The University of Colorado opened the 2013 season with a strong alpine performance Monday in Eldora as freshman Brooke Wales finished second in the giant slalom to pace four top 12 women's finishers in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association (RMISA) Giant Slalom Qualifier No. 1.
No team scores were kept, as this was the first of two qualifiers for the alpine races, the other coming later this week ahead of the Denver Invitational in Winter Park. Monday's races were part of CU's annual invitational, the Spencer James Nelson Memorial, but today's giant slalom races will count toward team scoring for that meet followed by slalom races on Wednesday.
"The women did great today," CU head coach Richard Rokos said. "Both Shane (McLean) and Brooke put two good runs together and most of them had great second runs. The men were a little intimidated by the hill. We just need to make a few adjustments and we'll be fine."
Wales performance was impressive, as she clocked the second-fastest time in both the first and second run to clock a time of 1:55.65, just 12-hundredths of a second behind Denver's Kristine Haugen.
"It was really good, the snow conditions were awesome and I was really just really excited to get out there" Wales said. "It was a lot more fun and relaxed than I'm used to, and that really helped me put two good runs together. Tomorrow I'd like to clean it up a little more and get up on that top step (of the podium)."
CU's men didn't fare as well to open the season, although two newcomers did improve upon their start numbers, always a good goal early in one's first season. Freshman Kasper Hietanen started the race in 35th and moved up to 15th with a two-run time of 1:56.03 while freshman Henrik Gunnarson finished two spots back and six-hundredths of a second back in a time of 1:56.09.
Spots 15 to 25 were all within a second and three more Buffs landed in that frame with junior Andreas Haug taking 22nd in a time of 1:56.32 followed by senior Max Lamb in 24th with a time of 1:56.81 and freshman Cameron Smith 25th with a time of 1:56.97. Junior Fletcher McDonald rounded out the Buffs scorers in a time of 1:57.79, good for 28th place.
"It was good to get started," Haug said. "The girls are putting us to shame, we need to pick it up a little bit. We all decided before today that we needed to start skiing as a team, especially with two new guys and a lot of new girls. We want to go out and win meets. I think the guys skied a little too safe today."
1. Kristine Haugen, DU, 1:55.53; 2. Brooke Wales, CU, 1:55.65; 3. Tonje Sekse, WMC, 1:55.97; 4. Shane McLean, CU; 5. Stephanie Irwin MSU, 1:57.83; 6. Courtney Altringer, UNM, 1:57.99; 7. Jessica Honkonen, CU, 1:58.06; 8. 10 Anna Berecz, UAA, 1:58.52; 9. Vanessa Berther, UAA, 1:58.63; 10. Kelly McBroom, MSU, 1:58.64.
Other CU finishers -- 12. Thea Grosvold 1:59.00; 18. Clare Wise 2:02.30; 23. Khyla Burrows 2:05.81.
1. Chris Acosta, UNM, 1:54.01; 2. Jeremy Elliott, UU, 1:54.66; 3. Michael Bansmer, UNM, 1:54.91; 4. Andy Trow, UU, 1:55.02; 5. Espen Lysdahl, DU, 1:55.11; 6. Andreas Adde, UAA, 1:55.12; 7. Niko Harmanen, UAA, 1:55.26; 8. Simon Ruud, WMC, 1:55.38; 9. Armin Trinendl, UNM, 1:55.40; 10. David Herzog, WMC, 1:55.49
Other CU finishers -- 15. Kasper Hietanen 1:56.03; 17. Henrik Gunnarson 1:56.09; 22. Andreas Haug 1:56.32; 24. Max Lamb 1:56.81; 25. Cameron Smith 1:56.97; 28. Fletcher McDonald 1:57.79.