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College roundup: No. 1 Cougars beat USC again; Utes take Denver Invitational title

Combined reports

Published: Saturday, Jan. 21 2012 11:32 p.m. MST

The Utes took the DU Invite crown with a total of 902 points, 57 points ahead of runner-up Colorado. Utah led the way in the Nordic competition with 446 points and was second in the men's 15K freestyle rankings with 124 points as three Utes were among the top 10 competitors.

"This was another great weekend for the University of Utah ski team," Utah Head Nordic coach Abi Holt said. "I'm really proud of how this group has managed their race and recovery efforts through this challenging first-race period. It's fantastic to see so many of our athletes posting top-10 finishes and it's just good fun to watch Miles and Didrik battle one another for the podium positions. Now we're all looking forward to 10 days at home before we head to Alaska."

Smith led the way for the Utes with his third podium finish out of four races during the first two weekends this season. The Bekkestua, Norway native turned in a second-place effort, just .6 seconds ahead of teammate Miles Havlick. Smith has now finished in the top three in two straight races and four times during his career at Utah.

"Today was another great day for the team," Smith said. "Miles and I stayed in the lead pack during the whole race, and we were in the hunt for the win. It's nice to be up there and know that you are in good shape. Racing in such a high altitude is always hard, and it did not help that the course was really hard. I'm proud to be a Ute today."

Havlick, the reigning RMISA Men's Nordic Skier of the Week, was the third skier to cross the finish line and has been on the podium four straight times to start this year. Havlick, a Boulder, Colo., native, has finished third or better 12 times in his Ute career and has been second or higher 10 times.

Tom Smith was the third Ute to finish 10th or better as he took seventh place for the second consecutive race. He has taken 10th or better three times this year and eight times in his Utah career.

Senior Rolf Figi placed 22nd.

Utah's women's skiers were sixth in the 10K freestyle race with 84 points as Rose Kemp was the lone Ute in the top 10. Kemp, a Boise, Idaho native, set the pace for the Utes in seventh place. She has finished 10th or higher six times over her career and in all four races to start the 2012 season.

Junior Parker Tyler followed with a 15th-place effort, while her classmate Mali Noyes joined her among the top 20 with a 19th-place finish.

The Utah ski team will take next weekend off before heading to the Alaska Anchorage Invitational (Nordic — Feb. 4 and 6; Alpine — Feb. 8 and 10) and the Seawolf Invitational (Nordic — Feb. 9 and 10; Alpine — Feb. 9 and 11).

USU GYMNASTICS: At Denton, Texas, a night of career-highs helped the Utah State gymnastics team come away from a quad-meet hosted by Texas Woman's University in a close-call third place finish Saturday night. No. 10 University of Oklahoma came away as the winners of the meet with a final score of 197.450. Host TWU finished in second place with 192.425, just a tenth of a point ahead of the Aggies' 192.325. Centenary College finished in fourth-place with 191.400.

Taking second in all-around competition, freshman Sarah Landes set a new career-high in all but one event, and bested her previous all-around score, for a total of 38.925. Junior Amelia Montoya beat her career-high on the uneven parallel bars, notching a score of 9.800, to finish tied for fifth as the highest scoring Aggie in the event. She also set a new high on the vault with a 9.750, to earn a final of 38.300 in the all-around competition. Sophomore Paige Jones set a new career-high in her all-around with 38.525, boosted by placed fifth on vault with a team-leading 9.825. Jones was fifth in the all-around while Montoya was sixth. Junior Amanda Watamaniuk also earned a personal best on the vault, landing a 9.675.

Landes was the highest-placing USU gymnast on beam, tying for seventh with a 9.750 while Jones was the top Aggie on floor, tying for eighth with a 9.800.

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