The first major ski race of the 1988-89 season produced some winners but did little toward answering questions about the University of Utah ski team, defending NCAA champions.
It did, however, show how much better the Utes could be if certain NCAA rulings go right.Katja Lesjak, a former member of the Yugoslavian National Ski Team, and Henrik Smith-Meyer, a former member of the Utah team, won their respective slalom races Sunday.
The two are not members of the Utah team but could be before the March finals roll around.
Lesjak is waiting for the NCAA to rule on her entrance requirements. In Yugoslavia, there are no college-entrance tests offered that are accepted by the NCAA. If the association waives the requirement, she will ski. The matter has been before the group for five months.
Smith-Meyer skied for the Utes for three years. Because of his age, his eligibility ended in March. A rules change before the NCAA now would give Smith-Meyer a fourth year. A vote on the matter is due in January.
If Utah Coach Pat Miller can put the two in his new lineup, his team, as he said, "Would be much stronger." That was evident in their performances Sunday.
Lesjak beat Gillian Frost and Heidi Dahlgren, both of Utah. She clocked a two-run time on the slalom course of 1:30.15, to 1:30.29 for Frost and 1:31.46 for Dahlgren.
The three finished Saturday's race in exactly the same order.
Smith-Meyer was first after one round, then widened his lead on the second by beating Oivind Ragnhuldstveit, a new face on the Utah team, and John Droege, skiing for the Utah Ski Club.
Smith-Meyer, who only had one day of gate training before the weekend event, said his strategy was to start slowly, get the rhythm and take no chances. He didn't ski that way.
"I noticed on about the fifth gate the bottom buckle on my boot had come unbuckled. It's something that makes you mad. I got mad. When you get like that you ski more aggressively," he said.
By attacking the course he widened his edge over Ragnhuldstveit to nearly two seconds - 1:23.59 to 1:25.25. Jeff Sarchett of Sun Valley, winner of Saturday's event, skied out of the course on his second run. He was about a half a second behind Smith-Meyer after the first run.
In the younger J1 class, Muffy Davis of Sun Valley was first followed by Bristol Sorensen of Park West. Heather Circo of Park City, was first in the J2 division.
For the boys, Kelly Hannah and David Kong, both of the Rowmark Academy, finished one-two in the J1.