Skiing prepares for 2008

With a mix of seasoned carnival veterans, NCAA qualifiers and a strong freshman class, the men and women’s alpine and nordic ski teams look poised for a successful season.

This season’s alpine team returns five Div. I NCAA championship qualifiers, two NCAA All-Americans and one NCAA championship medalist. Led by Head Coach Ed Grees and three-time Olympian Assistant Coach Chip Knight, the alpine squad looks to be one of the most competitive teams on the carnival circuit this year.

Captain and All-American Charles Christianson ’08 returns after ending his junior season early with a knee injury. He will look to join forces with fellow All-American Eric Mann ’09 and dominate the EISA carnival scene. NCAA qualifiers Evan Barrett ’08 and Tavis Moonan ’08 will join Christianson and Mann in pursuit of top finishes on the carnival circuit with the hopes of sending a large contingent to the NCAAs. Men’s alpine boasts a deep squad that also includes Jim Whitledge ’09, Jake Koshland ’09, Eirik Burass ’09, Ian Simmons ’09, Adam Carman ’10, Alex Dyroff ’10 and Taylor Goller ’10. Geoff McCrossan ’11, Alex Reeves ’11 and Jeff Putnam ’11 are talented additions who will be in the mix as well.

Kelly Kirkpatrick ’09 returns from a season-ending hip injury last winter to captain the women’s alpine team for the 2008 carnival season. Kirkpatrick will be joined by classmate Jennah Durham ’09 as well as the talented sophomore trio of Emily Porter ’10, Liz McClure ’10 and Kelsey Levine ’10. Durham and Levine competed in the 2007 NCAA championships, with Durham narrowly missing All-American honors. Sylvia Semper ’08 and newcomers Annie Hanson ’11 and Aimee Weber ’11 will also look to contribute and vie for carnival spots this winter.

“This year we are as strong as any other team on the circuit,” Christianson said. “The added depth [of the team] this year, along with the outstanding effort of everyone during preseason, gives us a competitive edge over our collegiate competitors.”

The nordic team is bolstered by a sizeable freshman class that will complement their upperclassmen teammates. Natalie Joffe ’08 and Sam Kapala ’09 will captain the team. The men’s nordic squad welcomes Scotty McClelland ’08 back from junior year abroad to join Kapala and Sam Sterling ’09 in the hopes of improving on their finishes last season. Mark Johnson ’10, Alex Taylor ’10 and Crosby Fish ’10 will bring carnival experience from their rookie seasons. First-years Robby Cuthbert ’11, Evan Dethier ’11, David Hansen ’11, Caleb Lucy ’11 and Keith Kantack ’11 will likely make immediate contributions to the team.

Top returning nordic skier Alice Nelson ’10 will lead the women’s squad after consistently placing in the top-15 at carnivals last season. She will be joined by Fiona Worcester ’09, Emily Olsen ’09, Liz Kantack ’09, Mary Haas ’09, Ali DeMarchis ’10 and Gabrielle Joffe ’11 in the hunt for top team finishes. Kirsten Johnson ’11, Amy Nolan ’11, Maddy Wendt ’11, Katie White ’11 and Joffe will look to push their teammates and snag some spots on the carnival team.

The nordic team will travel to Mont Sainte Anne in Quebec in December in search of snow and a solid week of training before returning to campus for winter study. “Our team is looking really strong this fall,” says Joffe ’08. “All ten of our freshmen are great additions and everyone has been showing amazing dedication.”

Skiing opens its carnival season in Maine at the Bates Carnival on Jan. 11 and 12.