Stevens: New Mexico Lobos Skiing - 2013 Season Preview
Jan. 2, 2013
RMISA SEASON: The New Mexico Lobos' 2013 RMISA season begins Jan. 7-11 for the UNM Alpine team and Jan. 12-13 for the Lobo Nordic skiers. The Alpine Lobos will be in the Eldora and Winter Park areas of Colorado for an RMISA Alpine Qualifier and the University of Colorado/Spencer Nelson Memorial Invitational. The Nordic team begins conference action at the CU/Spencer Nelson Memorial Invite.
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The battle cry that Coach Fredrik Landstedt's Lobos take to the wanted snow and the unwanted patches of ice in 2013 is one that will be throated by huskier and more seasoned voices.
His New Mexico Lobo skiers might not yet be considered grizzled veterans of the collegiate slopes and hills, but his Nordic and Alpine Lobos no longer are a pack of wide-eyed pups.
The no-names and unknowns of 2012 have grown up a bit. They have been there, skied that. In 2013, Landstedt's Lobos expect to ski it even better. The RMISA season begins Jan. 7-11 for the Lobo Alpine team and Jan. 12-13 for the Nordic Lobos.
"Last year about half the team was new and this year we have almost everybody back," said Landstedt. "We have a year under our belt and we are a lot more experienced team.
"But we still need a lot of skiers to take a step up."
The goals of Landstedt and his Lobos really never change. They expect to stand tall and proud on the podium at the NCAA Championships, which has room for only four teams.
In 2012, for the second consecutive season, the Lobos did not make that podium and youth was one factor in that miss. UNM had only one senior competing on the 2012 squad that finished eighth at the NCAA finals.
This season Landstedt returns 19 letterwinners and lost only one senior in Stefanie Demetz.
"She was a top skier. That is a loss," said Landstedt. "But we have better depth this season and we are expecting to have a big year. Our expectations every year is to compete for the national championship, but every year you also want to be on the podium.
"You want to come home with a trophy."
The experience is there for UNM in 2013, even though one letterwinner, Anniken Bratlie, will take off the year as a redshirt. The UNM squad is anchored by nine seniors and three juniors. However, there is still a lot of youth on skis with nine sophomores and three first-year skiers on the squad.
"We are better at the top and we have more depth," said Landstedt. "But we'll know more when we start competing with the collegiate teams. I think for sure we will be better than last year because of our experience.
"We plan to take a step up, of course anything can happen."
THE LOBO NORDIC SKIERS
The good news is Landstedt has a lot of talent returning in 2013. The obvious need is for that talent to prove itself at a different level in 2013.
Niess and Sjur Prestsaeter are the only Nordic skiers with All-American honors, so UNM obviously needs some other Nordic racers to rise to that level of accomplishment.
Already, Landstedt is seeing the potential in this group.
Chauvet finished fourth among collegiate racers in a preseason event Nov. 23 at the West Yellowstone Super Tour. The Lobos have added some young talent including Mats Rudin Resaland, who won a 15K race in a preseason run in Bozeman, Mont., on Dec. 2. He is racing with sophomore-class status.
"We need some people to step up and I expect them to," said Landstedt. "Mats already has shown he has the talent to help a lot. Christian (Otto), Pierre (Niess) and Sjur (Prestsaeter) have the experience to know what it takes. We expect them to be examples with the work ethic it takes to succeed.
"On the women's side, Linn (Håvelsrud Klaesson) skied great last year and is looking to be an All-American this year. Clara (Chauvet) learned a lot as a freshman and I expect her to have a good year. Anni (Nord) has been to the NCAAs and is good enough to beat a lot of good skiers.
"Ingrid (Leask) is coming off a redshirt year. She is rested and we are looking for her to have a big year, too."
THE LOBO ALPINE SKIERS
The Lobos have a few new additions to this unit, including first-year Alpine Coach Joe Downing. The two-time NCAA All-American says he likes the talent and the potential in his downhill racers on the men's side. The women Alpine unit is not as deep and is more of a question mark.
"The men are really good and really deep," said Downing. "We have some seniors on that side and my expectations for them are high. I like our depth down into our fifth and sixth guys. That group is strong.
"The women have some skiers who are strong and who have proven themselves, but we only have five skiers, so that group is small. We can't have too many mistakes on that side and we have to stay healthy. We just don't have any depth yet."
The Lobo Alpine women return Mary Rachel Hostetter, Anne Cecilie Brusletto and Kate Williams. The Lobos add freshman Courtney Altringer from Spokane, Wash., and Mateja Robnik from Luce, Slovenia. Robnik was a welcomed late addition to the Lobos and will arrive in Albuquerque on Jan. 13. She will miss the first two RMISA contests of the season, but will compete in a majority of conference events.
Hostetter, a senior, has been to the NCAA Championships three times, twice with Denver University. Brusletto and Williams have two trips to the national finals. Brusletto is a four-time All-American.
"Anne is coming off an injury, so we'll take it one day at a time with her," said Downing. "Courtney goes down as a wild card. Sometimes she skis just as fast as the other girls, but she doesn't have the experience. It will be interesting to how that shakes out."
The Alpine men also have some NCAA experience. Acosta leads the Lobo pack with three trips to the national finals. Michael Bansmer has a solo trip as does Armin Triendl. Acosta and Triendl have achieved First Team All-American status at nationals.
Triendl was the RMISA Men's Alpine MVP in 2012 and was named to the league's first team. Acosta was placed on the RMISA second team. That group also includes Sean Horner, Mark Miller, Juho Pekka Penttinen, Joonas Rasanen, and Chriss Salbu.
"There is great depth and quality in in the Alpine men," said Landstedt. "Chris (Acosta) and Armin (Triendl) have proven themselves at nationals and Bansmer had a very good year as a freshman. He is a good skier. There are eight guys so we have depth there."