Feb. 21, 2013
Lobo Skiing @ RMISA Championships/NCAA West Regionals - Bozeman, Mont.
Friday, Feb. 22: Nordic -- 5/10K Interval-Start Classical
Saturday, Feb. 23: Alpine -- Slalom | Nordic -- 15/20K Mass-Start Freestyle
Sunday, Feb. 24: Alpine -- Giant Slalom
NCAA Championships: March 6-9; Middlebury, Vt.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico ski team travels to Bozeman, Mont., this weekend for the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association Championships/NCAA West Regionals. It's the start of the postseason for the Lobos and they're ready for the action to begin.
Of the four regular-season RMISA Invitationals, New Mexico finished fourth in three and third in one (CU/Spencer Nelson Memorial Invite). Highlights for the Lobos from the regular season include: a Lobo victory in the Alpine event at UNM's home Invite Feb. 9-10; three individual victories in the slalom by sophomore men's Alpiner Joonas Rasanen; a giant slalom win for senior Chris Acosta at the season-opening RMISA Alpine Qualifier; podium finishes for Juho-Pekka Penttinen (slalom at Utah Invite), Michael Bansmer (GS Qualifier and GS at CU Invite), Mary Rachel Hostetter (slalom at CU Invite) and men's Nordic standout Mats Rudin Resaland (in classical at DU and UNM Invites).
UNM is hoping for solid performances at Regionals that will land the Lobos good seeding spots at the NCAA Championships to be held March 6-9 in Middlebury, Vt.
On the Nordic side, this means individuals need to continue to step up as the men's side is a little thin due to the loss of Pierre Niess (injury) and the meet-to-meet status of Sjur Prestsaeter (lingering injury). Resaland has been the Lobos' rock all season, leading the men's team and finishing in the top 10 in all eight regular-season events. Prestsaeter and junior Christian Otto have taken turns as UNM's second guy to finish while senior Eivind Odden Solberg has also been a point placer in a few events.
The women's Nordic squad has mostly been anchored by senior Linn Håvelsrud Klaesson who has led the team four times in RMISA competition. Sophomores Anni Nord and Clara Chauvet have been the other two regular point placers for the Lobos and have led the team in a few events. Junior Anita Kirvesniemi and senior Ingrid Leask have finished as high as 21st and 19th, respectively, this season.
The men's Alpine squad has been the most consistent facet of the ski squad this season. Rasanen, Acosta, Pennttinen, Bansmer and sophomores Sean Horner and Mark Miller have all had events where they've scored big points for UNM. The guys swept the men's Alpine events at UNM's home meet and propelled the Lobo win in the event.
Almost equally as solid is the women's Alpine team as the Lobos have four healthy and fiercely competitive skiers. Freshman Courtney Altringer led the Alpine women twice early in the season and has finished in the top 10 seven times in her rookie year. Newcomer Mateja Robnik joined the team at the semester break and has led the squad in all four of the RMISA competitions she's skied in, including three top-five finishes. Seniors Mary Rachel Hostetter and Kate Williams have also turned in stellar performances and have taken turns leading UNM.
"Everybody is really excited for Regionals," head Alpine coach Joe Downing said. "The student-athletes think they're built out of steel right now. They're ready to just rock-and-roll.
"My expectations are for each skier to step up and perform and earn their spot for NCAAs. We have a lot of kids that have done well in one event at a meet, but not the other. We're looking for those athletes to put together two good performances in each event. We haven't had everybody really come together in both events at a meet, so it will be interesting to see who steps up."
Colorado secured the regular-season RMISA title as they won all four Invitationals with a balanced attack from both Alpine and Nordic, accumulating 3.498 points. Denver finished second in the team standings with 3,226.5 points and Utah was third with 3,215. New Mexico followed the Utes with 2,984.5 points and Montana State rounded out the top five with 2,649.
Lobo Skiing Notes
Last Decade of Regionals - In the last decade of RMISA Championships/NCAA West Regionals, the Lobos have placed fifth, fourth, third three times (including the last three season), second four times (including in 2004, when UNM won the National Championship) and won Regionals once - in 2009. Since 1983, New Mexico has won Regionals one other time, in 1992 when the meet was hosted by Wyoming.
UNM Wins Alpine Portion of Home Meet; Finishes Fourth Overall- The Lobo men's team won both slalom events while the women finished third and fourth on days one and two, respectively, to allow UNM to win the Alpine portion of its home meet. The Lobos finished fourth place overall. Colorado won the meet (864 points) to clinch the RMISA regular-season title. The Buffaloes were completely balanced over Nordic and Alpine and won every regular-season conference event this season. Utah and Denver rounded out the top three spots with 851 and 808 points, respectively. The Lobo men's Alpine team dominated their home hill, placing first, fifth and seventh in the first day of competition and second, third and sixth on the second day. Joonas Rasanen won the slalom on Feb. 9 and then placed second on Feb. 10. Chris Acosta was the second point-placer each day, while Juho-Pekka Penttinen and Mark Miller took turns as the third point earner. Mats Rudin Resaland and Anni Nord led the Lobo Nordic team last weekend in opening events of UNM's home Invitational in Red River, N.M. Resaland placed a career-best second place in the 5K CL and finished seventh in the 10K FS, while Nord tied her career-best fourth-place finish in the 5K CL and took ninth in the 10K FS. In terms of team performance, the Lobos are tied with Alaska-Anchorage for fifth following Nordic events as both the men's and women's teams placed fourth in CL events and sixth in FS events for a total of 350 points on the weekend.
Resaland and Rasanen Recognized by RMISA- Mats Rudin Resaland and Joonas Rasanen became the first Lobos this season to earn Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association Skier of the Week honors for their performances at the Utah Invitational and the University of New Mexico Invitational, respectively, as announced by the conference on Feb. 11. Resaland, a sophomore newcomer from Kongsberg, Norway, finished sixth in the 10K classical and fifth in the 20K mass-start freestyle races Feb. 8-9 in Soldier Hollow, Utah. He has led the Lobo men and placed in the top 10 in all eight conference events this season. Rasanen won the first slalom race and finished second in the second slalom race at the UNM Invite held at the Red River Ski Area in Red River, N.M., Feb. 9-10. He paced the men's team to first-place finishes each day and was instrumental in New Mexico's Alpine team winning its portion of the Invite.
Rasanen Wins His Way into Program History - Rasanen's win in the first day slalom at UNM's Invite secured him a spot in the UNM Skiing History and Records book. The victory was his third of the season, ranking him tied for fourth (Stefan Lanzier 1997, Jonas Ryttberg 1992) in program history for most wins in a single season for by a Lobo men's Alpine skier. Three victories in the slalom is also a tie for most individual wins in the event in a single season. Petter Brenna also had three slalom victories in 2010.
Made of Steel- Alpine head coach Joe Downing says his Lobos are feeling like they're, "...made of steel..." heading into RMISA Championships/NCAA West Regionals Feb. 22-24. And rightfully so. The Lobos' Alpine squad is third in the RMISA standings through regular-season competition, trailing Denver and Colorado who are first and third. The Lobos have 1,592 Alpine points to 1,761.5 for the Pioneers and 1,677 for the Buffs. The UNM men's Alpine team is second in standings with 877 points. The Lobos trail Denver who has 924.
Lobos in the RMISA MVP Standings- RMISA MVP awards are based on placings and points earned throughout the regular season. No Lobos earned MVP distinction this season, but two came very close: Courtney Altringer for women's Alpine and Joonas Rasanen for men's Alpine. Courtney Altringer led the women's standings for almost half of the RMISA regular season as she finished in the top 10 in the first six events. The Lobo freshman finished second to Colorado's Thea Grosvold. Rasanen, too, finished second in the men's alpine MVP race. The UNM sophomore recorded three slalom victories and placed in the top 11 or better in all eight regular-season events. Denver's Espen Lysdahl earned MVP distinction. On the Nordic side, Mats Rudin Resaland was the highest-ranked Lobo, finishing fifth. Linn Håvelsrud Klaesson was eighth to lead UNM on the women's side.