The Colorado ski team produced 10 skiers in the top 17 of the women's 15K and men's 20K classic races, but it wasn't enough to catch Denver, as Colorado finished in second place Monday at the Montana State Invitational at Bohart Ranch in Bozeman, Mont.
The Buffs entered the day trailing by five points to the Pioneers, and while CU put together a strong performance, it didn't translate to the team scores. The Buffs finished the meet just four points behind the Pioneers, the closest meet in the RMISA since the 2014 RMISA Championships when the Buffs were edged by Utah, 640-636.
Utah took third with 598 points, followed by New Mexico with 501.
"It was one of those tricky days," CU Nordic coach Bruce Cranmer said. "It was snowing hard, it was above freezing so it was warm. Definitely a tricky day. We had a lot of positives and a few negatives and in the end we missed the target by just a handful of points."
CU's six women's skiers all finished in the top 16, which hasn't happened on the women's Nordic team since the 2008 season. In all, 10 skiers finished in the top 17 on the day. Career or near-career best finishes were put in the books by Petter Reistad, senior Arnaud Du Pasquier and sophomore Ian Boucher on the men's side, while Jackson Hill had another near-top 10 finish.
On the women's side, sophomore Petra Hyncicova put in another top-five finish, sophomore Jessie Knori matched her career best finish, junior Lucy Newman had her best finish since her freshman season, freshman Christina Rolandsen pushed close to the top 10 in her second career race, and sophomore Ane Johnsen put another top 10 in the books.
But the Buffs knocked only a single point off the Pioneers' lead entering the day. Junior Mads Stroem had bad skies and it resulted in the worst finish of his career, coming in 25th. It was the second time in 24 career races he placed outside the top four.
"That's ski racing," Cranmer said. "You want to get the bad days out of the way. I always feel terrible when somebody doesn't have good skis, and Mads definitely didn't. But we had good things happen and we're over our post-break period. We're getting used to being back at altitude, we're able to focus on racing and getting good training in. We are still trending in the right direction."
Next up is the Buffs' host meet, the Spencer J. Nelson Memorial Invitational, set for Jan. 22-24 in Steamboat Springs.
Montana State Invitational Team Scores — 1. Denver 629; 2. Colorado 625; 3. Utah 598; 4. New Mexico 501; 5. Montana State 465; 6. Alaska Anchorage 406; 7. Westminster 251; 8. Wyoming 123; 9. Colorado Mountain 55.
Men's 20K Classic (33 finishers) — 1.Moritz Madlener, DU, 1:07:44.7; 2. Petter Reistad, CU, 1:08:01.7; 3. Alijaz Praznik, UNM, 1:08:25.4; 4. Niklas Persson, UU, 1:08:28.6; 5. Petteri Vaherkoski, 1:08:33.4; 6. Sawyer Kesselheim, MSU, 1:08:40.1; 7. Kevin Bolger, UU, 1:08:45.2; 8. Arnaud Du Pasquier, CU, 1:08:51.5; 9. Forrest Mahlen, MSU, 1:08:54.1; 10. Toomas Kollo, UAA, 1:08:57.4. Other CU Finishers: 11. Jackson Hill, 1:08:59.3; 17. Ian Boucher, 1:10:40.0; 24. Max Scrimgeour, 1:12:18.1; 25. Mads Stroem, 1:12:18.9.
Women's 15K Classic (30 finishers) — 1. Linn Erikson, DU, 54:50.3; 2. Veronika Mayerhofer, UU, 55:13.9; 3. Emilie Cedervarn, UNM, 55:29.5; 4. Petra Hyncicova, CU, 55:42.9; 5. Eva Sever Rus, UNM, 56:44.0; 6. Kati Roivas, UNM, 56:50.4; 7. Mackenzie Kanady, UAA, 57:08.1; 8. Jessse Knori, CU, 57:39.4; 9. Jasmi Joensuu, DU, 58:02.8; 10. Ane Johnsen, CU, 58:29.6. Other CU Finishers: 12. Christina Rolandsen, 58:49.6; 13. Camilla Brautaset, 59:27.9; 16. Lucy Newman, 1:00:08.4.