Big Sky, Mont. --- The University of New Mexico got a pair of podium finishes from Mats Resaland and Eva Severrus on a day that would make a polar think twice about going outside, as the Lobos ended the day tied for second at the Montana State Invitational.
Denver, which finished second to Utah at the Pat Miller Invitational last weekend, sits comfortably in first place with 391 points. UNM and Utah are in a deadlock at 271 for second, and Colorado is lurking just behind in fourth with 250.5. There are nine teams at the Invitational.
On the men’s side, Resaland improved on a pair of sixth place finishes in Utah with a 30:53.1 run over the 10K course in brutal conditions. Skiers on all the squads had to deal with steady winds of 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 50, making for a harrowing day. Still Resaland picked up a third top10 finish of the season, and it was his second runner-up finish in his last three meets after finishing runner-up in the 10K at the NCAAs last year.
Aku Nikander, coming off a title in the 30K at the Pat Miller Invitational, finished 11th, and Aljaz Praznik finished 15th. Caleb Krueger didn’t score but finished 28th.
On the women’s side, Eva Severrus again showed why she is a key mid-year addition with a second third place finish in three races. Severrus covered the 5K course in a swift 17:30.7 in the Classic format. Anni Nord had a third top 10 finish on the season, matching her total from her first two seasons, and Anna Daudert finished 17th.
In the women’s giant slalom, Sydney Staples lept from 13th at the Pat Miller giant slalom all the way to fourth at MSU, easily the rookie’s best run this season. Courtney Altringer finished 11th and Taylor Grauer 15th as UNM saw both Karoline Mykelbust and Mateja Robnik both get a DNF in their first runs.
Armin Triendl was the top finisher for the men with a ninth place combined run. Juho-Pekka Penttinen finished 18th and Sean Horner was 21st. Scott Snow and Mark Miller finished 28th and 32nd respectively, with Michael Basmer getting a DNF.
“Mats skied very well finishing second, tying his best college result” said head coach Fredrik Landstedt. “Eva once again skied very well and finished third. Two Nordic skiers on the podium is something we have not seen in a few years and this was in very hard conditions. Sydney finishing fourth in the alpine race is just awesome. Courtney also had a great race and Armin had a normal race for him finishing close to top 10. He is a great college skier always getting down and always finishing close to the top. Overall a good day but we can do better.”
Of course, weather may be an issue tomorrow, with high winds and snow in the forecast.