PARK CITY, Utah – Senior Philippe Forejtek picked up his third podium of the young season and freshmen Jacob Dilling and Elena Exenberger also finished in the top 10 in giant slalom races here on Monday as Utah Invitational action resumed for the Colorado Buffaloes ski team.
The men’s team placed five skiers in the top 21, but unfortunately for the women, Exenberger was the lone finisher, which hurt the team. Still, the Buff remained in third place in team scoring and are just 23 points behind second-place Alaska Anchorage with six of eight races now complete in the competition that began Jan. 2.
Utah leads the way with 510 points with UAA in second at 434 for a 76-point lead. The second through fifth teams are then 70 points clear with Colorado (411), Denver (381) and Montana State (364) all within striking distance of the Seawolves.
In finishing second, Forejtek not only notched his third podium in five races this season, but he now has 16 career podium finishes, tied for fifth in UC history for male alpine skiers. More importantly, he virtually guaranteed a top-10 bib at the NCAA championships with his second podium finish in the discipline. Dilling finished sixth for the best result of his young career and notched his fourth top 10 finish in his first five collegiate races. CU placed five in the top 21 in the men’s race with Max Bervy taking 14th, Alex Birker 18th and Bobby Ryan 21st.
Exenberger, like Dilling, also notched the best result of her young career in eighth place, her first collegiate top-10 performance as the only finisher in the women’s race for the Buffs. The Buffs weren’t alone as only 20 collegiate skiers finished the race out of the 32 who started it.
Dilling and Exenberger also picked up victories that day with their best finishes of the season. Being new to college skiing, both are climbing the starting lists and Wednesday’s results will also help them in the NCAA qualifying standings.
WHAT THIS MEANS: More important than the team’s score at this point in the season is that the young skiers continue to strive to improve their rankings for the NCAA starting lists and qualifiers. Several buffs accomplish this feat. Dilling and Exenberger getting into the top 10 will help on both fronts. Forejtek’s second GS podium essentially locks him into the top seed of the NCAA Championships, as the top five in each discipline in the West and top five in the East are drawn for the top 10 championship bibs. . The Buffs can also still push UAA for a second-place finish with a strong day of slalom racing on Wednesday.
FOLLOWING: The Alpine teams wrap up six days of racing in the final eight days on Tuesday, a whirlwind start to the season that included competing in three different team competitions over that span. Wednesday’s slalom action in Park City will wrap up the Utah Invitational and mark the halfway point of the alpine season in terms of race count. Alpine teams will take three and a half weeks off before the Denver Invitational resumes just before the RMISA Championships.
- The Buffs scored 105 points that day and remained in third place in the Utah Invitational with 411 points.
- The men’s team scored 82 points, just two behind Montana State’s total of 84, thanks to Forejtek (37 points), Dilling (27) and Bervy (18).
- Exenberger was CU’s lone finisher that day and scored 23 points for her eighth-place finish.
INDIVIDUAL WOMEN’S NOTES:
- Elena Exenberger finished eighth, scoring his first career top 10. She has now finished three of five races in her debut season and finished between eighth and 15th in all three races. She now has two GS finishes, eighth and 12th, which is a good basis for NCAA qualifying as she will be looking to improve on that ranking when the season resumes.
- Kaitlyn Harsch started his first races of the season but had a DNF. It was his 33rd career start.
- Emma Hammergaard and Cleo Braun both did not finish the race and Katie Fleckenstein missed the race after not finishing Sunday’s GS race.
INDIVIDUAL NOTES FOR MEN
- Philippe Forejtek finished second, his third podium of the season and second in GS. He now has a win and a second-place finish in the GS, securing his NCAA qualification and likely landing a top 10 finish for the NCAA Championships.
- Forejtek now has 16 career podium finishes, tied for 16th in CU history. He also ranks tied for 12th for male skiers and fifth for male alpine skiers in UC history.
- In its last 21 completed races, Forejtek has finished in the top 10 in every race with 15 podium finishes during that time.
- He now has nine GS podium appearances, tied for third in CU history with Ola Johansen. Only John Walsh (12) and Niklas Scherrer (10) have more GS podiums than CU.
- Jacob Dilling finished sixth, the best result of his young career. He finished the five races to open his career with four top-10 finishes, including Monday’s sixth place as well as an eighth and two 10th places. He now has sixth and eighth place finishes in GS races, a strong start for NCAA qualifying.
- Max Bervy finished 14th for his 16th career top 20. It was his best GS result of the season and his second best overall with a 13th-place finish in slalom at the Bridger Bowl on Saturday. He has three top-20 GS finishes this season in three races, matching the total he had at the start of the season in 17 career races.
- Alex Birker finished tied for 18th, his best result of the season and his first top-20 performance. He finished all five races and in the last two finished 22nd and 18th. It marks his fourth career top 20 GS and his 11th top 20 overall.
- Bobby Ryan finished 21st and missed a top 20 finish by just a hundredth of a second. This is his best result of the season.
- Joey Young and Chase Seymour the two did not finish the race. Louis Fausa didn’t make it after sustaining an injury in Sunday’s GS race. Young did not finish, but the race was the 54th of his career, just two from the farthest by a CU alpine skier since 1989.
Utah Invitational Team Results (Through 6 of 8 races): 1. Utah 510; 2. Alaska Anchorage 434; 3. Colorado 411; 4.Denver 381; 5. State of Montana 364; 6.Alaska Fairbanks 224; 7.Westminster 137; 8.Wyoming 97; 9. Colorado Mountain 68.
Women’s Giant Slalom (20 college grads): 1. Katie Hensien, DU, 2:03.76; 2. Nellie Talbot, MSU, 2:05.02; 3. Hanna Saethereng, WMC, 2:05.27; 4. Katie Parker, UU, 2:06.56; 5. Sona Moravcikova, UU, 2:07.64; 6. Denise Dingsleder, WMC, 2:08.68; 7. Alyssa Hill, SAU, 2:09.31; 8. Elena Exenberger, CU, 2:09.46; 9. Claire Timmermann, UU, 2:09.56; 10. Kristiane Bekkestad, MSU, 2:09.59. Other CU skiers: Did not complete the first run: Emma Hammergaard, Kaitlyn Harsch. Did not complete the second run: Cleo Braun.
Men’s Giant Slalom (31 collegiate finishers): 1. Riley Seger, MSU, 2:00.06; 2. Philippe Forejtek, CU, 2:01.29; 3. Tobias Kogler, DU, 2:01.49; 4. Gustav Voello, UU, 2:02.12; 5. Joachim Lein, UU, 2:02.16; 6. Jacob Dilling, CU, 2:02.17; 8. Joachim Mjelde, WMC, 2:02.58; 9. Cooper Cornelius, DU, 2:02.82; 10. Jamie Casselman, USM, 2:03.31. Other CU finishers: 14. Max Bervy, 2:03.95; t-18. Alex Birker, 2:04.72; 21. Bobby Ryan, 2:04.96. Did not complete the first run: Joey Young, Chase Seymour.