March 13, 2009
SUNDAY RIVER, Maine - University of New Mexico junior Malin Hemmingsson won her second NCAA national ski title in three years in the women's slalom today at the 2009 NCAA National Championships in Sunday River, Maine. The native of Ostersund, Sweden, finished 1.22 seconds ahead of teammate Estelle Pecherand-Charmet, giving UNM its first 1-2 finish in an NCAA national event since 1996. Hemmingsson is the first Lobo to repeat as a national champion in an individual event (2007, 2009).
"This feels really good and is exactly what I needed today," said Hemmingsson. "It was really cool to have Estelle (Pecherand-Charmet) on the podium with me. Now we are back in it as a team. We'll go out and cheer on the Nordics tomorrow and keep the momentum going."
The strong team finish in women's slalom, along with freshman Petter Brenna's national runner-up finish in the men's slalom, moved the Lobos into third place in the team standings with 481 points, just three points away from leader Vermont with 484.
The Alpine competition closes out with the Lobos scoring the most points in the four events with 354, just one point ahead of New Hampshire with 353.
"We did really, really good yesterday and today could not have gone any better," said UNM alpine coach Martin Kroisleitner. "Malin skied the perfect combination of smart and fast today for the win. Petter (Brenna) felt like he let a lot of people down yesterday and came back strong today to finish second."
For Pecherand-Charmet, it was her second runner-up finish in two days, giving her a 2009 season total of 10 top-3 finishes.
"I can't believe it! This was the perfect day," said Pecherand-Charmet. "It was great to be on the podium again, but this time was better with Malin up there. We were 1-2 after the first run and just kept pushing to win."
The last day of the 2009 NCAA National Championships, Saturday, March 14, features the final Nordic events. Competition begins at 8 a.m. (MDT) with the women's 15-kilometer freestyle, followed by the men's 20-kilometer race at 10 a.m. Lobo sophomore Simon Reissmann has won the freestyle race three times this season, including the 2009 NCAA West Regional/Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association title in February.
NCAA Championship Notes:
New Mexico won the national title in 2004 and was the national runner-up in 1992 and 2006.
The last time Lobos finished 1-2 in an NCAA championships event was the 1996 men's slalom when Mattais Erlandsson and Jimmy Renstrom went 1-2.
No team has ever won the national title with just 10 qualifiers, which is the total UNM has in Maine. Colorado (2006) and Denver (2008) won shorthanded with 11.
Vermont assumed the lead with 484 points, with Denver (482) and New Mexico (481) right on Vermont's heels. It is only the third time in the last 13 seasons the lead has been in single digits at the three-quarter point; in 1997, Utah led Colorado by seven and went on to win by 39.5 points; and in 2006, Colorado led Denver by five before posting a 98-point win.
The three-point difference between the top three teams is the closest heading into the final two events in the NCAA Championships since the sport went coed in 1983; the previous tightest margin among the top three through six events came in 1997, when Utah (533), Colorado (526) and Vermont (524.5) were separated by eight-and-a-half points.
The closest margin in the final standings since 1983 came in 1998, when Colorado edged Utah by 2.5 points; the final spread has been 10 points or lower just four times (1986, 1989, 1995 and 1998).
2009 UNM All-America finishes (top 10)
Women's Giant Slalom - Estelle Pecherand-Charmet, Stefanie Demetz
Women's 5K Classic - Polina Ermoshina
Men's 10K Classic - Martin Kaas, Tor-Hakon Hellebostad
Women's Slalom - Malin Hemmingsson (national champion), Estelle Pecherand-Charmet
Men's Slalom - Petter Brenna
Women's 5K Classic - March 12
2. Polina Ermoshina - 13:58.9
Current Team Standings - through 6 events
1. Vermont - 484 points
2. Denver - 483
3. New Mexico - 481
4. Utah - 444
5. Colorado - 439
6. Alaska-Anchorage - 376
7. New Hampshire - 368
8. Dartmouth - 359
9. Middlebury - 331
10. Nevada - 233
11. Colby - 193
12. Williams - 140.5
13. Bates - 123
14. St. Lawrence - 118
15. Northern Michigan - 105
16. Alaska-Fairbanks - 62
17. Michigan Tech - 51
18. St. Michael's - 31
19. Montana State - 28
20. Wisconsin-Green Bay - 18
21. Gustavus Adolphus - 7
22. St. Scholastica - 3