Skiing finishes season at Nationals

The ski team, represented by alpine skiers Eric Mann ’09, Alex Dyroff ’10 and Emily Porter ’10 and nordic skier Dimitri Luthi ’12, finished 14th at the NCAA National Championship, hosted by Bates. Mann, competing in his fourth NCAA Championship, led Dyroff and Porter to Sunday River, Maine, to compete against the best collegiate alpine skiers in the nation. Luthi made his first NCAA team in as many tries, and went up against stiff competition in the classic and freestyle races.

The Ephs faced a talented field, featuring numerous former national team skiers from around the world. In the giant slalom, Mann raced to a strong fourth place finish, securing All-American honors for the third time in his Williams career. After some trouble on the first run, Dyroff turned it on in the second run and finished a respectable 28th. Porter continued her giant slalom success from the regular season, finishing 24th with a fantastic second run.

While the alpine skiers turned up the heat at Sunday River, Luthi took to the trails at Black Mountain, 20 minutes away in Rumford, Maine. In the individual start 10K classic race, Luthi finished in 28th place. The course was icy and fast, and times were tight; Luthi was just 16 seconds out of the top 20. Despite qualifying in the 10th and final spot from the East division, Luthi was the eighth-fastest skier from the EISA, topping athletes from Dartmouth and Bates.

In the slalom, Mann provided the Ephs’ top result again, finishing in 14th place. Dyroff followed close behind with a solid 18th place finish. On the women’s side, Porter battled a deep field and raced to an impressive 28th place. The combined efforts of Mann, Dyroff and Porter led the alpine team to a strong 12th place finish overall.

Guest Coach Charles Christianson ’08 said, “The effort put forth on the hill by Eric, Alex, and Emily exemplifies the attitude of the entire team, and manifests the warrior spirit of Ephraim Williams.”

In the final event of the championships, Luthi closed out the racing for the Ephs in the grueling 20K mass start freestyle race. He had to complete four 5K loops, each finishing with a relentless and steady uphill before the finish. Luthi, seeded 36th in the race, moved up several places to finish 33rd overall, weaving his way through the competition and skiing a steady and patient race to finish strong in the final kilometers.

“It was great to see Dimitri race this week,” said Sam Kapala ’09, men’s nordic team captain. “It’s an awesome opportunity to get a shot at the top competition from around the country, including many European racers from the western schools, and Dimitri handled the pressure well and had two great performances in both races.”

The Ephs end the 2009 season, and despite losing 10 seniors to graduation this year, will look to reload for a promising season in 2010.