A women’s Nordic sweep, two race wins and nine total top 10 performances fueled the University of Colorado ski team to a lead at the midpoint of the New Mexico Invitational here at Red River Ski Area and Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area.
Junior Anne Siri Lervik and senior Alvar Alev both won the classic races while sophomore Hedda Baangman (second) and freshman Ezra Smith (third) gave the Buffs a sweep of the 7.5K women’s race, the first race sweep for any team in the RMISA this season. Senior Christina Rolandsen gave the Buffs four in top six of the women’s race. On the men’s side, freshman Wyatt Gebhardt (sixth) and freshman Erik Dengerud (seventh) both earned top 10 finishes while sophomore Sondre Bollum (11th) and junior Andrew Potyk (12th) gave the Buffs five in the top 12.
Senior Nora Christensen earned her eighth career podium with a runner-up in the women’s slalom race and freshman Stef Fleckenstein took eighth to offset some struggles in the men’s race.
The Buffs earned a maximum score of 111 points in the women’s Nordic race and won the men’s Nordic race with 92 points en route to a team score of 302 points through four of eight races. The Buffs are up by 21.5 points over second place Utah (280.5) while Montana State sits third iwth 274 points and host New Mexico is fourth with 268. Denver rounds out the top five with 261 points.
Anne Siri Lervik won the women’s 7.5K classic race in a time of 29:00.7 to earn her first career collegiate victory. She had the fifth fastest first lap around the 2.5K course but then turned on the jets and had the fastest second and third laps to take the win. She beat out Hedda Baangman by 13.0 seconds (29:13.7). Baangman had the fastest first lap in the field and followed that up with the third fastest second lap and second fastest final lap to earn the podium.. Freshman Ezra Smith earned her first career podium in third place in a time of 29:26.0. Smith was in the top three on all of her split times. Christina Rolandsen gave the Buffs four in the top six with her time of 30:21.5. Sophomore Quinn Lehmkuhl finished 22nd in a time of 33:01.3.
Alvar Alev earned his third career victory by winning the 7.5K men’s classic race in a time of 25:10.9 by just 6.5 seconds over second place Sigurd Roenning of Alaska-Anchorage. Just like Lervik, Alev had the fifth fastest first lap but then led the pack on the second and third laps to take the victory. Wyatt Gebhardt had the best finish of his young career in sixth place in a tim of 25:54.4. He had the second-fastest final lap to move up for spots from 10th to sixth for the Buffs. Erik Dengerud was the Buffs third scorer in seventh place in a time of 25:54.6, his third top 10 of the season. Sondre Bollum took 11th in a time of 26:25.2 and junior Andrew Potyk was 12th in 26:34.3 for the second best finish of his career, giving the Buffs five skiers in the top 12. Freshman Tyler Terranova had the best finish of his career, taking 22nd in a time of 27:31.7.
Christensen’s second place finish came in a time of 1:32.99, just 13-hundredths behind race winner Amelia Smart of Denver. Christensen earned her second straight podium and best finish of the season, and her eighth career podium appearance. Stef Fleckenstein’s eighth place finish came in a time of 1:34.37. She sat in 16th after the first run but moved up eight spots on the strength of the fifth-fastest second run. It’s the best finish of her young career and third top 10 of the season. Junior Andrea Arnold finished 17th in a time of 1:36.41 to round out the team scoring for the Buffs while freshman Kaitlyn Harsch took 21st in 1:36.99. Freshman Olivia Gerrard did not finish her first run.
The women’s squad is without the services of Mikaela Tommy, who is participating in the World Cup at Maribor, Slovakia. She skied in the GS race there Friday, not finishing her first run. Megan McGrew and Isabelle Fidjeland are still out due to injury.
The men’s team struggled Friday with all five members participating either not finishing or having to hike. The Buffs top finisher was senior Max Luukko in 27th place in 1:32.62. Sophomore Joey Young finished 31st in a time of 1:43.67. Freshman Teddy Takki was disqualified on his first run while junior Bobby Moyer didn’t finish his second run and freshman Max Bervy was DQ’d in the second run.