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Boee, Palmer-Leger Win RMISA Classic Races, Utah Takes Team Lead

Friday, February 26, 2021 • by Ron Knabenbauer, Special To RMISA

MIDWAY, Utah—The Colorado Buffaloes' Magnus Boee and the Utah Utes' Sydney Palmer-Leger won individual conference titles on Friday as the Nordic portion of the 2021 RMISA Championships began with classic races at Soldier Hollow.

The University of Utah won both the men's and women's team events, gaining 197 points to take the lead in the overall meet standings heading into the final day of competition. Utah has 483 points and a 49-point edge on second place Colorado (434) and is 68 points up on Montana State in third place (415).

Boee won the men's 10 kilometer race in the morning in a time of 25:06.6 to earn his first regional championship and seventh victory of the year. The CU sophomore has placed on the podium in eight of the nine races this season and has finished in the top five in six straight classic competitions dating back to last year's RMISA Championships.

Eight skiers finished within a minute of one another at the top of the men's leaderboard, with four being Utes to help the school register 89 points and the team victory. Sam Hendry recorded his sixth podium of the year by coming 22.5 seconds behind Boee in second place (25:28.1), while Ola Jordheim--the defending regional champion in the men's classic--finished in sixth place. Luke Jager also scored for Utah in seventh while teammate Bjorn Riksaasen was less than three seconds behind in eighth.

The two Alaska schools had solid days on the course as well, with Alaska Anchorage finishing second in the men's race with 81 points while Alaska Fairbanks came in fourth. UAA's Sigurd Roenning joined Boee and Hendry on the podium in third with a time of 25:41.2 and teammate Espen Persen finished in a season-high fifth place. Alaska Fairbanks' Mike Ophoff and Christopher Kalev both recorded new career bests by coming in fourth and 10th, respectively.

Led by Boee's victory, Colorado finished second in the men's race with 80 points as freshmen Oyvind Haugan (11th) and Will Koch (13th) also scored.

The Utah women's Nordic team continued its successful campaign by winning the women's 5K classic with 108 points. The school had each of its three scorers in the top four and finished with five skiers in the top 10 and all six in the top 12.

Freshman Sydney Palmer-Leger won her second race of her career, completing the Soldier Hollow course in 15:25.9. She has placed in the top 10 in all seven of her races this season, which included her first victory in the 15K classic at RMISA Invitational at Utah on Jan. 18.

Fellow UU rookie Novie McCabe was 8.5 seconds behind her teammate in second place at 15:34.3 and has now been on the podium in all seven of her races in 2021. Julia Richter, the 2019 RMISA classic champion, also scored for Utah in fourth place to mark the seventh time this season that the school scored all three skiers inside the top four. Also finishing for the Utes were Karianne Moe in seventh, Mariah Bredal in eighth and Abigail Jarzin in 12th.

Alaska Fairbanks had its best result of the season in the women's race by finishing in second place with 72 points, as Mariah Pulles recorded her first career podium in third place and Kendall Kramer produced her second straight top 10. The University of Denver also had multiple skiers in the top 10 with Vera Norli in sixth and freshman Hanna Ray in ninth.

The RMISA Championships conclude on Saturday at Soldier Hollow with the women's 15K and men's 20K freestyle races. It will be the Nordic skiers' last chance to improve their qualification score heading into the NCAA Championships on March 10-13 in New Hampshire.

2021 RMISA Championship Team Standings (through 6 of 8 events): 1. Utah (483), 2. Colorado (434), 3. Montana State (415), 4. Denver (347), 5. Alaska Anchorage (340), 6. Westminster (320), 7. Colorado Mountain (146), 8. Alaska Fairbanks (139), 9. Wyoming (69)

Team Notes: Both races were conducted with an interval start ... Utah (197 points) made the biggest gain of the day while Alaska Fairbanks was second with 139 points ... UAF finished second in the women's race for its best finish of the year ... Colorado picked up its 13th individual men's classic win at the regional championships, now six more than second-place Denver (seven) ... Utah won its 10th individual women's classic race at the RMISA Championships, tying Colorado for the most.

Men's Classic Top 10 Individual Results: 1. Magnus Boee, CU, 25:05.6; 2. Sam Hendry, UU, 25:28.1; 3. Sigurd Roenning, UAA, 25:41.2; 4. Mike Ophoff, UAF, 25:43.3; 5. Espen Persen, UAA, 25:44.6; 6. Ola Jordheim, UU, 25:58.2; 7. Luke Jager, UU, 26:02.5; 8. Bjorn Riksaasen, UU, 26:05.2; 9. Bernhard Flaschberger, DU, 26:12.9; 10. Christopher Kalev, UAF, 26:18.4

Men's Classic Team Results: 1. Utah (89), 2. Alaska Anchorage (81), 3. Colorado (80), 4. Alaska Fairbanks (67), 5. Denver (53), 6. Montana State (51), 7. Wyoming (33)

Men's Individual Notes: Colorado's Magnus Boee won his seventh race of the season and 10th of his career, tied for the most among all active RMISA skiers and first in Nordic ... His eight podiums on the year are the most in the RMISA ... Boee, who won his first conference championship, has placed in the top five in all nine events this year and six straight in classic since the 2020 RMISA Championships ... He has won half of his 20 career races (six in classic, four in freestyle) and has placed on the podium 13 times (also seven straight) and in the top five on 16 occasions ... Utah's Sam Hendry was second for his fourth runner-up finish and his sixth podium of the season, second most in men's Nordic behind Boee ... Hendry, who as a sophomore was at his first RMISA championships, has placed on the podium in each of the last six races he's competed in and in 10 of his 13 career events ... Sigurd Roenning of Alaska Anchorage tied a season high in third place (fourth time) and tied his best-career finish at the RMISA Championships (third in 10K freestyle in 2019) ... Roenning recorded his 15th career podium, tied for the most among all active conference skiers and first in Nordic ... He has finished on the podium in each of his last three classic races (all in third place) ... Alaska Fairbanks' Mike Ophoff had a career-best finish in four place ... Ophoff's previous-high placement was 11th, accomplished three times before including twice this season ... UAA's Espen Persen came in a season-best fifth place, his fifth career top five and also his best-ever mark in three RMISA meet races ... It was Persen's best finish since coming in third at the 10K classic at the 2020 Utah Invitational ... Ola Jordheim of Utah has finished in the top 10 in all five regional races in his career, including winning last year's classic race ... Jordheim has been in the top 10 in all nine races in 2021 and in 12 straight classic events dating back to 2019 ... UU's Luke Jager raced in his first RMISA Championships and finished in seventh, his fifth top 10 of the year and 11th of his career ... He has been in the top seven in all six career classic races he's finished ... UU's Bjorn Riksaasen came in eighth and has now been in the top 10 in all nine races in 2021 and 11 straight since last year's RMISA Championships ... It's his fifth top 10 in four career regional meets ... Denver's Bernhard Flaschberger recorded his seventh top 10 of the year in ninth place ... It was his third top 10 at regionals, which includes winning the 2020 freestyle race ... Flaschberger has ended in the top 10 in 16 of his 18 career races ... UAF's Christopher Kalev (10th place) set a new career best for the third straight race and produced his first career top 10 ... Eli Jensen led Montana State in scoring in 12th while Kaj Taylor led all Wyoming skiers (29th).

Women's Classic Top 10 Individual Results: 1. Sydney Palmer-Leger, UU, 15:25.8; 2. Novie McCabe, UU, 15:34.3; 3. Mariel Pulles, UAF, 15:40.6; 4. Julia Richter, UU, 15:46.0; 5. Astrid Stav, UAA, 15:49.4; 6. Vera Norli, DU, 16:02.6; 7. Karianne Moe, UU, 16:09.8; 8. Mariah Bredal, UU, 16:11.3;9. Hanna Ray, DU, 16:14.5; 10. Kendall Kramer, UAF, 16:28.0

Women's Classic Team Results: 1. Utah (108), 2. Alaska Fairbanks (72), 3. Denver (66), 4. Montana State (59), 5. Colorado (57), 6. Alaska Anchorage (46), 7. Wyoming (36)

Women's Individual Notes: Utah's Sydney Palmer-Leger won her first regional championship and earned her second win of the season (15K classic at Utah RMISA Invite on Jan. 18) ... Palmer-Leger has placed in the top 10 in all seven races she's competed in this year, which included producing four podiums and five top-fives ... UU freshman teammate Novie McCabe finished second in her first RMISA Championships, her second runner-up of the year ... McCabe has placed on the podium in all seven events she's raced this season ... Alaska Fairbanks' Mariel Pulles, who was competing at her first NCAA regionals, recorded her first career podium by coming in second place ... Her previous-best finish was on Monday in the 5K classic at the RMISA Invitational at Westminster/Soldier Hollow when she came in sixth ... Julia Richter of Utah placed fourth and has now been in the top five in all three RMISA Championship races of her career, which included winning the 2019 classic ... Richter has finished in the top five in seven of the nine races she's competed in during the 2021 campaign ... Alaska Anchorage freshman Astrid Stav was fifth and has been in the top five in six of her seven races this year ... Denver's Vera Norli finished sixth for her seventh top 10 of the year (out of nine races) ... UU senior Karianne Moe was seventh, marking her fourth straight classic race at the RMISA Championships where she has come in the top 10; she has finished in seventh twice before at the 5K (2018, 2020) and third in the 20K in 2019 ... Moe has seven top-10 placements on the year ... UU's Mariah Bredal came in eighth for her third career top 10 at the RMISA Championships ... Bredal has come in the top 10 in all nine races this year and in 22 straight dating back to the 2019 RMISA Championships ... Bredal has been in the top 10 in 14 consecutive distance classic competitions since coming in seventh as a freshman at the 2018 NCAA Championships (5K) ... DU's Hanna Ray competed in her third career race and set a new personal best in ninth place ... UAF's Kendall Kramer (10th) recorded her second straight top 10 of her freshman campaign after placing in ninth on Tuesday in 10K freestyle at the RMISA Invitational at Westminster/Soldier Hollow ... Montana State's Sophia Mazzoni (11th), Colorado's Ezra Smith (14th) and Wyoming's Kat Gruner (26th) led their respective schools in scoring.

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