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Who’s kidding whom? Mendes fast start isn’t due to history of success at Lake Louise

Wasn’t it interesting how the media and U.S. Ski Team’s Web site portrayed Jonna Mendes’ mercurial rise in the World Cup circuit this weekend? They think the South Shore alpine skier’s sudden rise into the top 10 ranks is due to her love for Lake Louise Ski Area.

Mendes went along with the flippant suggestion, saying “It’s so homey here. I think having raced here so much, and having had success, I just feel more confident.”

She’s too polite to put the doubters in their place with her mouth. She’ll do it with her skis, but perhaps some doubt remains from a 1999-2000 season that saw her make little headway with the Europeans.



In her four World Cup races thus far, including two super-Gs, Mendes has fared no worse than 15th place. Mendes’ pair of top 10 downhills in Lake Louise propelled her into the top 10 downhill standings (ninth) – a feat no other American can claim.

But her newfound confidence is because of the hard work she did during the off-season and the two new Fischer boards underneath feet. That confidence won’t go away when the World Cuppers move on to Val d’Isere, France, on Wednesday.



Mendes is learning to speak the language on the World Cup circuit, and the Germans, Austrians and Italians better get accustomed to Mendes battling them for the top-10 prize money.

* * *

Hearing that new Vikings boys basketball coach Derek Allister sat down several of his top players in the Viking Rotary Classic last weekend, it’s nice to see that discipline is still being practiced after Tom Orlich.

Allister’s team absorbed a 20-point defeat to rival Douglas without their stars, but the lesson should help the Vikings become a better team down the road.

* * *

I hope you clipped out the complete list of college bowl games that came out in Monday’s sports section. If you did, I know you highlighted the Galleryfurniture.com bowl Dec. 27. Now the laughingstock of college bowls, I’m sure the players would be rather be collecting splinters from their furniture at home than practicing for another month to get the opportunity to play in this one.

* * *

The game with the most local appeal is the Humanitarian Bowl, which features former Hug quarterback Bart Hendrick’s Boise State Broncos (9-2) against Texas El Paso (8-3).

Hendricks has taken what he learned from Hawks coach Rollins Stallworth and become one of the country’s top quarterbacks that no one has heard of. In fact, Hendricks has probably been more consistent than Heisman Trophy finalists Drew Brees and Chris Weinke, passing for 2,740 yards and 22 touchdowns. Moreover, Hendricks has 357 rushing yards and eight touchdown runs.

While most NFL GMs are drooling over the prospect of signing Rams backup Trent Green in the off-season, perhaps they may want to take a chance on drafting the former Hug Hawks star.

* * *

If you had little going on late last Saturday night, you may have seen a hulking quarterback direct UNLV to a 34-32 victory over Hawaii and secure a spot in the annual Las Vegas Bowl.

On closer examination of the UNLV quarterback, you may have recalled Jason Thomas helping then No. 3-ranked Dominguez High past STHS 66-54 to win the 1997 Viking Rotary Classic.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Thomas only passed for 124 yards against the ‘Bows, but rushed for 126 yards and accounted for three touchdowns, including two through the air.

Thomas’ Runnin Rebels play host to Arkansas on Dec. 21 in the Las Vegas Bowl.


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