Dec. 9, 2008
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- The University of New Mexico ski team spent the past week training in Montana and Colorado as they prepare for the 2009 season.
The Nordic squad competed in the West Yellowstone Super Tour Classic in Montana over Thanksgiving weekend. Sophomore Simon Reissmann finished sixth overall and third among collegiate racers in the men's classic 15K. Freshman Christoffer Callesen finished 38th overall.
"Simon had one of his best races ever in Yellowstone," said head coach Fredrik Landstedt. "This race features many Olympians and the winner competed for Russia in the 2006 Olympics. Christoffer also had a very good first race."
In the women's 10K classic, junior Polina Ermoshina finished 21st overall, beating many of the collegiate skiers in the competition. Senior Melanie Zemp raced one of her best performances, finishing just 30 seconds behind Ermoshina. Freshman Ingrid Leask finished 45th overall with a good performance in her first race.
In skate competition, junior Tor-Hakon Hellebostad performed well in the men's 10K. Zemp recorded one of the best women's 10K skate races of her career.
"Melanie had one of her best skate races since joining the Lobos," said Landstedt. "Ingrid also did very well in her first skate race of the year."
Poor snow conditions in the mountains of Montana and Utah did not keep the Nordic Lobos from training later in the week. UNM travelled to Breckenridge, Colo., for a USSA race that featured several Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association teams, including the top three finishers at the 2008 NCAA Championships - Denver, Colorado and Utah.
Reissmann put together another strong performance for the Lobos with a second-place finish, followed quickly by Callesen in third and Hellebostad in sixth. In the women's race, Zemp finished fifth, beating Ermoshina for the first time in their three season together at UNM. Ermoshina placed sixth, followed by Leask in 10th.
"I thought we performed very well in Breckenridge," continued Landstedt. "The men's squad showed that they will compete with any team in the country. If we had kept score, like during RMISA season, we would have won as a team among collegiate competitors."
While the Nordic team wrapped fall training in Breckenridge, Alpine newcomer Petter Brenna was competing in the NorAm races in Loveland and Winter Park, Colo. Brenna finished ninth in the Winter Park men's slalom race on Dec. 5. Earlier in the week, he placed 20th in the Loveland men's slalom race.
"Petter had some strong finishes in Colorado against some of the best athletes in the world," said Alpine head coach Martin Kroisleitner. "This is a definite indicator that he will be a strong contender for the top of the podium this winter."
The Alpine squad will continue training this week in Winter Park, Colo. Several Lobos are expected to compete in the FIS races on Dec. 13 and 14. Not racing this week is newcomer Sofie Hjorth. Hjorth will be out for the season with an ACL injury suffered during training in Red River, N.M.