2009-10 New Mexico Ski Team Season Preview
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/15/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Nov. 15, 2009

Eight All-Americans return to the University of New Mexico ski team for the 2010 season, including 2009 NCAA women's slalom champion Malin Hemmingsson. The Lobos are working hard to defend their 2009 Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association/NCAA West Regional championship title and improve on their third-place finish at the NCAA National Championships.

"We have a solid core of top-ranked student-athletes coming back for the 2010 season," said Lobo head coach Fredrik Landstedt. "These nine are all capable of placing top five at NCAA Championships this coming March in Steamboat Springs, Colo. We've added several top recruits to complement this group and make a run at the national title."

The Lobos will host the Jade Enterprises New Mexico Invitational on Feb. 5-6 with Nordic competition in Red River, N.M. and Alpine races at Taos Ski Valley. NCAA National Championships, March 10-13, and the RMISA/NCAA West Regionals, Feb. 26-27, will be at Steamboat Springs, Colo.

The Nordic Report

The Nordic squad has five student-athletes returning, including four All-Americans, led by senior Polina Ermoshina.

Ermoshina has back-to-back national runner-up finishes in the women's classical race. The five-time All-American from Moscow, Russia, also added an eighth-place finish in the 2009 freestyle race. She earned her first collegiate win in classical at the RMISA/NCAA West Regional Championships in 2009. Her third-place freestyle finish at RMISA/NCAA West championships was a career best.

"Polina is highly motivated for her senior season," said Landstedt, the head Nordic coach. "After two second-place finishes in classical, she wants to win it this winter. Winning regionals and beating the 2009 NCAA Champion were highlights for her last winter."

Sophomore Ingrid Leask had a good rookie year that included a mid-season trip to France for the World Junior Championships. Leask, from Buffalo, Minn., increased her training regime and is working hard on improving her technique. She and Ermoshina are pushing each other this fall while they wait for newcomers in the Spring semester.

The men's side of the Nordic squad returns three All-Americans in senior Tor-Hakon Hellebostad and juniors Martin Kaas and Simon Reissmann.

Hellebostad made a strong showing at the RMISA/NCAA West Regional Championships with a career-best second place classical finish and a third-place freestyle finish. He followed that up with a ninth-place classical finish at NCAA nationals. The Nesoddtangen, Norway, native had a career-best second place finish in freestyle earlier in the season at the Colorado Invitational.

Kaas, the 2009 Lobo men's Nordic MVP, finished strong in 2009 with top-10, career-best finishes at RMISA/West Regional and NCAA national championships. The native of Oslo, Norway, was one of three Lobos to double-up on the All-America honors in 2009 with a career-best fourth place freestyle and eighth-place classical finish. At RMISA/Regional championships, Kaas posted a career-best fourth place classic finish and, at the time, a career-best fifth place freestyle finish.

Reissmann won three mass start freestyle races last season, including the RMISA/NCAA West Regional championship. The Schotten, Germany native started strong with a career-best weekend in the Seawolf Invitational that earned him RMISA Skier of the Week honors. He won the freestyle race and had a career-best fourth place finish in classical. He earned All-American honors with a 10th-place finish in freestyle.

Nordic exhibition competition will begin Nov. 7 in Crested Butte, Colo. with the collegiate Nordic season begins Jan. 15, 2010 at the Montana State Invitational.

The Alpine Report

The Lobo Alpine squad is working to stay at the top of the skiing mountain after 2009's first place Alpine finish at NCAA Championships. Eight skiers return, including four All-Americans - Malin Hemmingsson, Estelle Pecherand-Charmet, Stefanie Demetz and Petter Brenna.

"After being the best Alpine team in the nation, we are confident to stay at the top for the upcoming season," said Alpine head coach Martin Kroisleitner. "We have just about everyone back from last season and have some promising additions joining us this year."

Hemmingsson has the opportunity to do something no other Lobo has done - become a three-time NCAA champion. The senior from Ostersund, Sweden, won her second women's slalom title in 2009 to go with her 2007 title.

Hemmingsson was joined on the podium by Pecherand-Charmet, who was 2009 national runner-up in slalom and giant slalom. The senior from Praz Sur Arly, France, won three slalom races during the season, including the RMISA/NCAA West Regional Championship. She had six top-three finishes in seven giant slalom races and finished second in the RMISA MVP rankings.

Hemmingsson, Pecherand-Charmet and Demetz were the team's women's Alpine MVP in 2009. The sophomore from Italy added to the Lobos' All-America list with a fifth-place finish in giant slalom. She had a career-weekend at the Denver Invitational with a ninth-place slalom and second-place giant slalom finishes.

Sophomore Jacqueline Hangl, from Samnaun, Switzerland, had several top-five finishes in her rookie season. Hangl is expected to be back for an even stronger finish.

Newcomers to the women's Alpine squad are freshmen Anne Cecilie Brusletto from Oslo, Norway and Kate Williams of Park City, Utah. Brusletto has been skiing successfully in Europe for the past couple of seasons and will be very competitive in the collegiate ranks. Williams has the potential to be among the best skiers in the country after several strong performances at NorAm races last season.

The men's Alpine squad returns four skiers, led by men's slalom national runner-up Petter Brenna. Brenna, the 2009 team men's Alpine MVP, set a UNM record with five Alpine wins in the season. The native of Baerum, Norway, is one win away from tying the UNM men's Alpine career wins record held by Stefan Lanzier, Lars Loeseth and Tor Fodnesbergene. A sophomore, Brenna earned nine top-five finishes in 10 races.

Returning for his first full-year of training is junior Thomas Schwab. Schwab, a native of Groebming, Austria, is the reigning RMISA Men's Alpine Most Valuable Skier on the strength of six top-10 finishes and 10 top-16 finishes in 2009. Schwab has spent the last two fall semesters finishing up his Austrian Army responsibilities.

Senior Olivier Lacaille, from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, won two international races last season and recorded eight top-25 finishes during the collegiate season. Classmate Gary Beresford is recovering from a knee injury and expected to be at 100 percent for the season.

The men also picked up two freshmen for depth on the squad. Chriss Salbu from Bergen, Norway and Chris Acosta of Parkland, Wisc., by way of Winter Park, Colo., are young and motivated athletes who are expected to contribute immediately. Salbu won several European races, while Acosta has had success in the States.

The Alpine exhibition season begins Nov. 6 at Copper Mountain, Colo., while the collegiate season begins Jan. 11, 2010 in Park City, Utah at the Utah Invitational.