Alpine, nordic gear up for carnival season

With the promise of snow on the way, men’s and women’s skiing is looking forward to rubbing elbows with the fastest skiers in the Northeast. “We seldom have this much depth and leadership potential in one year,” nordic Head Coach Bud Fisher said. “We also have returning one of our two [2010] NCAA qualifiers. Add strong skiers in the under classes, and we have the recipe for an exciting season.” Both Fisher and Assistant Coach Aubrey Smith are optimistic that the Ephs can contend with the top Div. I schools in the region.

Led by co-captains Keith Kantack ’11 and Evan Dethier ’11, the nordic men will field one of the deepest teams in recent years. Having graduated only one skier, the men’s team will be bolstered by NCAA Finals qualifier Dimitri Luethi ’12 alongside former U.S. Biathlon team member Mark Johnson ’11 and Erik Anderson ’12. Luethi, who is currently abroad in Mongolia, hopes to be back in form by the time the season starts in early January. A strong trio of sophomores – Casey Jones ’13, Ian Nesbitt ’13 and Phil Tosteson ’13 – and three talented rookies – Isaac Hoenig ’14, Kalle Jahn ’14 and Patrick Joslin ’14 – will compete to fill in the rest of the top six varsity spots. Hoenig, Jahn and Joslin all come to the team as area natives with valuable local race experience.

“After losing only one senior last year, we have a solid upper class that knows how to get it done and has put in the training hours over the summer and fall that are necessary to compete at this level,” Dethier said. “We have really benefited from a strong first-year presence that keeps the old guys sharp.”

The women’s nordic squad may be smaller this season, but the Ephs return most of their speed. Captain Sarah Tory ’11 will lead fellow seniors Kirsten Johnson ’11 and Maddy Wendt ’11. Hannah Hausman ’12, Holly Whitney ’12 and Julia Seyferth ’12 will add depth and valuable race experience, although Seyferth is new to the team this year. Christina Knapp ’13 and Kristin Halvorsen ’14 will both make strong contributions to the team.

“The women’s team is small this year, but I’m really impressed with the individual improvements in fitness and technique. Overall, I think we’re stronger and fitter than last year,” Tory said. “The consistent summer and fall training we’ve done is definitely apparent in workouts so it will be exciting to see how we can make the transition onto snow.”

The alpine team started off its season in Winter Park, Colo. last month with a Thanksgiving training camp. Blue skies and great snow conditions made it easy for the team to get back on its feet. Despite returning to a rainy Williamstown after four days of skiing, the team has high morale regarding the coming months of competition. “Our camp was super productive, everyone’s skiing very well I’m totally stoked,” Assistant Coach Kelsey Levine said.

The 2011 alpine team is captained by Alex Reeves ’11, Annie Hanson ’11 and Jeff Putnam ’11, while new additions to the team include Alex Jerred ’14, John Sanderson ’14 and Shannon Campbell ’14. The rookies on both the men’s and women’s teams are expected to make immediate contributions on the NCAA circuit.

A number of strong contributors from last season will return to the men’s squad, including Will Hadden ’12, Whitney Mikell ’12 and Sean Cummiskey ’12. Though the graduation of three of last season’s Ephs will require an adjustment, the team is confident in its ability to be successful this year.

On the women’s side, Amy McLaughlin ’12, Laurel Carter ’12 and Katy Kirkpatrick ’12 will be key contributors. Carter recently returned from a semester in New Zealand and has since departed for Austria, where she will train until January, while McLaughlin began training in November after the close of her field hockey season and Kirkpatrick is finishing up a semester in Italy. Second-year Ephs Geordie Lonza ’13, Annie Leiter ’13, Kristina Krone ’13, Marissa Thiel ’13 and Sarah Rosemann ’13 round out the women’s side. The sophomore contingent is quite strong this year and will play a major role in the forthcoming season.

Alpine training has already begun at Jiminy Peak. After a few warm-up races later this the month for the alpine team and a winter break training trip to Quebec to make some last minute adjustments for the nordic squads, the team will be ready to kick off the 2011 circuit, which commences with a race in Lake Placid, N.Y. on Jan. 14.

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