Denver Invitational Tightens after Utah's Voello Picks Two Wins in Men's Giant Slalom

Monday, January 11, 2021 • by Ron Knabenbauer, Special To RMISA

ASPEN, Colo.—Gustav Voello of the University of Utah picked up his first two career wins as the men opened their RMISA season on Monday with two giant slalom races on the second day of the University of Denver Invitational.

Voello won both GS races held on the Aspen Highlands course for his second and third career podium finishes. The senior produced the fastest time in each run of the second race (1:00.55 and 1.02.83) for a total of 2:03.38 and the fastest second run in the first event (1:03.20) to pull ahead and win with a combined total of 2:05.51.

In the morning race, Voello was 41-hundreths of a second faster than the University of Colorado's Filip Forejtek (2:05.92), who took the silver. Westminster's Mikkel Solbakken also got on the podium in the morning event at 2:06.55, 1-hundreth of a second faster than WMC teammate Joachim Mjelde (2:06.56), who recorded the fastest time in opening run (1:02.09).

Forejtek and Solbakken each found their way back on the podium with Voello in the second GS race of the day as well, with the Solbakken (2:03.95) finishing with nearly a second advantage over Forejtek (2:04.90) to take the second spot.

After sweeping both women's giant slalom races on Monday, Westminster added another race win in the men's opener with Solbakken and Mjelde's third and fourth place finishes and Francesco Gori ascending his way into the top 10 as well (10th). The Griffins added another skier close behind with Martin Arne in 11th.

Colorado and Utah joined Westminster in producing multiple top-10 finishers in the first race, as the CU's Joey Yong placed seventh and the UU's Tomas Birkner in eighth. The Buffaloes and Utes tied for second place in team scoring in the morning with 82 points, four behind the Griffins (86).

Didrik Nilsen of Alaska Anchorage (fifth), Louis Muhlen-Schulte of Montana State (sixth) and Henry Hakoshima of Colorado Mountain College (ninth) rounded out the top 10 in first men's GS.

The second giant slalom of Monday saw six skiers that placed in the top 10 in the morning session find a similar spot in the afternoon, as Voello (first), Solbakken (second), Forejtek (third), Muhlen-Schulte (sixth), Nilsen (eighth) and Birkner (10th) added an additional top-10 mark for their careers.

Utah won the second race with 96 points after having two skiers in the top five and four in the top 10, with Huston Philp finishing fourth and Wilhelm Normannseth taking seventh. Colorado registered two top-10 skiers in race No. 2 and registered three in the top 12 to take second place in the second giant slalom team scoring (Louis Fausa in ninth and Max Bervy in 12th).

Montana State and Westminster tied for third in the standings with 73 points, as MSU's Aage Solheim recorded his 11th career top-five result in fifth and Martine Arene helping the Griffins' cause by taking 11th place.

Westminster continues to lead the Denver Invitational with 359 points after four of the eight events. This is the first time the Griffins have recorded the most alpine points in a meet since joining the RMISA as an associate member in 2011.

The competition now moves to the Nordic track at Maloit Park, in Minturn, Colorado, with Utah (307), Montana State (281) and CU (270) all within striking distance of overtaking Westminster and winning the overall event. The DU invite resumes on Jan. 22 with the women's 5 kilometer and men's 7.5K freestyle races and concludes on Jan. 23 with the women's 7.5K and men's 10K classic competitions.

The Alpine skiers now head to Eldora Mountain Resort in Nederland, Colorado, for the Spencer James Nelson Colorado Invitational to complete four straight days of racing. The women's slalom is Tuesday, while the men's slalom will commence on Wednesday, with each day featuring again two races in the discipline.

Denver Invitational Team Results (through 4 of 8 events): 1. Westminster (359), 2. Utah (307), 3. Montana State (281), 4. Colorado (270), 5. Alaska Anchorage (195), 6. Colorado Mountain (121), 7. Denver (71)

Men's GS#1 Top 10 Individual Results: 1. Gustav Voello, UU, 2:05.51; 2. Filip Forejtek, CU, 2:05.92; 3. Mikkel Solbakken, WMC, 2:06.55; 4. Joachim Mjelde, WMC, 2:06.56; 5. Didrik Nilsen, UAA, 2:07.48; 6. Louis Muhlen-Schulte, MSU, 2:07.61; 7. Joey Young, CU, 2:07.73; 8. Tomas Birkner, UU, 2:08.13; 9. Henry Hakoshima, CMC, 2:08.29; 10. Francesco Gori, WMC, 2:08.47

Men's GS#1 Team Results: 1.Westminster (86), 2. Colorado (82), 3. Utah (82), 4. Montana State (60), 5. Alaska Anchorage (43), 6. Denver (33) 7. Colorado Mountain (22)

Men's GS#2 Top 10 Individual Results: 1. Gustav Voello, UU, 2:03.38; 2. Mikkel Solbakken, WMC, 2:03.95; 3. Filip Forejtek, CU, 2:04.90; 4. Huston Philp, UU, 2:05.15; 5. Aage Solheim, MSU, 2:05.38; 6. Louis Muhlen-Schulte, MSU, 2:05.44; 7. Wilhelm Normannseth, UU, 2:05.69; 8. Didrik Nilsen, UAA, 2:06.21; 9. Louis Gustav Fausa, CU, 2:06.39; 10. Tomas Birkner, UU, 2:06.41

Men's GS#2 Team Results: 1. Utah (96), 2. Colorado (76), T3. Montana State (73), T3. Westminster (73), 5. Alaska Anchorage (39), Colorado Mountain (19), Denver (18)

Team Notes: Westminster College leads after the alpine portion of the meet ... The Griffins' previous best finish in alpine was second in the 2015 New Mexico Invitational while an NAIA member ... Their previous best in alpine during their NCAA era was third at the 2020 Denver Invitational ... Utah recorded the most points on the day with 178, climbing from third to second place ... With 158 points gained on Monday, Colorado moved up to fourth place after being fifth following the two women's GS events on Sunday.

Individual Notes: Gustav Voello's previous best finish was second in an RMISA Qualifier race on Feb. 27, 2020 ... He has now found his way on the podium three times in his career and has 10 top-10 results ... Filip Forejtek reached the podium for the seventh and eighth times in his career and in four straight races in the giant slalom after placing third at the 2020 RMISA Championships and second at the 2020 NCAA Championships ... His GS#1 performance marked his sixth runner-up finish ... With third and second-place finishes, Mikkel Solbakken has now podiumed four times in his career ... It was his second and third best giant slalom result after winning the RMISA Qualifier on Jan. 10, 2020 in Aspen ... Solbakken now has seven top-five finishes and has placed 10 times in the top 10 in his career ... Joachim Mjelde's has recorded nine career top 10 results in 10 finished races after posting fourth place in GS#1, his fourth top five (DNF in GS#2)... Didrik Nilsen's fifth place in GS#1 was his career-best finish, posting his first top five result ... His previous top mark was seventh on two occasions in the GS, Jan. 10, 2020 in Aspen and Jan. 15 at Eldora ... Huston Philp posted his second career top-five result after placing fourth in GS#2, his top career finish (previous was fifth in RMISA Qualifier giant slalom on Jan. 17, 2019) ... Finishing fifth, Aage Solheim has placed in the top five in now 11 events and has ended up in the top 10 on 21 occasions (29 career races) ... Solheim has only finished outside the top 10 just five times, including in Monday's GS#1 (16th).

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