March 12, 2005
The University of New Mexico ski team failed to repeat as national champions but still managed a top-4 finish at the 2005 NCAA Championships in Stowe, Vermont. The Lobos moved into fourth place following a strong showing in the Nordic freestyle races today. This is the seventh year in a row UNM has finished in the top-5 and the fourth consecutive year in the top-4 at the NCAA finals.
The Lobos totaled 518 points in the four-day event, while the University of Denver won its 18th national title. The Pioneers won with a total of 622.5 points. Vermont finished second by 47.5 points (575) and Utah was third with 545 points.
The Lobo women won their third straight title in the Nordic freestyle, garnering 94 points in their 15K race today. Alaska-Anchorage's Mandy Kaempf was the individual champion with a time of 46:18.8. New Mexico was led by senior Martina Stursova's All-American performance and third place finish. She posted a time of 47:10.8. Junior Trine Lundamo also earned All-American honors with a fifth-place showing and a time of 47:31.8. Senior Pirkko Pulkkanen placed 18th in the race with a time of 48:54.4.
Sophomore Dirk Grimm led the Lobo men with a 10th place finish and his second All-American honor. Grimm finished the men's 20K course in 57:55.3. Denver's Rene Reisshauer won the individual title with a time of 55:57.3. Freshman Inge Kristofferson placed 13th (58:17.1) while junior Geir-Endre Rogn finished 23rd (59:59.4).
"We had a lot of opportunities this week, but we could not take advantage of them," stated UNM head coach George Brooks. "Things did not come together for us this year like they did last season. We thought we could have done a little better, but a top-4 finish is still a top-4 finish."
Five Lobos earned All-American awards this season, including senior Martina Stursova, juniors Trine Lundamo and Gladys Weidt, and sophomores Lars Loeseth and Dirk Grimm. Ten of the 11 who competed at the NCAAs will return next season. New Mexico also returns six other letter winners in 2006.