Skiing opens season at St. Lawrence Carnival

The 2010 NCAA alpine and nordic ski season kicked off tlast weekend at Whiteface Mountain near Lake Placid, N.Y. The event, hosted by St. Lawrence, was the first test for this year’s roster of men and women, who finished fifth in the overall competition. Nordic Head Coach Bud Fisher is optimistic about the team this year. “The 2010 edition of the team looks very promising,” Fisher said. “We have the strongest group of returnees we have seen in a number of years.”

The men’s nordic team hopes to build on its excellent 2009 season, when it finished in the top three of several carnival races. The men’s alpine squad is currently led by captain and 2009 NCAA qualifier Alex Dryoff ’10. New talent Chris Nocek ’13 and Jeff Bak ’13 also bring considerable energy to this men’s team.

Women’s alpine is joined by a host of newcomers, including Annie Leiter ’13, Marissa Thiel ’13, Sarah Rosemann ’13, Kristina Krone ’13 and Geordie Lonza ’13. Alpine Assistant Coach Eirik Buraas calls this year’s group “the deepest and most talented women’s team in years.” Comparatively, the women’s nordic team, led by captain and NCAA qualifier Alice Nelson ’10, looks to return to the form that placed it in the top three of the 2008 carnivals.

Rain and warm temperatures made Friday a challenging day for all competitors. The women’s team placed all six racers in the top 30, notably with Porter and Levine in seventh and eighth. Levine finished in a strong 10th at the end of the day, with Lonza and Leiter scoring their first team points in 16th and 22nd, respectively. On the nordic women’s side, Nelson and Johnson finished 16th and 17th respectively.

Cummiskey led the alpine men in 24th, with Bak and Reeves in 29th and 30th. The nordic men supported the alpine efforts,with Kantack coming in 10th, followed by Dethier at 14th.

The women’s team had a very respectable Saturday: Porter won moved up into 16th overall, while Lonza skied solidly into 20th. Leading the women’s squad was Carter, who finished in 11th position. For nordic, it was Johnson and Nelson who led again in the day’s 15 km skate race, placing 15th and 20th, respectively.

The men also fared better the second day, with Dyroff finishing at 13th place in the slalom. Putnam had a break-out race and finished 13th in the second run and 20th overall – his first top 20 on the college circuit. Nocek also scored his first points for the team, finishing in a solid 22nd position. Taylor led the nordic men in their 20 km race, finishing 11th, followed by a 19th place finish by Dethier.

Next week’s race, hosted by St. Michael’s, will take place at Smuggler’s Notch, Vt. “We are incredibly close to where we want to be,” Dryoff said.