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BOZEMAN, Mont.—The University of Colorado ski team finished third but more than any meet this season were in the hunt for the title until the end and came up just short as the 2020 RMISA Championships came to a close Saturday here with classic races at Crosscut Mountain and slalom races at Bridger Bowl.

The Buffs entered the day in third but just 6.5 points behind Utah and a half-point behind Denver. When it all setted, Denver swept the women’s slalom race in dramatic fashion to win the championship with 688 points to Utah’s 678 while the Buffs took third with 643.5. There was then almost 200 points to fourth place with Montana State finishing fourth with 449 points and Alaska Anchorage fifth with 427.

The good news for both the Buffs and Pioneers is Utah is coming off one of the most dominant regular seasons in RMISA history, scoring three of the top four point totals under the current scoring system on its way to three blowout wins at the CU, DU and Utah Invitationals. Now, heading to the postseason, things will get even more interesting because teams can only travel with a maximum of 12 skiers for the NCAA Championships, now less than two weeks away.

Action got underway in the men’s 20K classic race, and the Buffs and Utes battled it out early while Denver struggled a bit. Senior Ryan Jackson finished second in a sprint for the individual championship, just a half-second behind race winner Ola Jordheim from Utah. Utah skierse took third and fourth, then freshman Magnus Boee finished fifth and junior Sondre Bollum sixth, giving the Utes and Buffs the top six finishers. Denver’s top skeir was ninth and the Buffs found themselves 18.5 points behind Utah and 31.5 head of Denver.

In the women’s 15K classic race, the Pioneers got back into the thick of things by finishing first and second. Junior Hedda Baangman then took third, leading a group of six skiers from Colorado and Utah from third to eighth. Freshman Anna-Maria Dietze finished fifth and senior Anne Siri Lervik eighth. The overall race tightened back up with Utah leading with 517 points followed by CU (501.5) and Denver (480).

As can happen in slalom, some teams get luckier than others. Even with Filip Forejtek, who continued his brilliant late-season skiing with a second place, he finished just one-hundredth of a second out of first place, the closest he’s been to winning a race in his career. Behind Forejtek, Joey Young was 12th and Teddy Takki 15th. The Buffs were a little down, moving behind Denver into third, but not out as all three teams were within 23.5 points, with Utah (597) leading and Denver (577) and CU (573.5) still within 3.5 points with one race remaining.

The bad luck continued for the Buffs in the women’s race. Aside from Stef Fleckenstein’s fourth place finish, Mikaela Tommy was going all-out on her second run trying to get on the podium and made a mistake, finishing 16th. Andrea Arnold was 13th and Kaitlyn Harsh 17th. CU’s other three skiers didn’t finish the first run.

“As it goes in slalom sometimes, one team can be extremely lucky and others not as lucky,” CU Coach Richard Rokos said. “It’s not a matter of preparation, we just weren’t as lucky. In the end, DU had a great day on both sides and swept the podium in the women’s race, getting ahead of Utah. Filip and Stef had two solid runs. Mikaela was charging, trying to take a podium, and our other women had some bad luck in the first run. In the end, coming to NCAAs at the same place, this was still a good way to see what our potential is. Hopefully we got all of the bad luck out of the way and we’ll take the positive side from here on out.”

TEAM STANDINGS (FINAL): 1. Denver 688; 2. Utah 678; 3. Colorado 643.5; 4. Montana State, 449; 5. Alaska Anchorage 427; 6. Westminster 268.5; 7. Alaska Fairbanks 182; 8. Colorado Mountain 110.

WOMEN’S 15K CLASSIC (30 collegiate finishers)—1. Eveliina Piippo, DU, 46:11.7; 2. Vera Norli, DU, 46:42.9; 3. Hedda Baangman, CU, 47:08.4; 4. Leah Lange, UU, 47:19.4; 5. Anna-Maria Dietze, CU, 47:40.4; 6. Mariah Bredal, UU, 47:54.4; 7. Karianna Moe, UU, 48:00.1; 8. Anne Siri Lervik, CU, 48:04.1; 9. Natalie Hynes, UAA, 48:16.5; 10. Guro Jordheim, UU, 48:19.5. Other CU Finishers: 14. Ezra Smith, 49:36.0; 18. Quinn Lehmkuhl, 51:06.3; 21. Bridget Donovan, 52:12.6.

MEN’S 20K CLASSIC (30 collegiate finishers)—1. Ola Jordheim, UU, 56:15.7; 2. Ryan Jackson, 56:16.2; 3. Bjorn Riksaasen, UU, 56:30.9; 4. Maximillan Bie, UU, 56:43.3; 5. Magnus Boee, CU, 56:51.8; 6. Sondre Bollum, CU, 58:10.0; 7. Sigurd Roenning, UAA, 58:13.2; 8. Espen Persen, UAA, 58:25.3; 9. Bernhard Flaschberger, DU, 58:32.1; 10. Tristan Sayre, UAF, 58:32.9. Other CU Finishers: 24. Tyler Terranova, 1:01:40.9; 25. Wyatt Gebhardt, 1:01:40.1. Did Not Start: Andrew Potyk

WOMEN’S SLALOM (22 collegiate finishers)—1. Amelia Smart, DU, 1:53.24; 2. Storm Klomhaus, DU, 1:54.17; 3. Katie Hensien, DU, 1:54.29; 4. Stef Fleckenstein, CU, 1:54.67; 5. Andrea Komsic, DU, 1:54.91; 6. Kathryn Parker, UU, 1:55.75; 7. Eleri Smart, DU, 1:55.86; 8. Kaitlyn Vesterstein, UU, 1:56.42; 9. Sona Moravcikova, UU, 1:56.64; 10. Tegan Wold, MSU, 1:57.04. Other CU Finishers: 13. Andrea Arnold, 1:58.64; 16. Mikaela Tommy, 1:59.90; 17. Kaitlyn Harsch, 2:00.05. Did Not Finish First Run: Emma Hammergaard, Olivia Gerrard, Isabelle Fidjeland.

MEN’S SLALOM (30 collegiate finishers)—1. Tobias Kogler, DU, 1:48.55; 2. Filip Forejtek, CU, 1:48.56; 3. Simon Fournier, 1:49.16; 4. Gustav Voello, UU, 1:49.35; 5. Joachim Lein, UU, 1:49.39; 6. Joachim Mjelde, WMC, 1:49.78; 7. Mikkel Solbakken, WMC, 1:49.85; 8. Cole Puckett, DU, 1:49.87; 9. Louis Muhlen-Schulte, MSU, 1:50.10; 10. Aage Solheim, MSU, 1:50.16. Other CU Finishers: Joey Young, 1:50.52; 15. Teddy Takki, 1:51.12; 17. Max Bervy, 1:51.34; 21. Alex Birkner, 1:52.16; 27. Bobby Ryan, 1:53.03.

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