DONNER SUMMIT, Calif. â€” A record Nordic performance and a sixth win from its star sophomore skier carried the University of Colorado ski team to the title here Friday in the 2006 RMISA Championships/NCAA West Regional.
Colorado, ranked second in the nation, claimed its first NCAA west title since 2002, as the Buffaloes amassed 577 points to defeat runner-up New Mexico by nearly 30 points. The Lobos took second with 547Â½, edging top-ranked and defending NCAA champion Denver (533). Alaska-Anchorage (465Â½) and Utah (373) rounded out the top five in the 10-team meet.
Colorado’s Nordic teams paved the way for the Buffaloes to win regional title, as they earned 322 points, their most since the current scoring format was adopted in 1998.
â€œWe’ve been waiting for this for a while, and it came to us in a big way,â€ CU head coach Richard Rokos said. â€œWe can savor this for the rest of the weekend, but our goal always has been and is to win the national championship.â€
In the women’s 5-kilometer classical race, senior Jana Rehemaa won for the third straight outing, as she cruised to an 18-second win in a time of 16:46.54. She captured both events in the Western State Invitational two weeks ago, with Thursday’s victory not only being her third consecutive, but also the third of her career. CU sophomore Maria Grevsgaard finished second in 15:04.67
In the men’s 10-kilometer version, senior Henrik Hoye earned the first win of his career, skiing around the course in a 26:24.96 time. That was good for a five-plus second win over Denver’s John Stene, who was timed in 26:30.38. CU Sophomore Kit Richmond finished third in 26:39.65.
In the women’s 15-kilometer freestyle race, CU senior Jana Rehemaa continued her dominant run as she won her fourth consecutive event by almost a minute over Denver’s Anna-Karin Maeki.
â€œI’m just skiing,â€ a modest Rehemaa said. â€œTraining was good last summer and fall, and it’s paying off with the results. It took me a while to get back into things (after attempting to qualify in January for the Estonia Olympic team). I didn’t feel so good (in Steamboat at CU’s meet in January), but I am feeling better now. It always feels good to win.
â€œWe still have one more meet, we’ll try to keep things up,â€ she added. â€œI think we are peaking at the right time, the girls have been consistent and the guys are getting better. It looks pretty good for us (at NCAA’s) but we’re not taking things for granted. It’s a new day every day, and we have stay on top of our training.â€
In the men’s 20k freestyle, New Mexico’s Dirk Grimm won in sprint finish, edging CU's Erling Christiansen by a half-second. In a classic battle to the finish, the top four skiers in the race, were separated by just 1.7 second after 12.4 miles of skiing.
Next up are the NCAA Championships, set for Steamboat Springs March 8-11. The University of Colorado is the host institution for the event, which returns to the state of Colorado for the first time since Steamboat played host in 1993.
Source: CU Press release
RMISA CHAMPIONSHIPS/NCAA WEST REGIONAL TEAM SCORESâ€”1. Colorado 577; 2. New Mexico 547Â½; 3. Denver 533; 4. Alaska-Anchorage 465Â½; 5. Utah 373; 6. Montana State 345; 7. Nevada 336Â½ ; 8. Western State 226Â½; 9. Whitman 216; 10. Boise State 66.
Women’s 15K Freestyleâ€”1. Jana Rehemaa, CU, 42:47.9; 2. Anna-Karin Maeki, DU, 43:44.8; 3. Nicole Naef, Utah, 43:49.1; 4. Kristin Soenstegaard, CU, 43:50.7; 5. Kasandra Rice, UAA, 43:53.4; 6. Marit Rognmo, UNM, 43:55.4; 7. Crystin Jaques, UNM, 43:56.5; 8. Laura Valaas, WC, 44:04.2; 9. Lenka Palanova, CU, 44.44.3; 10. Ashley McQueen, Utah, 44:54.7. Other CU Results: 11. Maria Grevsgaar d, 45:12.1; 24. Mia Gaw, 47:12.8.
Men’s 20K Freestyleâ€”1. Dirk Grimm, UNM, 49:59.8; 2. Erling Christiansen, CU, 50:00.3; 3. Geir-Endre Rogn, UNM, 50:01.4; 4. Kit Richmond, CU, 50:01.5; 5. Henrik Hoye, CU, 50:08.9; 6. John Stene, DU, 50:09.78; 7. Kjetil Dammen, UAA, 50:11.5; 8. Benjamin Sonntag, UAA, 50:12.7; 9. Lutz Preussler, UNR, 51:41.5; 10. Jedd Young, UNM, 51:42.6. Other CU Results: 14. Garrett Reid, 52:08.1; 15. Nick Sterling, 52:14.2; 29. Joaquin Goodpaster, 54:33.2.
Women’s 5K Classicalâ€”1. Jana Rehemaa, CU, 14:46.54; 2. Maria Grevsgaard, CU, 15:04.67; 3. Kasandra Rice, UAA, 15:18.12; 4. Anna-Karin Maeki, DU, 15:22.47; 5. Marit Rognmo, UNM, 15:27.39; 6. Crystin Jaques, UNM, 15:37.11; 7. Ingvild Engesland, DU, 15:38.14; 8. Laura Valaas, WC, 15:41.53; 9. Mandy Bowden, MSU, 15:53.85; 10. Lenka Palanova, CU, 15:55.80. Other CU Results: 12. Kristin Soenstegaard, 15:57.48; 27. Mia Gaw, 16:41.75.
Men’s 10K Classicalâ€”1. Henrik Hoye, CU, 26:24.96; 2. John Stene, DU, 26:30.38; 3. Kit Richmond, CU, 26:39.65; 4. Geir-Endre Rogn, UNM, 26:43.40; 5. Dirk Grimm, UNM, 27:13.20; 6. Rene Reisshauer, DU, 27:16.90; 7. Haavard Selseng, DU, 27:34.69; 8. Erling Christiansen, CU, 27:49.03; 9. Kjetil Dammen, UAA, 28:16.01; 10. Benjamin Sonntag, UAA, 28:16.11. Other CU Results: 11. Nick Sterling, 28:21.66; 12. Joaquin Goodpaster, 28:24.49; 17. Garrett Reid, 28:43.64.
FULL RMISA Results: http://rmisa.org/results2006.asp
Photos from Mark Nadell, Far West Nordic