After nearly two feet of snow fall, seven members of the ski team suited up for their final race of the season in Bozeman, Montana. The team placed 14th overall and sixth among the East Coast schools at the NCAA championships, hosted by Montana State University. Last year the Ephs placed 15th. Denver University took the title, outpacing the University of Colorado by 30 points. Dartmouth, winner of five of the six EISA carnivals this season, placed fourth.
The NCAA championship is not your average ski race. As a result, any move up in the field is a job well done – and for the five Williams alpine skiers that competed, that’s precisely what happened.
Coming in as the man to beat for the title, Charles Christianson ’08 placed fourth in the slalom, just .01 seconds back from the podium. The finish marks the fourth time Christianson has received All-American honors. In the Giant Slalom (GS), the recent snowfall resulted in a near crash for Christianson, costing him any chance at victory. “It is bittersweet,” said Christianson, “the results did not come out the way I was expecting and it was my last college race ever, yet I skied the way I wanted and would not change a thing.”
Eric Mann ’09 had a good two days of racing, moving up nearly 10 spots in the slalom and securing eighth place in the GS for All-American distinction. Alex Dyroff ’10 moved up six spots into 28th in the GS but was disqualified in the slalom after missing the second to last gate. For the alpine women, Jennah Durham ’10 and Emily Porter ’10 both moved up in the GS and slalom. In the Slalom, Porter placed 28th and 30th in the GS. Durham finished 17th in the GS and 22nd in the slalom.
Alice Nelson ’10 and Kirsten Johnson ’11, by virtue of consistent top-10 finishes on the carnival circuit, represented the nordic team at the championships. After arriving early in Bozeman, Nelson and Johnson spent several days preparing themselves for the rigors of the course and adjusted to the adverse effects of the altitude.
The championships opened with the 5k freestyle race. Johnson placed 23rd, four seconds out of the top-20, and Nelson took 29th. Colorado’s Maria Moe Grevsgaard, who dominated the western circuit all year, won the race by considerable margin over the second-place finisher.
After a day of rest and an opportunity to watch the alpine team compete in the GS races, the women returned to Bohart Ranch to compete in the 15k mass start classic race. The race featured three laps around a challenging 5k loop, nearing 6,200 feet at its highest point. Johnson led the way, placing 25th, with Nelson coming in close behind in 30th.
The nordic women got a boost when they were supported by their alpine teammates who trekked out onto the course to watch and cheer for them. “I was pretty much dying on my third lap going up this huge hill but I had all of the ‘pinies cheering for me and running up the hill beside me,” said Nelson. “It was an incredible feeling to have their support.”
NCAA Div. III championship meet, being held in Miami University in Ohio, next month.