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Utah Sweeps Regular Season with Win at RMISA Invite Westminster & Soldier Hollow

Tuesday, February 23, 2021 • by Ron Knabenbauer, Special To RMISA

MIDWAY, Utah—The University of Utah was victorious in its fourth meet of the season as the Utes won both the men's and women's Nordic freestyle races on Tuesday to close out the RMISA Invitational at Westminster/Soldier Hollow. The Utes' Sam Hendry won the men's 15 kilometer race in the morning on the Soldier Hollow course, while teammate Novie McCabe picked up the victory in the women's 10K in the afternoon.

Utah won both team events after scoring three skiers in the top five in each race. UU recorded 762 points at the meet--148 more than second-place Colorado--and won seven of the eight team events, with the school finishing only a point behind Denver in the women's second slalom race on Feb. 8.

The Utes recorded the most points in both the alpine and Nordic competitions for the men and women to stage one of strongest performances at a meet in recent conference history. UU also won the Colorado, Denver and RMISA-Utah Invitationals this year.

Hendry recorded his second victory of the season and his second in the freestyle discipline by taking the men's 15K in 34:21.3. Hendry now has four career victories, with his only other freestyle win coming at the 2020 Colorado Invitational.

The Utah sophomore has finished on the podium in each of his last five races, recording two wins (also 20K Classic at RMISA Invitational on Jan. 18) and three runner-up placements.

Utah's Bjorn Riksaasen (34:47.1) and Magnus Boee of Colorado (34:55.3) joined Hendry on the podium in second and third place, respectively. It was Riksaasen's third podium of the season while Boee has placed in the top three in seven races in 2021, including picking up wins each of the previous five races.

The Utes (106 points) and CU Buffaloes (92 points) both had three skiers in the top six in the race--which was conducted with an interval start--as Luke Jager also scored for Utah in the fifth position. Oyvind Haugan came in fourth for Colorado to earn his fifth top-five result of his campaign while fellow freshman teammate Will Koch recorded a new career best in sixth place.

Alaska Anchorage was third in the men's team standings with Sigurd Roenning coming in seventh, Magnus Noroey in eighth and Espen Persen (36:41.5) finishing just 11 seconds out of the top 10 in 12th place.

Freshman Novie McCabe won her fourth race of the season in the women's 10K in a time of 26:29.3. It was her second straight victory after coming in first in the 5K classic on Monday, and she has now finished on the podium in each of the six races she's competed in this year.

McCabe won the interval-timed race by 53.1 seconds, as Astrid Stav of Alaska Anchorage came in second place at 27:22.4. McCabe's four victories in 2021 are the most on the women's Nordic circuit and are tied for the second among any RMISA athlete this year.

Utah picked up 103 points in the women's race and had five skiers finish in the top seven, as Mariah Bredal joined McCabe on the podium in third place and Julia Richter also scored in fifth. Karianne Moe was sixth and Sydney Palmer Leger was seventh for UU.

Colorado was second in the team standings with 78 points as Ezra Smith finished in season-best fourth place and teammate Anna-Maria Dietze recorded her sixth top-10 of the year in eighth.

The regular season is now complete for all skiers, and the Nordic athletes will now get set to begin their portion of the RMISA Championships this weekend at Soldier Hollow. The women's 5K and men's 10K classical is Friday before the women's 15K and men's 20K freestyle races close out the competition on Saturday.

Westminster, which does not field a Nordic team, currently leads the conference meet with 320 points while Montana State is 15 points behind in second place. Overall five schools are within 100 points of each other at the top of the RMISA Championship standings.

RMISA Invitational at Westminster/Soldier Hollow Final Team Standing: 1. Utah (762), 2. Colorado (614), 3. Montana State (487), 4. Denver (477.5), 5. Alaska Anchorage (441), 6. Westminster (300.5), 7. Alaska Fairbanks (234), 8. Wyoming (138), 9. Colorado Mountain (128)

Team Notes: The Utah Utes won all four regular-season meets ... Both races on Tuesday were conducted with an interval start ... Utah (762 points) finished with over 700 points in a meet for the second time this season (Colorado Invitational) and had the most points in every category in the standings ... The Utes' Nordic team recorded 412 points at this RMISA Invite, 100 more than second-place Colorado (312 in Nordic) ... UU's women's Nordic team registered at least 100 points in seven of the eight races this year ... Utah has scored its three skiers in the top five in all eight women's races this season, and a Utah woman won seven of the eight regular-season races ... The Utah men's Nordic team won both races at the meet and has five overall victories this season ... The UU men's team scored three skiers in the top five for the second time this year (20K classic, Jan. 18 at RMISA Invite Utah) ... The University of Colorado finished second at meet for the third time this year ... Denver came in fourth, a season best for the school ... Alaska Fairbanks (Nordic only) competed in its second meet of the year, while the University of Wyoming made its season debut at this RMISA Invitational.

Men's 15 Freestyle Top 10 Individual Results: 1. Sam Hendry, UU, 34:21.3; 2. Bjorn Riksaasen, UU, 34:47.1; 3. Magnus Boee, CU, 34:55.3; 4. Oyvind Haugan, CU, 34:55.7; 5. Luke Jager, UU, 34:59.0; 6. Will Koch, CU, 35:19.0; 7. Sigurd Roenning, UAA, 35:56.5; 8. Magnus Noroey, UAA, 36:16.3; 9. Ola Jordheim, UU, 36:20.5; 10. Reed Godfrey, MSU, 36:30.4

Men's 15K Freestyle Team Results: 1. Utah (106), 2. Colorado (92), 3. Alaska Anchorage (68), 4. Alaska Fairbanks (56), 5. Montana State (54), 6. Denver (45), 7. Wyoming (33)

Men's Individual Notes: Utah's Sam Hendry won his fourth meet of his career, with two wins each in classic and freestyle ... He has finished on the podium in each of the last five races he's competed in and has been in the top 10 in all six he's raced ... His four victories are second-most among active men's Nordic skiers behind CU's Magnus Boee (nine) ... Utes teammate Bjorn Riksaasen came in second place and now three of his four career podiums have come this season ... Riksaasen has finished as the runner-up three times this year ... Colorado's Magnus Boee was third to record his seventh podium of the year, and he has now finished in the top five in all eight races this season ... Boee, a sophomore, recorded his 12th career podium, second among active men's Nordic skiers behind only UAA junior Sigurd Roenning (14) ... CU freshman Oyvind Haugan has placed in the top five in each of the last four races and five overall in 2021 ... UU's Luke Jager (fifth) had his second top-five of the season ... CU's Will Koch's finished in a season-best sixth place, his third top 10 of the year ... Alaska Anchorage's Sigurd Roenning (seventh) has now been in the top 10 in 24 of his 29 career races ... UAA teammate Magnus Noroey recorded his second top 10 of the season/career in eighth place ... UU's Ola Jordheim (ninth) finished in the top 10 in all eight regular-season races ... Montana State's Reed Godfrey (10th), Alaska Fairbanks' Christopher Kalev (11th), Denver's Borger Norrud (18th) and Wyoming's Kaj Taylor (26th) were the highest-placed skiers for their respective schools.

Women's 10K Freestyle Top 10 Individual Results: 1. Novie McCabe, UU, 26.29.3; 2. Astrid Stav, UAA, 27:22.4; 3. Mariah Bredal, UU, 27:35.4; 4. Ezra Smith, CU, 28:20.4; 5. Julia Richter, UU, 28:48.1; 6. Karianne Moe, UU, 28:49.0; 7. Sydney Palmer-Leger, UU, 29:13.1; 8. Anna Maria Dietze, CU, 29:19.6; 9. Kendall Kramer, UAF, 29:35.0; 10. Andrianna Proffitt, MSU, 29:41.2

Women's 10K Freestyle Team Results: 1. Utah (103), 2. Colorado (78), 3. Montana State (64), 4. Alaska Fairbanks (60), 5. Alaska Anchorage (55), 6. Denver (48), 7. Wyoming (36)

Women's Individual Notes: Utah freshman Novie McCabe won her second straight race after coming in first in Monday's 5K classic and now has four victories in 2021 ... Her four wins are the most among women's Nordic skiers and tied for second among all RMISA Alpine and Nordic skiers this year ... McCabe has finished on the podium in each of the six races she's competed in 2021, also the most among women's Nordics ... Alaska Anchorage freshman Astrid Stav was second to record her fourth podium of the season and second in freestyle ... Stav has been in the top five in five races and in the top 10 in all six she's raced ... UU's Mariah Bredal registered her second podium of the year in third place and has now taken the stand six times in her career ... Bredal finished in the top 10 in all eight races during the regular season ... Colorado's Ezra Smith came in fourth, marking a new season high for her and her best result since finishing third in the 7.5K classic at the 2019 New Mexico Invitational ... Smith now has three career top-five placements ... UU's Julia Richter (fifth) has finished in the top five in each of the last four races and now has six such results this season and 16 overall in her three-year career ... UU teammate Karianne Moe's sixth-place finish was her sixth top-10 of the year ... Freshman Sydney Palmer-Leger was seventh and has finished in the top 10 in all six races she's competed in during the campaign ... CU's Anna-Maria Dietze (eighth) has now come in the top 10 in each of the last four races and six overall in 2021 ... Alaska Fairbanks rookie Kendall Kramer earned her first career top 10 by placing in ninth ... Montana State freshman Andrianna Proffitt (10th) picked up her second top 10 of 2021 ... Hanna Ray led all Denver skiers in 17th, while Anne Miller was the highest finisher for Wyoming (24th).

RMISA Invitational at Westminster/Soldier Hollow Nordic Final Team Standing: 1. Utah (412), 2. Colorado (331), 3. Alaska Anchorage (243), 4. Alaska Fairbanks (234), 5. Montana State (222), 6. Denver (216), 7. Wyoming (138)

RMISA Invitational at Westminster/Soldier Hollow Alpine Final Team Standing: 1. Utah (350), 2. Westminster (300.5), 3. Colorado (283), 4. Montana State (265), 5. Denver (261.5), 6. Alaska Anchorage (198), 7. Colorado Mountain (128)

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