(Editor’s note: Montana State athletics release)
BOZEMAN – The Montana State ski team, competing in two separate races this weekend, sits in second place at the Utah Invitational following the alpine events at Snowbasin, and fourth in its own meet following the Nordic classical races at West Yellowstone.
At Utah, the Bobcat alpine skiers were guided by its women’s contingent as three MSU racers posted top 10 finishes led by Jocelyn McCarthy, who was runner-up in slalom with a total of 1:31.24.
Also placing in the top 10 were Kari Hole, eighth, 1:32.31, and Stephanie Gartner, tenth, 1:32.54. Mia Henry, 14th, 1:34.06, and Amanda Stelling, 22nd, 1:41.21 completed MSU’s day. Bobcat senior Benni Lyche did not finish her first run.
Morten Bakke paced the Montana State men’s squad finishing third overall in 1:19.04. He was followed by Garret Driller, ninth, 1:19.42, Addison Dvoracek, 24th, 1:22.30, and Patrick Carry, 26th, 1:22.77. Jeffrey Bell did not finish his second run.
Denver sits atop the team standings with 329 points, followed by MSU 293.5, Colorado 273, New Mexico 258, Utah 239.5, Westminster 224, Alaska Anchorage 176 and 71.
After a four-day hiatus, the Montana State Invitational started again with the Nordic classical races.
Montana State’s highest finish came via Erik Axelsson, who finished the 10-kilometer race in eighth place with a clocking of 28:06.6. He was followed by Eli Jensen, 11th, 28:29.1, Karsten Hokanson, 12th, 28:50.9, Noah Andersen, 18th, 29:12.1, and Martin Muan, 21st, 29:47.7.
“Erik Axelsson continued to show his exceptional strength after coming off an injury that kept him off skis all last season,” said MSU Nordic head coach Matthew Johnson. “He is on a very specific training plan so he can be his fastest at the NCAA Championships in March. Despite not looking as sharp as the top three guys, placing eighth shows his fitness is right where we would like it at this point in the season. Eli Jensen also had a great race and we are happy to see such promising results from a young skier on this incredibly competitive circuit.”
The MSU women packed well to record 66 points in the five-kilometer event.
The Cats were led by Anna Fake, who placed ninth in 16:11.7. She was followed by Kathleen O’Connell, tenth, 16:12.3, Johanna Taliharm, 11th, 16:15.6, Emma Tarbath, 12th, 16:19.9, and Jordi Floyd, 13th, 16:21.4.
“On the women’s side, our young team showed their depth by placing ninth through 13th, which was great to see,” Johnson stated. “Now they can build on that as a team in the mass start freestyle and going forward to continue working together to pick off racers and move our pack up further towards the top of the results sheet.”
Colorado leads the MSU Invitational with 494 points and are followed by Utah 428.5, Denver 420, MSU 404, New Mexico 318, Alaska Anchorage 309, Westminster 193.5, Alaska Fairbanks 103, Colorado Mountain College 71 and Wyoming 47.
“Overall, I’m really happy with how the team skied,” Johnson said. “We have been racing on really hard tracks all season so having some new, softer snow was an adjustment for all the racers and our team adapted well to the different style of racing.”
The MSU Invitational concludes on Sunday with the freestyle races, while the Utah Invitational will see the Nordic events Jan. 18-19 in West Yellowstone.