Feb. 12, 2005
For the second day in a row, bad weather shortened competition at the New Mexico Invite in Taos and Red River, N.M. The women's slalom race was cancelled today, but the men's slalom and the Nordic freestyle races were completed. UNM sits in third place on the strength of another strong day in Nordic competition. New Mexico's women won their 5K Freestyle race, while the men's Nordic team had a season-high second place finish. The men's Alpine team finished third in their slalom race.
The Lobo women were once again led by senior Martina Stursova and junior Trine Lundamo. For the second-straight day they took the top two spots with Stursova winning her third race of the season. Senior Pirkko Pulkkanen recorded a season-high eighth place finish, rounding out the Lobo scoring. Senior Andrea Roberts (12) was the only other Lobo to finish today's race.
The Nordic men were led by three top-10 finishes from junior Geir-Endre Rogn and sophomores Dirk Grimm and Jedd Young. Grimm led the Lobos with a season-high sixth place time. Rogn also recorded a season-high, finishing seventh. The surprise of the race was sophomore Jedd Young's career-high eighth place finish. His previous best finish was 14th last year at New Mexico.
The weather conditions were not as much of a factor for the Nordic teams as it was for the Alpine squads in Taos Ski Valley. "Despite a great effort by 50 or more volunteers, we were unable to complete the men's giant slalom and the women's slalom," stated UNM head coach George Brooks. "As a coach and race organizer this is very disappointing but you can't control Mother Nature. Taos Ski Valley and the volunteers did everything possible to make it a great event."
Heavy snow, combined with poor visibility, made racing conditions treacherous. "When you look at skiing, there are certain elements that make it a dangerous situation," continued Brooks. "There were ruts on the hill, it was snowing hard and goggles were icing over, which made it too dangerous. There is no reason to have a competition when someone could get injured."
Despite the conditions, the men's slalom races were completed and UNM sophomore Lars Loeseth took the top spot. It was the first slalom win of his career and his second individual win of the season. The men's team placed third in the event with sophomore Peter Roering placing 10th. It was Roering's fourth top-10 of the season. Rounding out the Lobo scoring was senior Alexander Freberg's 24thth place finish. Sophomore Alex Mach also raced for UNM, placing 30th.
"The Nordic team had an outstanding performance both days and I am very proud of them," stated Brooks. "They are one of the top Nordic teams in the country and they showed it this weekend. The Alpine team had a tough day on Friday, but the men picked it up today. Lars was outstanding in the Slalom and he is becoming one of the top Alpine men in the country."
UNM totaled 405 points through six of eight events. They trail Colorado (409) by just four points. The New Mexico Invite will not be complete until the men's giant slalom and the women's slalom races are made up. The men's giant slalom will be completed at the NCAA West Regionals in Bozeman, Mont., on February 25-26. No make-up date for the women's slalom race has been determined. Denver currently leads the New Mexico Invite with a total of 435 points.
Overall Team Results
1. Denver - 435
2. Colorado - 409
3. New Mexico - 405
4. Utah - 387.5
5. Montana State - 299
6. Nevada - 286.5
7. Western State - 178
8. Whitman - 165
9. Alaska-Anchorage - 83
10. Boise State - 73