ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- University of New Mexico head ski coach Fredrik Landstedt, who just guiding the Lobos to a third place NCAA finish, has signed two skiers to letters of intent. Both will be adjusting to the American way of life as Carl-johan Oester of Sweden will join the men’s alpine squad, and Jessica Gnuechtel of Germany will join the women’s Nordic squad.
Oester will help ease the loss of Jonaas Rasanen, the reigning 2014 World University Games champion and 2013 NCAA slalom champion, while Gnuechtel will ease the loss of No. 3 nordic skier Andrea Lee.
Carl-johan Oester hails from Stockholm, Sweden and will be a freshman, but will have just two years to compete for the Lobos. Oester had a solid 2014 International Ski Federation season, coming in second place in the giant slalom on March 15 in the Swedish National Junior Championships, and then 13 days later against coming in second, this time in the Swedish National Championships.
He also finished eighth in the Swedish National Juniors in the slalom and 12th in the Swedish Nationals in the slalom. He opened his 2014 season with a title in Funaesdalen (Sweden), winning the giant slalom by 0.46 seconds over country-mate Emil Jansson.
Over the past year Oester has picked up top finishes throughout Europe, finishing fourth in Italy (slalom), fourth in Norway (giant slalom) along with six second or first place finishes in Sweden.
“Carl-johan has some impressive results and lots of experience skiing in big-time competitions in Europe,” said Landstedt. “He will be challenging the other men on the alpine team for a spot at the Championships.”
Jessica Gnuechtel is from Lauter, Germany and is a freshman with four years of eligibility. Gnuechtel has also fared well, especially in national competitions, most recently finishing ninth in the 10L Classical mass start in the Austrian National Championships. She finished third in the 5K Freestyle on December 22 in Oberwiesenthal, Germany after finishing second a day earlier in the 1.2 Classical sprint. Her most recent outing was at the Marathom Cup in Switzerland, finishing 19th in a grueling 42k Freestyle mass start.
“Jessica will strengthen the women’s Nordic team and will be a great teammate to Eva (Sever Rus) and Anni (Nord),” said Landstedt, who specifically coaches the Nordic squad. “I believe she has great potential and that she will qualify for the NCAA Championship and score some big points for us.”
Last season the Lobos finished third at the NCAAs with Sever Rus winning a national title in the 15K Freestyle mass start. UNM returns eight men (three alpine, five Nordic) and eight women (five alpine, three Nordic) to the squad next season. UNM’s ski team owns the only NCAA team championship in school history, winning it all in 2004.