May 26, 2010
Hi Lobo ski fans!
This was probably the best season ever for the UNM Ski Team and I am very proud to be a LOBO and to be coaching these fantastic student-athletes. Academically, the ski team was once again the top team at UNM. The men's team won the Athletic Director's Cup for the second year in a row (the award has only existed for 2 years), presented to the team with the highest team GPA with 3.72. The women's team had a team GPA of 3.54. We had nine National Ski Coaches All-Academic Team honorees this year and Malin Hemmingsson was an ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District VI Second Team member.
Athletically, we were ranked No. 1 in the country by Ski Racing magazine from the third poll of the season on Jan. 25 until Feb. 28, and were the RMISA Regular Season Conference Champions.
This winter we had a record 19 individual victories. Junior Martin Kaas had a surprising season and started us off with five Nordic victories in his first five races. He ended up being ranked No. 1 in the college ranks for men's Nordic. Sophomore Petter Brenna added four victories in men's Alpine, while freshman Anne Cecilie Brusletto had four victories in women's Alpine and senior Polina Ermoshina added a women's Nordic victory.
Senior Malin Hemmingsson also finished the season with five victories including the NCAA women's slalom title. This was Malin's third NCAA slalom title and she is only the 3rd woman in NCAA history to earn three titles in the same discipline.
We finished 3rd as a team in the NCAA Championships with 13 All-America performances. This was a little bit disappointing to the athletes and coaches after having a very successful regular season. However, a top-3 finish is extremely good and every time we bring back a BIG trophy to UNM we are very proud to be Lobos.
Some of the most memorable events of this winter started with Martin Kaas winning his first two races in Montana. Even though he had a great finish last year with two All-America performances, no one would have picked him as a possible winner in the first races of the season. He surprised us all by winning the first five races of the year and finishing the season as the national runner-up in men's freestyle and with another classical All-America performance.
The Alpine team had a great showing at the Utah Invitational to start the season and the Nordic team was able to hold the lead and bring home the meet win a few weeks later. Going back to last season, it was second team win in three meets.
At our home meet, the Jade Enterprises/New Mexico Invitational in Taos and Red River, we had great support from our fans and ended up having what is most likely the best meet in UNM Ski Team History. We won the meet by 160 points and the Nordic men went 1-2-3-4 in the skate race, which is an incredible result in today's tough competition.
We had some very tough injuries and sicknesses this season as well. Senior Estelle Pecherand tore her ACL in mid-December and was out for the season. Sophomore Stefanie Demetz did the same in mid-January, knocking out two-thirds of our women's Alpine team from the 2009 NCAA championships. Leading up to the NCAA Regional/RMISA Championships most of the Nordic team got sick and never fully recovered for the NCAA Championships.
At the NCAA Championships, our supporters turned up in great numbers and there is no doubt that the LOBOS were No. 1 when it came to fan support in Steamboat Springs. The noise at the Alpine hill was deafening and there were more LOBOS flags than all the other team flags combined. Our team felt very proud to get this amazing support from our great fans.
Now we are looking forward to next season. Alpine coach Martin Kroisleitner will be leaving us to coach the Russian National Team for the next Olympic Games. We are sorry to see Martin go, but we congratulate him for getting this opportunity and wish him the best. We are confident that we will have a very strong Alpine coach in place for next fall.
Recruiting is going well and although we are losing Malin Hemmingsson, Polina Ermoshina, Thomas Schwab and Olivier Lacaille we feel that next year's team will once again be competing for a NCAA Title.
I hope everyone has a great summer and don't forget to join the UNM Ski Team Fan Club.