Big Sky, Montana --- The University of New Mexico had a lot of good news and a little bad news at the2014 Giant Slalom NCAA Qualifier hosted by Montana State University. The good was Mateja Robnik, who improved on her fifth place showing in the giant slalom a week ago with a solid third place run with a combined 2:00.31, putting her in great shape to qualify for NCAAs.
Armin Triendl and Sam Horner finished eighth and ninth respectively on the men’s side, with Horner showing vast improvement from the Pat Miller Invitational last week. In Utah, Horner finished his combined runs at 2:04.23, finishing 25th, but up at the Big Sky Ski Resort, he shaved over five seconds, coming in at 1:58.73 and finishing ninth.
Overall UNM sent six men down the hill, with Michael Bansmer finishing tied for 17th, Juho-Pekka Penttinen finishing 20th, Scott Snow finishing 25th and Mark Miller finishing 29th. Bansmer and Miller did not score in the giant slalom at the Pat Miller Invitational.
The lone not so good news was a brilliant first run by Caroline Mykelbust in the first go getting undone by missing a gate in her second run, giving her a DNF. Her opening run of 59.11 was the second-best of the first round and she almost assuredly would have finished in the top five, if not first overall.
While Mykelbust had the unfortunate miss of the gate, it doesn’t detract from her best single run of the season. “It does happen a lot in the alpine races unfortunately,” said head coach Fredrik Landstedt, “but Karoline had a great first run and she is just a freshman, which is exciting for us.”
For Robnik, the run continues a hot start that saw her pick up a fifth place finish in the giant slalom in Utah. Robnik’s 50.5 points at the Pat Miller were second only to Mykelbust’s 56, and should put UNM in good position for the full slate of the Montana State Invitational, which begins on Saturday.
Along with Robnik and Mykelbust, UNM got a 13th place run from Sydney Staples, an 18th place run from Taylor Grauer and a 22nd place finish out of Courtney Altringer.
On Saturday, the Montana State Invitational will begin with the giant slalom and the Nordic classic events. The giant slalom will begin at 10 a.m. Mountain Time at Big Sky Ski Resort, the nation’s largest ski and snowboard resort, and the Nordic races begin at 9:30 a.m. at Bohart Ranch.