Conference Skiers of the Week
Event Player School
Women’s Alpine Nicole Dvoral Middlebury
Men’s Alpine Rob Cone Middlebury
Women’s Nordic Amy Glen Vermont
Men’s Nordic Sam Tarling Dartmouth
Women’s Alpine Anne Cecilie Brusletto New Mexico
Men’s Alpine Juho-Pekka Penttinen New Mexico
Women’s Nordic Kate Dolan Denver
Men’s Nordic Martin Kaas New Mexico

Mark Bedics,

The University of New Mexico has a long and storied history in the NCAA Skiing Championships. The Lobos won their only team national title in skiing in 2004, but have finished second twice and third five times, including each of the past two seasons.

This season they struggled a little at the start with third place finishes in the first two events of the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association (RMISA) season. However, the Lobos vaulted to the top of the competition with a victory at its own invitational this past weekend in Red River, N.M., and it is now becoming more apparent that the Lobos are going to be a force at this season’s NCAA Championships.

“We have been coming along. Early in the year in both Alpine and Nordic we were very back and forth in our results,” said New Mexico head coach Fredrik Landstedt. “This weekend the alpine team skied outstanding and the Nordic team had their best performance of the year. Overall it was a very good weekend, so if we can continue to improve like this we should be ready for NCAAs.”

The Lobo alpine team is built around senior superstar Petter Brenna who has a win, three second places and a fourth in his six competitions this season.

“Petter is a threat to win the race every time he skis,” Landstedt said. “He is very stable and you know what type of performance he is going to give you every time he goes out there.”

Juho-Pekka Penttinen, a freshman from Finland, has added needed depth on the men’s alpine team and is starting to come into his own after placing first and fourth in his two races this past weekend. The women’s alpine squad is led by junior Anne Cecilie Brusletto, who burst onto the scene with victories in both races this past weekend.

On the Nordic side, senior Martin Kaas has been a dominant force, with a victory, and three third-place finishes in his six races this season. Senior Tor-Hakon Hellebostad and freshman Christian Otto have added needed depth on the men’s side which has won the classic competition in two of the three events to date. On the women’s side, depth and experience has been a concern but freshmen Martine Weng, Terese Andersson, Sofie Jonsson, and Christina Loevald Hellberg have all been showing increasing promise.

“Our lack of depth on the women’s side has hurt us during the regular season,” Landstedt said. “However, at NCAAs since each team is only allowed to count three skiers it’s not a real concern. We have a very strong men’s team, and with the women we just need to get some more experience and continue to get better.”

Need to Know
• Vermont won its third consecutive Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) Carnival. In addition, they won all eight events on their way to posting a team total of 1009.5, ahead of Dartmouth (801.5), New Hampshire (783), Middlebury (708), Williams (594.5) and Colby (529). Vermont’s Kate Ryley swept both women’s alpine events, while teammate Jonathan Nordbotten won both men’s alpine events. On the Nordic side, Caitlin Patterson won both events to move to a perfect four-for-four on the year, while her brother Scott Patterson won the freestyle event and Franz Bernstein won the classic event in men’s action.

• Elsewhere, numerous NCAA student-athletes competed in alpine events as members of the United States team at the World University Games from Jan. 29-Feb. 6 in Erzurum, Turkey. The University of Colorado’s Katie Hartman won the super G event, while Buffalo teammate Erika Ghent took fourth. The University of Denver’s Grant Jampolsky was the top men’s NCAA finisher in the super G with a sixth place finish. In the women’s super combined, Ghent took second place as the top U.S. finisher. In the men’s super combined, Jampolsky placed fourth overall, while former Dartmouth standout Ace Tarberry was seventh. Denver’s Jennie Van Wagner won the giant slalom, while Colorado’s Carolina Nordh, who competed for Sweden, finished fifth. In the men’s giant slalom, Utah’s Jeremy Elliot was fourth overall, Colorado’s Seppi Stiegler was sixth and Tarberry was seventh. In the women’s slalom, Denver’s Sterling Grant won the gold medal, while teammate Lindsay Cone was fifth. In the men’s slalom, Stiegler won a third gold medal for the U.S., while Tarberry was seventh.

Quick Hits
• With a sweep in New Mexico, Utah’s Maria Graefnings has now won all six of the events in which she has competed this season.

• The RMISA will be back in action at the Denver Invitational Feb. 11-13 in Winter Park, Colo.

• The next stop on the EISA circuit will be at the Dartmouth Carnival Feb. 11-12 in Hanover, N.H.

• The CCSA will be hosting its conference championships this weekend Feb. 12-13 in Ishpeming, Mich.