Lobos Lead Day 1 of Jade Enterprises/UNM Inv. as Penttinen wins slalom
RED RIVER, N.M. --- Juho-Pekka Penttinen won the Jade Enterprises/UNM Invitational slalom as a freshman in 2011. Three years later, he picked up his second career title, winning the same race as a senior, leading the Lobos to the top of the leader board after day one of the Jade Enterprises/UNM Invitational.
The Lobos have a 21-point lead on the Colorado Buffaloes through the men’s and women’s slalom, and the men’s and women’s classical Nordic races. The leader board is tight, with New Mexico (315), Colorado (294), Denver (288) and Utah (285) all within 30 points of each other entering the final day.
For the Lobos, it was a pair of podium finishes in the slalom that skyrocketed them into the lead. Penttinen, who struggled to a 24th-place finish last week in Colorado, earned the win with a combined time of 1:32.88, edging out his own teammate, Sean Horner. Defeating Horner hasn’t been an easy task lately.
Horner finished at 1:33.02, and it’s his fourth consecutive top five finish, and he second straight runner-up finish after finishing second in the giant slalom in the RMISA qualifier at the Spencer Nelson/CU Invitational. Westminster’s Nikolai Narvestad was third.
In the women’s slalom, UNM’s Mateja Robnik continued her torrid pace with another podium finish, coming in third, giving her seven top 10 finishes this season. Karoline Myklebust, who has struggled a bit with five DNFs handled her home course with ease, finishing fourth, giving her four top 10 finishes and three in the slalom. Westminster’s Tonje Sekse won the slalom and Colorado’s Jessica Honkonen was second.
“Awesome day for the alpine team and a pretty good day for Nordic,” said head coach Fredrik Landstedt. “It was very exciting to see the men finish 1-2 and the women 3-4. Sean continues to surprise and showing some great skiing. Ponders win was awesome.” Ponders is Penttinen’s nickname.
Down from the mountain was the Nordic competition, and it was the same old story for the women’s 5K classical for UNM; a podium finish for Eva Severrus and a top 10 for Anni Nord. Severrus finished second at 20:09.6, 17.3 seconds behind winning Sylvia Nordskar of Denver and ahead of Marine Dusser of Alaska-Anchorage, who was third.
Severrus’ podium finishes have been backed up every time by Nord, who now has seven top-10 finishes in seven races this season after completing the 5K course in eighth place. Andrea Lee was 17th to round out UNM’s scoring.
On the men’s side, the 10K was won by Alaska-Anchorage’s Lukas Ebner, with Utah’s Niklas Persson in second and Denver’s Trygve Markset in third. Mats Resaland finished eighth to lead UNM, his fourth top-10 in four classical this season. Aku Nikander finished 10th, giving him six top 10s in seven races. Aljaz Praznik rounded out the Lobo scorers, finishing 15th.
“In Nordic, Eva had a great race once again and Anni skied solid in eighth. Andrea was a little bit farther back than we like to see. The men all had slow starts and never really got into the race. They had solid finishes but it didn’t lead to many team points. We are hoping that the Nordic men can step it up tomorrow.”
The Jade Enterprises/UNM Invitational concludes on Saturday with the Nordic freestyle and the giant slalom, both being held at Red River.