Stef Fleckenstein wins slalom, Buffs slip to fourth at DU Invitational

Sophomore Stef Fleckenstein won her first collegiate race and the women’s team put up another solid performance but it wasn’t enough for the Colorado Ski Team not to slip from second to fourth place as alpine action is now concluded for the Denver Invitational here Sunday at the Aspen Highlands Ski Resort.

The Buffs took the lead after the conclusion of the women’s race on the strength of three top 10 finishers, but then fell to fourth after the atypical men’s race in which the Buffs top finisher was Filip Forejtek in 14th place. When all the dust settled, CU was fourth with 278 points behind Utah (317), Denver (306) and Westminster (288) and just ahead of fifth place Montana State (274). The good news for the Buffs is they are just 39 points behind Utah as all five teams are bunched together at the top of the standings.

Fleckenstein’s wins continues her brilliant start to the 2020 season as in three races, she comes home from Aspen Highlands Ski Resort with a first, second and fifth place finish, the best three finishes of her career. She won the race by an impressive margin after senior Mikaela Tommy, who won the first run by three-quarters of a second, skied out in her second run and didn’t finish. Senior Andrea Arnold took ninth and sophomore Kaitlyn Harsch had her first career top 10 as the Buffs took the lead in the meet standings at the conclusion of the women’s race.

Foejtek and sophomore Max Bervy were the only two Buffs that didn’t either ski out or have to hike on the men’s side. Bervy finished 20th while junior Joey Young (22nd) and sophomore Bobby Ryan (23rd) both had to hike twice to stay in the race.

“This race wasn’t a typical race given what we’ve done the past few weeks training and racing,” Rokos said. “We have a little misfortune of our younger skiers being seeded back further in the field, it’s just a matter of time and we’ll earn our spots. We’ll put this behind us and plan for a better future.”

Fleckenstein had the fastest second run in the field to earn her first college victory and she won the race by over three-quarters of a second (.78). Arnold took ninth place, moving up eight spots with a solid second run and Harsch had a solid first run and finished 10th just two-hundredths behind Arnold. Hammergaard began the race seeded 29th and moved up to 19th after the first run and had the 12th fastest second run to move up another six spots to finish 13th. Olivia Gerrard didn’t finish the first run and Tommy had some back luck and didn’t finish her second run, even though she won the first run by three-quarters of a second.

Forejtek was consistent in both runs, with a time of 48.03 in the first and 48.05 in the second, having the 14th fastest first run and 13th fastest second to finish 14th. Bervy had similar consistent times having the 23rd fastest first run and 21st fastest second to finish 20th, his career best finish and first top 20 finish in college. Both Young and Ryan had to hike twice. Young started fourth in the top seed and Ryan had to fight from a starting point of 36th. Teddy Takki started 16th and Alex Birkner started 24th and neither finished their first runs.

TEAM—1. Utah 317; 2. Denver 306; 3. Westminster 288; 4. Colorado 278; 5. Montana State 274; 6. Alaska Anchorage 181; 7. Colorado Mountain 152.

WOMEN’S SLALOM (25 collegiate finishers)—1. Stef Fleckenstein, CU, 1:41.03; 2. Andrea Komsic, 1:41.81; 3. Eleri Smart, 1:43.06; 4. Julia Toiviainen, 1:43.11; 5. Kaitlyn Vesterstein, UU, 1:43.58; 6. Sona Moravcikova, 1:43.60; 7. Reece Bell, DU, 1:43.77; 8. Tegan Wold, MSU, 1:44.01; 9. Andrea Arnold, CU, 1:44.12; 10. Kaitlyn Harsch, CU, 1:44.14. Other CU Finishers: 13. Emma Hammergaard, 1:44.51. Did Not Finish First Run: Olivia Gerrard. Did Not Finish Second Run: Mikaela Tommy.

MEN’S SLALOM (23 collegiate finishers)—1. Joachim Lien, UU, 1:34.35; 2. Aage Solheim, MSU, 1:34.50; 3. Mikkel Wahl, WMC, 1:34.82; 4. Tobias Kogler, DU, 1:34.93; 5. Mikkel Solbakken, WMC, 1:35.02; 6. Colby Lane, DU, 1:35.12; 7. Tomas Birker de Miguel, UU, 1:35.39; 8. Cole Puckett, DU, 1:35.41; 9. Joachim Mjelde, WMC, 1:35.44; 10. Patrick Carry, MSU, 1:35.73. CU Finishers: 14. Filip Forejtek, 1:36.08; 20. Max Bervy, 1:37.87; 22. Joey Young, 2:04.71; 23. Bobby Ryan, 2:17.16. Did Not Finish First Run: Alex Birkner, Teddy Takki.