Smart Wins Twice in Tight Slalom Competition at RMISA Invitational

Monday, February 8, 2021 • by Ron Knabenbauer, Special To RMISA

SNOWBIRD, Utah—The University of Denver's Amelia Smart won both women's slalom races on Monday as the RMISA Invitational at Westminster/Soldier Hollow got underway at Snowbird Resort. The University of Utah leads the overall meet after the first two events, but there are four other schools within 36 points of the Utes.

In her first races of the season, Smart picked up the ninth and 10th victories of her career-with now nine in the slalom discipline. The DU senior has won each of the last six slalom races that she's competed in dating back to the RMISA Alpine Qualifier on Jan. 17, 2020.

Smart was joined on the podium in both races by Utah's Katie Vesterstein and Montana State's Tegan Wold, who finished second and third, respectively, in each of the two competitions to begin the meet.

Smart won the morning race with a time of 1:35.83 and posted the second fastest first run among collegians at 49:24 behind only Vesterstein (49.22). In the afternoon race, Smart posted the quickest first run (46.01) and finished with a total of 1:37.91, beating Vesterstein by only 2-hundreths of a second (1:37.93).

Vesterstein and Wold now each have three podium finishes in their careers, all of which have come this season after Wold took second in the second slalom race at the Colorado Invitational on Jan. 12 and Vesterstein came in third in the same event.

Utah recorded 81 points to win the first slalom team competition, with Michelle Kerven and Sona Moravcikova also scoring for the Utes in seventh and 12th place. Colorado came in second with 75 points after having three skiers in the top 10, as Stef Fleckenstein took fourth, Emma Hammergaard in eighth and Cassidy Gray finishing 10th.

Anchored by Amelia Smart and her sister Eleri's 11th place-result, Denver was third in race No. 1 with 74 points. Alaska Anchorage (65), Westminster (64), Montana State (59) and Colorado Mountain College (36) followed in the standings.

The second race was even tighter, as Denver (83), Utah (82) and Montana State (81) were separated by only a point each at the top of the team scores, and Colorado (64) held only a half-point lead over Westminster (63.5) for fourth place.

The Utes' Moravcikova (eighth) and Kerven (ninth) joined Vesterstein with top-10 finishes in the afternoon event, but Smart's second win and a fifth-place result by teammate Reece Bell-who had the fastest second run in race No. 2 at 49.53-helped the Pioneers finish with the team victory.

Montana State recorded two skiers in the top five with Bekkestad finishing behind Wold in fourth place, while CU saw Fleckenstein (seventh) and Hammergaard (10th) earn their second top-10 outcomes of the meet.

Westminster's Julia Toiviainen, the winner of three of the first four women's alpine races of the season, recorded fifth and sixth-place results on the day. Teammates Hannah Saethereng and Lana Zbasnik each recorded top-15 finishes in the two races to put the Griffins within striking distance for the alpine win at the meet.

Utah leads overall with 163 points, only six more than second-place Denver. Colorado is 22 points back with 141, while Montana State is one point behind the Buffaloes with 140. With 127.5 points, Westminster is 35.5 behind the Utes and Alaska Anchorage is also in the hunt after recording 97.5 points.

The RMISA Invitational at Westminster/Soldier Hollow continues on Tuesday at Snowbird with two men's slalom races.

RMISA Invitational at Westminster/Soldier Hollow Team Standings (through 2 of 8 events): 1. Utah (163), 2. Denver (157), 3. Colorado (141), 4. Montana State (140), 5. Westminster (127.5), 6. Alaska Anchorage (97.5), 7. Colorado Mountain (72)

Team Notes: Denver won slalom No. 2 for its first team win of the season in either Alpine or Nordic ... Utah won race No. 1 for its third win in alpine this season and 12th overall in 2021 ... Six schools are separated by 91 points in the standings after the first two events, including four within 23 of each other ... Utah was the only team to score over 80 points in both races.

Women's Slalom #1 Top 10 Individual Results: 1. Amelia Smart, DU, 1:35.83; 2. Katie Vesterstein, UU, 1:36.06; 3. Tegan Wold, MSU, 1:36.62; 4. Stef Fleckenstein, CU, 1:36.95; 5. Julia Toiviainen, WMC, 1:37.14; 6. Rebecca Fiegl, UAA, 1:37.56; 7. Michelle Kerven, UU, 1:37.77; 8. Emma Hammergaard, CU, 1:37.78; 9. Li Djurestaal, UAA, 1:37.83; 10. Cassidy Gray, CU, 1:37.85

Women's Slalom #1 Team Results: 1. Utah (81), 2. Colorado (75), 3. Denver (74), 4. Alaska Anchorage (65), 5. Westminster (64), 6. Montana State (59), 7. Colorado Mountain (36)

Individual Notes Slalom #1: Amelia Smart of DU participated in her first competition of the season after coming in seventh in her last race at the 2020 NCAA Championships giant slalom ... Utah's Katie Vesterstein posted a new career high in second place, beating her previous best of third from her last race (slalom No. 2 at CU Invitational on Jan. 12) ... MSU's Tegan Wold's best finishes of her career have come in the last two meets (second, two thirds and a fifth) ... Stef Fleckenstein of Colorado participated in her first race of the campaign and finished in fourth, the same spot she took in her last completed race at the 2020 RMISA Championships slalom ... Westminster's Julia Toiviainen registered her fifth straight top-five result of the season and posted the third-fastest first run at 49.68 ... Rookie Michelle Kerven's seventh-place finish is a new career high ... Colorado's Cassidy Gray made her collegiate debut and came in 10th ... Sona Moravcikova of Westminster had the fastest second run at 45.99, while Colorado's Emma Hammergaard had the second quickest at 46.02.

Women's Slalom #2 Top 10 Individual Results: 1. Amelia Smart, DU, 1:37.91; 2. Katie Vesterstein, UU, 1:37.93; 3. Tegan Wold, MSU, 1:39.33; 4. Kristiane Bekkestad, MSU, 1:39:44; 5. Reece Bell, DU, 1:39.52; 6. Julia Toiviainen, WMC, 1:39:69; 7. Stef Fleckenstein, CU, 1:39.92; 8. Sona Moravcikova, UU, 1:40.15; 9. Michelle Kerven, UU, 1:40.31; 10. Emma Hammergaard, CU, 1:40.84

Women's Slalom #2 Team Results: 1. Denver (83), 2. Utah (82), 3. Montana State (81), 4. Colorado (64), 5. Westminster (63.5), 6. Colorado Mountain (36), 7. Alaska Anchorage (32.5)

Individual Notes Slalom #2: Denver's Amelia Smart now has 10 career wins, with nine overall and six straight in slalom competitions she's entered ... She has only finished twice outside of the top five in her career in slalom ... Utah's Katie Vesterstein and Montana State's Tegan Wold have reached the podium in each of their last three races after posting second and third-place finishes in both events on Monday ... It is the first three podiums of each skier's career ... Wold has four career top-five finishes, all of which have come in the last four races ... MSU rookie Kristian Bekkestad tied her career high in fourth place (slalom #1 at CU Invite on Jan. 12) ... DU's Reece Bell came in fifth for her second top-five and fourth top-10 finish of her career ... With two top-10 finishes on the day, Stef Fleckenstein of CU now owns 20 such results in her career ... UU's Sona Moravcikova's eighth-place finish in race No. 2 marked her second top 10 of the season ... Utah teammate Michelle Kerven (seventh in race 1 and ninth in race 2) has placed in the top 10 in three consecutive races for the first time in her career ... Emma Hammergaard recorded (eighth and 10th) recorded back-to-back top-10 finishes for the second time in her career and now has six such results in her two seasons at CU.

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