Skiers Gearing Up for a Run at Their First Overall National
2003 Outlook With winter fast approaching and the local New Mexico ski areas starting to open, the 2003 University of New Mexico Ski Team is gearing up for another run at an NCAA National Championship. The Lobos traditionally begin their on-snow training around Thanksgiving weekend and with the recent wintry weather in the northern New Mexico area, this year will be no different.
Head coach George Brooks has guided the Lobos throughout the programs history and is entering his 33rd year of varsity competition. Brooks and the Lobo skiers are coming off one of their more successful seasons in recent years with a fourth place finish at the 2002 NCAA Championships in Anchorage, Alaska. Included in their 19th consecutive top-10 finish were a team-national championship and an individual national title. The womens Alpine team, made up of Jennifer Delich, Caroline Schicht and Marte Dolva, combined to win the 2002 NCAA Womens Slalom Team Championship while Dolva took home the individual title in that event.
Womens Alpine With a solid core returning and some talented newcomers joining the program, Brooks is looking for another strong performance from the womens Alpine team. Both Delich and Schicht return from last years slalom national championship team. Schicht earned All-RMISA honors while Delich was an All-American in 2002. Also returning is sophomore Helena Woodrow. Woodrow qualified for the NCAAs last season, and had a strong conference season that included five top-10 finishes. Four freshmen also join the Lobo womens Alpine team, including Monica Bruggeman, Jennifer Shively, Kathrin Spendier, and Gladys Weidt.
We have a very talented womens Alpine team that should be one of the best in the nation, stated Brooks. I look for our womens team to contend for another national title at this years NCAAs.
Mens Alpine Brooks also has a talented group of Lobos on the mens Alpine team, led by senior Lars Bjorge from Oslo, Norway. Bjorge is a four-year letterman who is looking for his first trip to the NCAA Championships. Last season, Bjorge scored two top-10 finishes, including a ninth place finish in the slalom at the NCAA West Regionals. Also returning from last years team is Gottfried Schwarzmueller, a sophomore from Buch, Austria. Schwarzmueller is looking to improve on his lone top-10 finish last season, a 10th place run in the slalom at the University of Denver race. The Lobos have added three freshmen to the mens side, including Alexander Freberg, Christian Jensen, and Dustin Simons.
Our mens team is going to have to have some help from the new guys, but I still think we are going to be very competitive, stated Brooks. Gotty will improve in his second season and I think we will have another strong team.
Womens Nordic Head Nordic coach Fredrik Landstedt has put together one of the top womens Nordic teams in the nation. Returning from last years team is 2000 National Champion and three-time All-American Kristina Strandberg, junior Brooke Gosling and sophomore Andrea Roberts. Also returning to the Lobos after a two-year absence is 2000 All-American Jenny Wissting.
With Kristina and Jenny returning we should have a very strong womens team, stated Landstedt. The rest of our team is very solid and should give us a strong group to compete at the NCAA Championships.
The Lobos also pick up two newcomers for the 2003 season. Martina Stursova is a sophomore transfer from Polika, Czech Republic and Janelle Kinner is a freshman from Casper, Wyoming. Both are expected to solidify an already talented womens Nordic squad.
Mens Nordic The one area the Lobos are looking to strengthen is their mens Nordic team. Currently, the Lobos have two experienced skiers on the roster in junior Jacob Zehnder and sophomore Graham Bremner. Both Bremner and Zehnders best finish last season occurred when they teamed up in the Classic Sprint Relay at the UNM race in Red River, N.M. The Lobo duo took advantage of racing on their home course and posted a 13th place finish.
The Lobos are hoping to pick up some more talent at the end of the fall semester to help solidify the mens squad.
If we can bring in a couple of new guys a the end of the semester to go along with Jesse and Graham, we should have a good team, stated Landstedt.
The Schedule The Lobos compete in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association during their collegiate season. The RMISA is the premier collegiate skiing conference and included the top four finishing teams at the 2002 NCAA Championships. The 2003 conference schedule includes races hosted by the University of Alaska-Anchorage, Montana State University, University of Colorado, Western State College, and the University of Denver. Each team hosts an event two out of every three season, so this year the Lobos will not have a home event.
This years NCAA Championships will be hosted by Dartmouth University and held on March 5-9, 2003. The Lobos will look to add to their list of seven individual national titles and 11 team national championships, and also try to become the first UNM squad in school history to bring home an overall national championship.
With the talented group of returning skiers mixed in with a strong class of new comers, head coach George Brooks has a great chance of becoming the first coach at UNM to win a national championship. The ski teams 2nd place finish in 1992 is still the highest team finish among all programs at UNM in an NCAA Championship. Hopefully, the Lobos can do one better in 2003.
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