Lobos Still in 2nd Place After Day 3, Strandberg Becomes a 4-Time All-American
Hanover, N.H. - Lobo senior Nordic skier Kristina Strandberg became just the third four-time All-American in UNM history with an eighth place finish in the women's 15K Classic race today at the 2003 NCAA Skiing Championships in Hanover, N.H. Along with sophomore Martina Stursova (4th) and junior Jenny Wissting (13th), Strandberg helped the women to a second place team finish in the event. Freshman Jimmy Vika placed fourth in the men's 20K Classic race, with the men finishing seventh as a team. Overall the Lobos hold on to second place but Utah pushed its lead to 539-439.5 with just one day of competition to go. Colorado has moved up in the standings to third place with 424.5 points.
Stursova finished the women's race with a time of 47:44.4, good enough for fourth place but over a minute off Utah skier Katrin Smigun's winning time of 46:30.7. It was her second top-5 finish of the Championships as she just edged out Utah's Sara Svendsen by 0.9 seconds. The dash for the finish line was met with cheers from the 1,000 or more spectators in attendance.
Wissting had some bad luck on the course today when she lost a ski in the early part of the race. She quickly recovered but was in the middle of the pack after the first lap. The two-time All-American from Vikbolandet, Sweden could have coasted the rest of the way in, but she battled back and almost made her way into the top-10, finishing 13th.
The story of the day however was Standberg, who finished in eighth place with a time of 48:07.6. She joins Mattais Erlandsson (Men's Alpine `96) and Oeyvind Larsen (Men's Nordic `93) as the only four-time NCAA All-American's in school history.
"Making All-American again was great because it is always good to finish in the top-10," stated Strandberg, who came to UNM from Bjorna, Sweden in 2000. " This year I expected to do a lot better than I did, but the competition has been the best since I got here. There are some very good girls out there skiing."
When asked to reflect on her stellar career that includes an Individual National Championship, two team National Championships, four-time All-American, four-time All-Conference, and four-time Academic All-American awards, Strandberg responded, "It has been great. I really enjoy New Mexico and I am really glad I chose to come to school here. I have been able to ski and get a master's degree in statistics and that has been a great deal for me."
Women's Nordic 15K Classic Top-10* Individual Finishes
*Top-10 Earn NCAA All-American Honors
Women's Nordic 15K Classic Team Standings
For the men, Vika led the way with his fourth place finishing time of 59:02.3 in the 20K race. He was less than 20 seconds off the winning time of 58:43.4, set by Northern Michigan's Christopher Cook. Sophomore Lars Krogsveen came in 26th place while junior Jacob Zehnder finished 36th.
Men's Nordic 20K Classic Top-10* Individual Finishes
Top-10 Earn NCAA All-American Honors
Men's Nordic 20K Classic Team Standings
Utah's 100-point lead will be difficult for the Lobos to overcome in the final day, but with the men's and women's Slalom up next, anything can happen. All it would take is for a couple of Lobos to ski well and a couple of Utes to let up and New Mexico could be right back in the hunt. Juniors Jennifer Delich and Caroline Schicht were on last year's Lobo squad the captured the 2002 Women's Slalom NCAA Team Title, so they know what it takes to win. The men's first run is set for 9:30 a.m. (E.S.T.) while the women start at 10:30 a.m. (E.S.T.)