As the 2013 ski season approached, Utah Director of Skiing Kevin Sweeney looked at his team as a possible contender for the school's 12th NCAA Championship.
After all, the Utes had finished second the past two years and returned a combination of talented veterans. In addition, the newcomers were creating legitimate competition in practices.
"If certain things fall in our favor, we could be ready to vie for the title," Sweeney said. "When I look at this squad from an overall perspective, I do think we're balanced and able to score well in each of the disciplines, both alpine and Nordic. If we're able to carry that through the season and go into the championships healthy, we can give the title a run. That's certainly what we're gunning for."
With the national meet fast approaching March 6 to 9 at Middlebury, Vt. the Utes want to improve on their third-place RMISA ranking beginning Friday and Saturday at the New Mexico Invitational in Red River, N.M. The Nordic races are scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Red River, N.M., while the alpine events are scheduled for the next week, Feb. 9 and 10.
Meanwhile, due to a scheduling conflict in Park City, the Utah Invitational alpine events will take place Feb. 6 and 7 at Loveland, Colo. The Nordic competition is Feb. 8 and 9 at Soldier Hollow.
Utah is third behind Colorado and Denver in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association standings. New Mexico and Alaska-Anchorage round out the top five.
Sophomore Ana Kobal leads the way among NCAA Women's Slalom qualifiers with teammate Kristiina Rove in third.
Utah Valley wrestlers welcome Stanford
Coming off its first ever shutout in a dual meet, Utah Valley hopes to ride the wave of success Friday against visiting Stanford at 7 p.m.
The Wolverines swept Northern Colorado, winning all 10 weight classes in the 39-0 Western Wrestling Conference victory. The closest UVU came to losing a match came at 197 pounds, where David Prieto outlasted his opponent, 8-6 in overtime.
More often, however, the matches weren't close. The tone was set early by Avery Garner (141) and Josh Wilson (149). Garner won a 10-1 major decision, and Wilson took a technical fall victory while leading 17-1.
Abner Cook (165) and Jade Rauser (125) both won by fall. Cook is scheduled to face Stanford's most consistent wrestler, Bret Baumbach, who won his seventh consecutive match last week against Cal Poly.
"We've still got a lot of things to work on, but I'm really pleased with the way the guys are wrestling and the progress we're making," UVU coach Greg Williams said.
Meanwhile, Stanford improved to 5-12 with its first Pac-12 victory this season, a 27-9 decision against Cal Poly.
BYU track heads to Big Apple
Other than the NCAA Championships, BYU's track and field team won't find a more competitive indoor meet than New York City's 2013 Armory Collegiate Invitational.
More than 100 schools, including an international field, compete Friday and Saturday in the 12th annual meet. The Cougar men, ranked 17th, earned enough points to finish 15th last season, setting the tone for a successful indoor and outdoor season.
BYU split its squad last week between the Air Force and Washington invitationals with good results. Victor Weirich won the pole vault in Colorado Springs, Colo., while Cade Lindahl captured the 400 meters in Seattle.
On the women's side, Rachel Fisher won the women's pole vault. In Washington, Kelsey Brown bettered her personal best by nearly 3 seconds to win the 800 meters. Her time of 2 minutes, 4.94 seconds was the fifth best run indoors this season.
Freshman Natalie Shields outraced teammate Andrea Harrison to win the 3,000 meters in Seattle. Two other BYU freshmen, Erica Birk and Laura Young, finished second and third, respectively, in the mile.
"Overall, to have nine athletes record personal bests in the same night is a great sign for so early in the year," BYU women's coach Patrick Shane said.