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Hoffman and Toiviainen Win Slalom Races to Begin Colorado Invitational

Tuesday, January 12, 2021 • by Ron Knabenbauer, Special To RMISA

NEDERLAND, Colo.—Utah's Madison Hoffman and Westminster's Julie Toiviainen continued their strong starts to the season on Tuesday by each picking up wins in women's slalom action on the first day of the University of Colorado Spencer James Nelson Memorial Invitational at Eldora Mountain Resort.

Hoffman took the first slalom race of the day with a total time 1:30.21 for her first collegiate victory while Toiviainen won in the second race, winning for the third time in four women's alpine events in 2021. Toiviainen podiumed in the first race as well, coming in second place to Hoffman and 1.14 seconds ahead of Westminster teammate Denise Dingsleder in third.

Toiviainen finished the second race with a 1.34-second advantage over second-place Tegan Wold of Montana State after producing the second fastest time in each of the two runs in the afternoon. Utah's Katie Vesterstein came in third in the second slalom, 6-hundreths of a second ahead of her teammate Hoffman in fourth.

For Hoffman, a newcomer on the RMISA circuit, her victory in the first race marked her second straight podium following her second-place finish in Sunday's second giant slalom race at the Denver Invitational in Aspen, Colorado—her previous career-best result. She was propelled up the leaderboard in both races on Tuesday by recording the second fastest time in both runs in slalom No. 1 (42.88 and 47.33) before taking the early lead in the second event with a time 46.06 time in her opening trek down the afternoon course.

The Westminster College Griffins won the first slalom race by garnering 96 points in part to Toiviainen and Dingsleder's podium finishes and Lana Zbasnik recording a top-10 result as well in seventh (Zbasnik also came in seventh in the second race). Montana State finished second in the morning with 87 points by placing three skiers in the top 10: Kristiane Bekkestad in fourth, Wold in fifth and Brynne Hitchcock in sixth.

Utah claimed the second slalom team win of the day as Michelle Kerven's eighth-place finish gave the Utes three spots in the top 10 (along with Vesterstein and Hoffman's third and fourth-place results) and 88 points in the competition, just edging the Griffins (85).

Through two of the eight events at the CU Invite, Westminster holds the overall lead with a 181-165 points advantage over the second-place Utes. Montana State is presently third overall with 139 points, while Alaska Anchorage (128.5) and the University of Colorado (126.5) are close behind in fourth and fifth.

The alpine portion of the Colorado Invitational wraps up on Wednesday as the men take the slalom course at Eldora Mountain Resort before the meet concludes in early February with the Nordic races in Aspen. The women's and men's freestyle sprint is Feb. 5, with the women's 5 kilometer and men's 10K classic races the following day.

Women's Slalom Final Team Results: 1. Westminster (181), 2. Utah (165), 3. Montana State (139), 4. Alaska Anchorage (128.5), 5. Colorado (126.5), 6. Colorado Mountain (89), 7. Denver (0)

Women's Slalom #1 Top 10 Individual Results: 1. Madison Hoffman, UU, 1:30.21; 2. Julia Toiviainen, WMC, 1:30.76; 3. Denise Dingsleder, WMC, 1:31.90; 4. Kristiane Bekkestad, MSU, 1:32.32; 5. Tegan Wold, MSU, 1:32.42; 6. Brynne Hitchcock, MSU, 1:32.67; 7. Lana Zbasnik, WMC, 1:32.76; 8. Li Djurstaal, UAA, 1:32.77; T9. Isabelle Fidjeland, CU, 1:32.78; T9. Rebecca Fiegl, UAA, 1:32.78;

Women's Slalom #1 Team Results: 1. Westminster (96), 2. Montana State (87), 3. Utah (77), 4. Alaska Anchorage (60.5), 5. Colorado (58.5), 6. Colorado Mountain (42), 7. Denver (0)

Women's Slalom #2 Top 10 Individual Results: 1. Julia Toiviainen, WMC, 1:35.27; 2. Tegan Wold, MSU, 1:36.61; 3. Katie Vesterstein, UU, 1:36.88; 4. Madison Hoffman, UU, 1:36.94; 5. Rebecca Fiegl, UAA, 1:37.34; 6. Kaitlyn Harsch, CU, 1:37.63; 7. Lana Zbasnik, WMC, 1:37.65; 8. Michelle Kerven, UU, 1:37.96; 9. Isabelle Fidjeland, CU, 1:38.08; 10. Georgia Burgess, UAA, 1:38.27

Women's Slalom #2 Team Results: 1. Utah (88), 2. Westminster (85), 3. Colorado (68), 4. Alaska Anchorage (68), 5. Montana State (52), 6. Colorado Mountain (47), 7. Denver (0)

Notes: Julia Toiviainen has now podiumed in each of the four alpine races this year, including recording three wins ... Before this year, Toiviainen's previous best slalom result was fifth at the 2020 Colorado Invitational ... Westminster teammate Denise Dingsleder's third place finish in slalom#1 marked her first career podium ... MSU's Kristiane Bekkestad made her collegiate debut in race No. 1 and posted her first career top-five result (fourth) ... Prior to UU' Madison Hoffman's win in the first race, her previous best finish was second in the second giant slalom event at the Denver Invitational on Sunday ... Tegan Wold of Montana State finished in the top five for the first time in her career after placing fifth and second on Tuesday ... Wold's previous-best finish was eighth (two times, both in 2020) and now has five career top-10 marks ... UAA's Rebecca Fiegl's fifth place finish in slalom#2 marked her fifth top-five result and first since her sophomore campaign of 2019 (second place in two slalom races) ... Fiegl has placed in the top 10 in each of the four women's alpine events this season and has 26 top-10 marks in her career ... Colorado's Kaitlyn Harsch had the fastest second run in slalom race No. 2 at 49.05 and went on to finish sixth in the event ... It was one of three top-10 results for the host Buffaloes after Isabelle Fidjeland placed ninth in both races ... Cheyenne Brown finished in 14th in the second race to give Colorado Mountain College their best-ever individual finish in a women's alpine event (also a career high for Brown) ... Prior to this season, CMC's previous-best result was 19th (in 2016) and the school only had three top-20 finishers in its RMISA's history ... Colorado Mountain has 11 top-20 results this year, which included placing six on Tuesday ... CMC had a 19th and 20th-place finisher in race No. 1 and a 14th, 15th, 19th and 20th-place finisher in race No. 2 ... Reece Bell of the University of Denver had the fastest first run of the first slalom race at 42:01 but was unable to finish her second run ... She was the only skier for DU at the event.

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