SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah ski team opened its 2012 season in impressive style, winning both the Colorado and Denver invitationals.
Utah opened its season at the Colorado Invitational, finishing first in the team standings with 896 points, 24 points ahead of runner-up Colorado. The team win was the first for the Utes since taking the Utah Invitational crown on Jan. 12, 2008.
The Utes took the Denver Invite crown last Sunday with a total of 902 points, 60 points ahead of the runner-up Buffaloes.
"Each individual result motivates the entire team," Utah director of skiing Kevin Sweeney said. "We are a very tight group. In the past two RMISA Invites, I have seen some of the best work ethic, race preparation and race execution in my coaching career. The results are very impressive, especially when you note how we have scored well in each discipline. I believe one main reason we are seeing this early success is that we all took fall training seriously, in and out of the strength room with [assistant strength and conditioning coach] Kenny [Ruffino], and we also had a lot of fun with it."
The last time Utah won back-to-back meets was during the 2003 season, beginning with the RMISA Regional in Winter Park, Colo., followed by the NCAA Championships in Hanover, N.H., where the Utes picked up their 11th national title in school history.
Utah's start to this season is even more impressive when considering that at the beginning of the 2003 season, the Utes won their first meet, the Montana Invitational, but took second in the next event, the Utah/Alaska-WinterGames Invitational.
This is also Utah's first season with multiple wins since 2008.
In addition to two team victories in two meets this season, six different Utes have taken first place thus far.
Junior Nick Cohee, a Gardnerville, Nev., native, and Julie Bordeau, of Mrozine, France, have posted two victories apiece for the Utes. Cohee won the giant slalom at the CU Invite then won the GS at the DU Invite. Bordeau picked up two slalom victories.
Other wins include Tii-Maria Romar in the giant slalom at Denver as well as Didrik Smith in the men's 10k freestyle at the CU Invite and Parker Tyler picked up her first career victory in the 5k classical at Denver.
Smith and junior Miles Havlick both earned second- and third-place finishes at the DU Invite and the duo has combined for seven appearances on the podium already this season to help the Utes earn first place in the Nordic events at the DU Invite with 446 points. The Nordic team finished third at CU with 427.
Smith led the way with a second-place effort in the men's 15k freestyle last Sunday, which was his third podium finish out of four races during the first two weekends this season. He finished just .6 seconds ahead of Havlick and has now finished in the top three in two straight races and four times during his career at Utah. Havlick was third in Saturday's 10k Classical event.
Havlick finished as the runner-up on Saturday in the 10k classical race before taking third in Sunday's race. He 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.
Tyler won the women's 5k classical race at the DU Invite on Sunday for the first victory of her career at Utah. The Landgrove, Vt., native picked up the second podium finish of her career and this was also the seventh time she has placed among the top 20.