RED RIVER, N.M.—The University of Colorado ski team battled back and forth all day with Pac-12 rival Utah, and in the end the Utes edged the Buffaloes by just 14.5 points at the New Mexico Invitational here at the Red River and Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Areas.
The Buffs did rack up nine top 10 performances on the day, six in Nordic and three in alpine. Senior Nora Christensen and junior Anne Siri Lervik both earned podium performances for the second straight day to lead their respective races. After the Buffs edged the Utes by 6.5 points at the Montana State Invitational, the two teams are now just separated by eight points combined over the last two meets.
“We have to get out of the slump on the men’s (alpine) side,” CU coach Richard Rokos said. “What’s hurting us is the seeding, how they’re starting. Joey Young is the only one in the top seed in slalom. We also need to get healthy and get Filip (Forejtek) back, that will help.”
Utah outscored the Buffs by 36 points, turning a 21.5 point deficit into a 14.5 point victory, 605.5-591. In Nordic action, the Utes edged the Buffs by 14 points as the two teams went 1-2 in the women’s race with Utah scoring 100 points to the Buffs 84. CU then edged the Utes in men’s Nordic, 79-77, as the teams finished second and third in that race. The Utes outscored the Buffs men’s alpine team by 30, 76-46, and while the women’s alpine team outscored the Utes 80-72, it wasn’t enough to bring the rollercoaster all the way back to even. Host New Mexico took third place with 563 points, 42.5 behind Utah, while Montana State took fourth with 534 points and Denver rounded out the top five with 497 points.
Anne Siri Lervik earned her second straight podium and after winning Friday’s classic race, she took third place in Saturday’s 5K freestyle race in a time of 17:16.9. She got off to a bit of a slow start, as she was 10th at the 2.5K split, but was in the lead pack and then had the third-best time on the second half of the race to move up seven spots. Senior Christina Rolandsen finished sixth in a time of 17:32.0, within a minute of race winner Guro Jordheim (16:35.3). Freshman Ezra Smith picked up another top 10 finish in eighth place in 17:47.2 while sophomore Hedda Baangman was 11th in 17:59.9. Rolandsen was fourth at the midpoint of the race and slipped two spots while Smith was consistent, coming in at eighth at the split and finish line. Junior Quinn Lehmkuhl finished the race in 20th in 19:06.7 to round out the Buffs racers.
Freshman Wyatt Gebhardt continued his impressive rookie campaign, coming in fourth in a time of 14:34.5 and was just 7.6 seconds behind race winner Kornelius Grov from New Mexico and just six-tenths of a second off the podium. In the women’s race, Jordheim won by 38.7 seconds, which was the exact same margin between first and 10th place in the men’s race with three Buffs in that mix. Freshman Erik Dengerud was sixth in 14:40.2, just 13.3 seconds behind the race winner and senior Alvar Alev, who won the classic race on Friday, took 10th in this one in a time of 15:05.6. Junior Andrew Potyk took 19th in 15:21.0 and freshman Tyler Terranova rounded out the Buffs squad in 24th in 15:31.9. Sophomore Sondre Bollum did not race Saturday.
Nora Christensen hit the podium for the second straight day and third straight race, finishing third in a time of 1:34.61, just three-hundredths behind second place Tuva Norbye of Denver (1:34.58). Christensen was seventh after the first run but was able to move onto the podium with the fifth-fastest second run. Freshman Stef Fleckenstein had her best slalom performance of her young career, taking sixth in 1:35.05. She took in 13th after the first run but then moved up an impressive seven spots on the strength of the third-fastest second run in the field. Freshman Olivia Gerrard finished 12th in 1:36.02 with freshman Kaitlyn Harsch taking 19th in 1:38.49. Andrea Arnold did not finish her second run and the Buffs were without the services of Mikaela Tommy, who was overseas skiing in a World Cup race, and Isabelle Fidjeland and Megan McGrew, both still out injured.
Sophomore Joey Young turned in another solid performance with a 10th place finish in a time of 1:32.39. Freshman Teddy Takki took 23rd in 1:33.51 with senior Max Luukko just behind him in 24th in 1:34.32 to round out the team scoring for the Buffs. Junior Bobby Moyer finished 29th in 1:35.23 and freshman Max Bervy took 31st in 1:35.92. The Buffs are also short-handed on the men’s side without the services of freshman Filip Forejtek, who suffered an injury at the start of the collegiate season.