that has helped push the upperclassmen to perform at their highest level.
“They did really well today,” Francis said. “I have to say the freshmen on our team are really good for the internal battle that pushes the whole team. No one can rest and feel safe about their skiing; I think from now on I will bring on at least one freshman every year.”
For the host University of Denver, the start of the home Invitational was not a good one. Just two women saw the finish and scored for the team and the men did not fare much better. At the end of day one, Denver sat in an uncharacteristic sixth place.
Even though the inconsistent wind could have been an explanation for Denver’s underperformance, head coach Andy LeRoy did not want to make excuses.
“I think my team was overconfident today,” admitted LeRoy. “They felt too comfortable on their home and training hill. Because of this they did not show the aggression needed in a race; we just did not execute racing.”
However, LeRoy added that recent travel and weather have cut down on the team’s valuable training time, something other coaches mentioned as well.
But Saturday’s was a new race and another opportunity for the host Pioneers to rebound from a disappointing first day. Although fresh snow had fallen on the racecourse, the track was in the same great condition as the day before thanks to the hard work of course crews that were able to clear all of the new fallen snow, exposing the previous day’s hard racing surface.
Denver’s Tobias Kogler used the opportunity to claim is first career win in a college race, taking the victory ahead of teammate Alex Leever in second and Montana State’s Morten Ungersness Bakke in third.
“It was just really cool today,” Kogler said. “Especially that I was able to add more time between me and the rest of the field in the second run.”
Kogler said that thinks he is getting into better shape with each race. The Pioneer has been recovering from a dislocated shoulder suffered during one of his first races before Christmas.
The strong team result of Denver was rounded up with Jett Seymour, who finished in seventh overall and sixth for NCAA finishers.
Redneck Racing’s Julia Ford won the women’s slalom, although her result does not count towards team scoring.
CU’s Trulsrud was the top NCAA finisher in front of Denver’s Tuva Norbye and Montana State’s Jocelyn McCarthy in second and third, respectively.
Montana State led the slalom standings in the women’s race with Benedicte Oseid Lyche and Stephanie Gartner finishing in fourth and eighth in addition to McCarthy’s third place.
The Invitational continues on Sunday with the second day of Nordic competition. After the alpine races, Montana State holds the lead in the alpine team standings with 304 points. Colorado sits second with 297 points and New Mexico sits third with 272 points.
The RMISA circuit returns Feb. 23-25 for the RMISA Regional Championships and the NCAA West Regional meet in Steamboat Springs, Colo.
For complete alpine results from Loveland, click here.
Monica is a native of Garmisch-Partenkrichen, Germany, and skied for SC Garmisch before a stint with the German national ski team. She eventually became an NCAA athlete at the University of Denver where she won the individual NCAA slalom title in 2015 and a team championship in 2016.