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July 15, 2013

LOBO FLASHBACKS: Lobo Flashbacks is a summer feature of looking back on special teams, players, games or moments from the 2012-13 University of New Mexico athletic season.

Today:UNM's Joonas Rasanen Skis To National Title

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/

A Mountain West title is a big deal. You have to beat the best in an entire conference. An NCAA title is a huge deal. You have to beat the best coast-to-coast-- the cream of the cream!

So, do you think that when Lobo Joonas Rasanen gets the hang of this NCAA thing he might bring home two national championships instead of one?

The Lobo sophomore definitely was a hit on the slopes at the 2013 NCAA Championships as he became the 26th Lobo ever - and the 13th Lobo skier - to grab an individual national title.

It was Rasanen's first trip to the NCAA finals which also means his 2013 All-American award was his first.

Rasanen took the top spot on the slalom podium in Middlebury, Vt., as he pulled out of third place in the men's slalom after his first run and into the No. 1 spot.

"I knew I couldn't back off," Rasanen said his second run, which was actually slower than his first run (48.09 and 50.87). "I wanted to win."

A win in the slalom always comes down to going for it, but sometimes it also comes down to good fortune. If you don't go all out, you probably won't win because the skiers out for the national title are not holding anything back.

If you do go all out, there is always the chance of a fall or a bad turn on the slippery slopes. But you really have no choice -- you go for it.

Rasanen was a bit slower on his second run, but he was solid and avoided any major slips. A few other contenders weren't as lucky - or as skilled. Rasanen went from the No. 3 spot to the national title.

The Lobo became the first New Mexico skier to win a national crown since Malin Hemmingsson won the women's slalom in 2010. He is the third Lobo men's skier to win a title.

Rasanen might have been a rookie to the NCAA meet, but it was no surprise that he was up there contending for the title. He had three slalom wins during the regular-season slope wars in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association.

His fourth win set a program record for the most slalom wins in a single season. The Lobo ski team also has a national runner-up at the NCAA finals as Mats Rudin Resaland was second in the men's 10K classic.

Previous Lobo Flashbacks:

Flashback No. 1:

Kasey Carrier - UNM's workhorse has a special season
Flashback No. 2: Jeremy Fishbein's Lobos Open Season Ranked No. 2
Flashback No. 3: Lobo Volleyball Stuns Colorado State
Flashback No. 4: Joe Franklin's Harriers Get Combined Four-Peat
Flashback No. 5: Lobo Men's Hoops Grab Three Crowns in 2012-13
Flashback No. 6: Yvonne Sanchez's Lobos Carry Giant Broom To Sweep Aggies


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