Skiing places 6th at EISA’s

The alpine and nordic ski team took sixth place at the EISA championships hosted by Middlebury last weekend. The Ephs also found individual success, as seven skiers qualified for the NCAA Championships.

With a mix of snow and blue skies over the weekend, the alpine team once again asserted its presence at the races. The Ephs were led by Charles Christianson ’08, who took the win in the slalom portion of the races, achieving his sixth victory of the season and 10th top-three finish out of a possible 12 races. “It has been a great season, not just for me but more importantly the team. That’s what really matters,” Christianson said.

Also in the slalom, Alex Dyroff ’10 placed 15th and Tavis Moonan ’08 finished 21st, earning the men’s team a fourth place overall finish.

In the Giant Slalom, Christianson placed third behind Andrew Wagner of Middlebury, who certainly had a home hill advantage. Despite some troubles, Eric Mann ’09 placed 10th and right behind him, Moonan.

The women placed sixth in both the Giant Slalom and slalom. Jenna Durham ’10 was 10th in the giant slalom, accompanied by Kelsey Levine ’10 in 20th and Emily Porter ’10 in 27th. For the slalom, the ladies had some trouble finishing clean, but managed to sneak Levine into 14th and Porter into 19th, followed by Annie Hanson in 40th.

Most importantly, these last races were the final factor in determining the qualifiers for NCAAs. The men qualified three athletes, including Christianson, Mann and Dyroff. The women qualified two, Porter and Durham, resulting in the most NCAA qualifiers from the Ephs’ alpine side in the past two decades.

The nordic team finished off the weekend stronger than they started it, with a solid team performance on Saturday following a sub-par day on Friday.

Saturday’s classic races brought out the best in the nordic team. The men’s squad moved up several spots to take sixth place as a team in the 15k mass start classic race, with a score of 86 points. Evan Dethier ’11, Mark Johnson ’10 and Keith Kantack ’11 worked together for much of the race, moving up through the field to help their team to a strong finish. Dethier finished 18th, outsprinting a NCAA-bound Middlebury skier in the final stretch. Johnson took 20th and Kantack finished 27th.

The women’s team took third overall in the 10k classic race, a point behind second place host Middlebury and two points in front of UNH. Alice Nelson ’10 and Kirsten Johnson ’11 led the charge with their impressive fifth and seventh place results. Johnson’s seventh-place finish moved her into 10th place on the EISA classic list and to a spot on the NCAA team. Fiona Worcester ’09 had a strong race to take 25th place, with Gabrielle Joffe ’11 close behind in 32nd. Nelson, by virtue of her strong performances in both freestyle and classic races this season, was named to the All-East Second Team with an eighth-place ranking.

On Friday, the men’s nordic team was led by Johnson and Alex Taylor ’10 in the 10k freestyle race. Johnson took 23rd place, nine seconds faster than Taylor who finished 26th. Caleb Lucy ’11 was 40th, to complete the team scoring.

The women followed in the 5k freestyle event with three skiers placing in the top 25. Nelson was the team’s top finisher in 11th place, while Kirsten Johnson and Joffe took 20th and 25th place, respectively. The women placed third overall with a score of 87 points.

The Ephs will be represented by five alpine skiers and two nordic skiers at the NCAA championships, hosted by Montana State University at the Bohart Ranch Cross Country Center in Bozeman, Montana from March 5 to 8.

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