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Utah Wins Denver Invitational

Saturday, January 23, 2021 • by Ron Knabenbauer, Special To RMISA

MINTURN, Colo.—The Utah Utes won the 2021 University of Denver Invitational on Saturday after claiming team victories in both the men's and women's Nordic classic races at Maloit Park. Utah edged Colorado by a single points in the men's 10K before placing three skiers in the top four in take the women's 7.5K.

The University of Colorado's Magnus Boee and the University of Alaska Anchorage's Astrid Stav were the individual winners on the last day of the Denver Invite. Both races were conducted with an interval start.

In the men's 10K race, Boee won his second race of the weekend with a time of 27:39.4, defeating Utah's Sam Hendry (27:41.2) by less than two seconds. Boee and Hendry finished first and second in the 7.5K freestyle on Friday, with Boee winning by only three-tenths of a second—tied for the second-closest margin of victory in a RMISA race since 2014.

Both CU and UU placed three men in the top 10, but the Utes gained the slight edge to win the team contest 91-90 after Ola Jordheim finished fifth (28:21.4) and Bjorn Riksaasen came in seventh (28:41.1). The Buffaloes' other two scorers were freshman Oyvind Haugan in sixth (28:39.2) and Will Koch in eighth (28:42.3).

Alaska Anchorage's Sigurd Roenning grabbed his second podium of the season with a third-place finish, while Zanden McMullen of Montana State picked up his fourth top-five result of the season in fourth.

In the women's 7.5K classic in the afternoon, Stav won her first career race in a time 25:55.2, beating out a pack of Utes that finished second, third and fourth directly behind her. The Seawolves freshman now has three podiums and four top-five results in her young career, as she finished second in both the 5K freestyle on Friday by just 4.5 seconds and in the 15K classic at RMISA Invitational at Utah on Monday.

After Stav, it was all Utes as their women's Nordic team once again controlled the leaderboard in a race, winning the team competition with 102 points. Utah finished with five skiers in the top 10, with scorers Novie McCabe in second, Sydney Palmer-Leger in third and Mariah Bredal in fourth. In addition, Karianne Moe came in seventh and Julia Richter in eighth.

Alaska Anchorage finished second in the women's team race with 80 points, with Tuva Bygrave helping the Seawolves with a fifth-place individual result. Colorado took third place with 70 points after placing skiers in the ninth, 10th and 11th positions.

After starting in fifth following the first Alpine event at the DU Invitational on Jan. 10, Utah climbed its way up the leaderboard to second place heading into this weekend's Nordic races. A strong performance in men's and women's freestyle on Friday gave the Utes the meet lead, as they went on to win three of the four Nordic team races to gain 376 points and win the overall title with 683 points.

Colorado finished 75 points behind Utah in second place (608 points), while Montana State (538.5) ended 35 points ahead of Alaska Anchorage (503.5) for third despite the Seawolves getting the better of the Bobcats in the Nordic races, 308.5-247.5.

The RMISA will take a weekend off before resuming with Nordic events at the University of Colorado Spencer James Nelson Memorial Invitational in Aspen. The women's and men's freestyle sprint races are set for Feb. 5 before the meet wraps up with the women's 5K and men's 10K classic events on Feb. 6.

Denver Invitational Overall Final Team Results: 1. Utah (683), 2. Colorado (608), 3. Montana State (538.5), 4. Alaska Anchorage (503.5), 5. Westminster (359), 6. Denver (307), 7. Colorado Mountain (121)

Team Notes: Utah's 683 points are the eighth most in a meet under the current scoring format (since the 2014 season) ... In the past two seasons, the Utes now have four of the eight highest scoring team marks, including 745 in the 2020 Colorado Invitational, 732 in the 2020 Utah Invitational and 708 in the 2020 Denver Invitational ... Utah also finished first in the men's Alpine, Women's Nordic, Overall Nordic and in both the men's and women's overall standings ... Colorado won the DU Invitational men's Nordic competition, while Westminster finished first in Women's Alpine and in the Overall Alpine standings ... Alaska Fairbanks did not compete in the Denver Invitational ... Westminster and Colorado Mountain College do not field Nordic squads.

Men's 10K Classical Top 10 Individual Results: 1. Magnus Boee, CU, 27:39.4; 2. Sam Hendry, UU, 27:41.2; 3. Sigurd Roenning, UAA, 28:08.1; 4. Zanden McMullen, MSU, 28:10.9; 5. Ola Jordheim, UU, 28:21.4; 6. Oyvind Haugan, CU, 28:39.2; 7. Bjorn Riksaasen, UU, 28:41.1; 8. Will Koch, CU, 28:42.3; 9. Bernhard Flaschberger, DU, 29:03.8; 10. Ti Donaldson, MSU, 29:06.6

Men's 10K Classical Team Results: 1. Utah (91), 2. Colorado (90), 3. Montana State (72), 4. Alaska Anchorage (69), 5. Denver (57)

Men's Individual Notes: CU's Magnus Boee's swept both men's races of the Denver Invitational and now has three victories on the season and six in his career ... He won for the first time in the classical this year, his third career victory in the discipline ... Boee also won both races at the Maloit Park event last season, joining Rune Oedegaard (2014), Mads Stroem (2016), Alvar Alev (2019) and himself from Colorado and Denver's Moritz Madlener (2017) as skiers who have swept the races at the venue ... Boee has placed in the top five in all four events in 2021 ... Sam Hendry of Utah reached the podium for the third time this season, finishing runner-up for the second straight race ... Hendry has finished in a podium position in now seven-of-nine career races ... UAA's Sigurd Roenning finished on the podium for the second time this season (also third at RMISA Invite 10K freestyle on Jan. 17) and the 12th time in his career ... Roenning has finished in the top 10 in 15 of his last 16 races, taking six podiums in that stretch ... Zanden McMullen of MSU has placed in the top four in all four races this year, joining Boee as the only skiers to have accomplished the feat during the 2021 season ... McMullen now has seven career top-five results ... Utah's Ola Jordheim and Bjorn Riksaasen have placed in the top 10 in each of the four races this year ... With Jordheim coming in fifth, it marked his second top-five result of the season and 11th of his career.

Women's 7.5K Classical Top 10 Individual Results: 1. Astrid Stav, UAA, 25:55.2; 2. Novie McCabe, UU, 25:59.2; 3. Sydney Palmer-Leger, UU, 26:14.9; 4. Mariah Bredal, UU, 26:33.9; 5. Tuva Bygrave, UAA, 26:54.8; 6. Vera Norli, DU, 27:00.3; 7. Karianne Moe, UU, 27:10.6; 8. Julia Richter, UU, 27:12.3; 9. Ezra Smith, CU, 27:22.6; 10. Weronika Kaleta, CU, 27:34.8

Women's 7.5K Classic Team Results: 1. Utah (102), 2. Alaska Anchorage (80), 3. Colorado (70), 4. Denver (60), 5. Montana State (59)

Women's Notes: Astrid Stav of Alaska Anchorage earned her first career victory after finishing second in her previous two races, including by only 4.5 seconds in Friday's 5K freestyle ... Stav has three podiums (with a first and second in both classic races) and four top-five finishes to begin her collegiate career ... Utah freshman Novie McCabe took a podium spot for the third time to begin her career ... She has now placed second and third in the two classical races this season ... UU teammate Sydney Palmer-Leger took a podium spot as well for the third time in her first four college races after finishing third (she won the classic race on Monday at the RMISA Invite at Utah) ... The Utes Mariah Bredal has now finished in the top five in all four races this season and owns 11 such results for her career ... UAA's Tuva Bygrave picked up her second-straight top five finish after coming in third in the 5K freestyle on Friday ... Bygrave improved 10 spots from her first classic races after coming in 15th on Monday at the RMISA Invite Utah ... She now has two top-five and three top-10 finishes in her first four college events.

Denver Invitational Final Nordic Team Results (4 events): 1. Utah (376), 2. Colorado (338), 3. Alaska Anchorage (308.5), 4. Montana State (247.5), 5. Denver (236)

Denver Invitational Final Alpine Team Results (4 events): 1. Westminster (359), 2. Utah (307), 3. Montana State (281), 4. Colorado (270), 5. Alaska Anchorage (195), 6. Colorado Mountain (121), 7. Denver (71)

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