BIG SKY, Mont. --- Eva Severrus, who pretty much showed up from Slovenia and got on a bus to ski for the University of New Mexico, is making quite an impact for the Lobos in Nordic competition.
Severrus had a third consecutive third-place finish, this time in the women’s 10K freestyle, as New Mexico finished in third place at the Montana State Invitational. The Lobos were just two points away from second-place Utah.
Denver won the Invitational with 737 points, easily ahead of Utah and New Mexico. The Utes had 557 points; UNM finished with 555 points. Colorado was fourth with 496.5 points. Overall, nine teams were entered in the meet. UNM’s 286 Nordic points were second in the meet.
Severrus wasn’t the only highlight for UNM, but she quickly is showing the potential to be one of the nation’s top impact rookies in Nordic. After finishing 16th in her first event, the 10K freestyle on Jan. 4 at Soldier Hollow in Utah, Severrus has three straight third-place finishes. She was edged out by Denver’s Sylvia Nordskar for second, but she picked up a team-leading third podium finish.
While Severrus is taking the main headlines, the rest of the Nordic squad is keeping place. Anni Nord, a junior who has qualified for back-to-back NCAA meets, had three top-10 finishes in her first two years at UNM. On Sunday, she picked up her fourth top-10 result in the first four races, finishing a season-high sixth place, which is her third best career finish.
Andrea Lee, who missed Saturday’s 5K Classic due to an illness, gutted out a 17th-place finish, and Anna Daudert finished 22nd.
In the men’s 10K freestyle, Aku Nikander again served up a top-10 finish, picking up sixth place; Mats Resaland had a fourth top-10 finish this season, coming in ninth. For Nikander, it was a nice jump from Saturday when he fell to 11th in the 10K Classic.
Rounding out the men’s finishers for UNM was Aljaz Praznik in 21st and Caleb Krueger in 26th.
UNM also got a pair of top-10 finishes in both the women’s slalom and the men’s giant slalom. Mateja Robnik and Karoline Mykelbust finished fourth and sixth, respectively, once again showcasing that UNM’s women might be one of the nation’s best teams.
“They are two of the top collegiate alpine women in the country and they are making our alpine women’s team one of the best,” said head coach Fredrik Landstedt. “On the men's side, Juho-Pekka was sixth and Mark eighth, which are both great results for them. Overall, I am very happy with how we are skiing right now.”
Juho-Pekka Penttinen had a season-best finish with a sixth-place effort -- his second top 10 -- and Mark Miller had his first top 10 of the season and third of his career with an eighth-place finish. Scott Snow finished 16th, Armin Triendl was 18th and Michael Bansmer was 28th.
The Lobos are now off until the end of the month, when they travel to compete in the Colorado/Spencer Nelson Memorial Invitational Jan. 31 through Feb. 3.