Skiing grabs fifth at EISA championship

Skiing wrapped up its regular season with a strong fifth-place showing at the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) championships at Middlebury last weekend. The team garnered 539.5 points in the effort, finishing behind first-place UVM with 955 points.

On Day Two, the nordic women turned in an impressive performance in the 15k classic, with four women cracking the top 30. Holly Whitney ’12 topped the Ephs’ performance with a 19th-place finish in her final collegiate carnival race. Christina Knapp ’13 pulled in not far behind, taking 21st, with Elena Luethi ’15 completing scoring just behind her in 26th. Hannah Smith ’15 swooped into 28th, coming back from a disappointing start to crack the top 30. Women’s nordic placed sixth on the day.

Vanya Rybken ’15 capped a strong rookie season with a 10th-place result in the men’s 20k classic, steadily working his way up to earn his first top-10 finish in EISA racing. Kalle Jahn ’14 cruised to a 27th-place finish, with captain Dimitri Luethi ’12 rounding out scoring in 33rd. The nordic men finished in sixth overall on Day Two.

Saturday also held the women’s giant slalom, and Geordie Lonza ’13 sped to sixth place in the event, leading the women with a combined time of 2:06.9. On the strength of a powerful second run, Katy Kirkpatrick ’12 slid into 19th, with Laurel Carter ’12 finishing up team scoring in 23rd. Fellow Ephs Annie Leiter ’13 and Shannon Campbell ’14 pulled up in 28th and 34th, respectively. The solid team performance placed the women in fifth on the day.

“It is wonderful to have athletes who can lead by example,” Head Coach Ed Grees said. “The focus and energy Laurel and Geordie display in the collegiate events is at an extremely high level. This sets the bar higher for their teammates … We have had Shannon Campbell, Sarah Cottrill, Annie Leiter and Katy Kirkpatrick all score for the team [this season]. This shows that each of them can find that extra gear.”

In the men’s giant slalom, captain Sean Cummiskey ’12 topped the squad in 26th place, with Chris Nocek ’13 not far behind in 28th. Dylan Thomas ’15 snared 39th, redeeming a disappointing first trip down the hill with a solid second run. Carson Houle ’15 and Nicolas Tomczyk ’13 took 49th and 52nd, respectively, as men’s alpine combined for seventh on Day Two.

In Friday’s 5k skate race, the women combined for seventh overall with a strong team performance. Knapp was the women’s top finisher in 27th, with Smith just beside her in 33rd. Whitney was the Ephs’ last scorer in 35th, but Elena Luethi came in just behind her in 37th. Becca Bell ’15 and Kristin Halvorsen ’14 broke the top 50 in 46th and 50th, respectively.

In the men’s 10k freestyle on Day One, Dimitri Luethi capped a solid season with a 12th-place finish. Isaac Hoenig ’14 also ended the regular season on a high note with his 19th-place result. Rybkin finished the men’s scoring in 24th. The squad finished fifth on Day One.

On Friday, women’s alpine turned in another powerful performance, combining for a second-place effort on Day One. Lonza punctuated an impressive season with a fourth-place slalom result, putting together two solid runs for a time of 1:39:35. Teammate Carter was right on her tail in ninth. Sarah Cottrill ’15 landed 12th after a top-five second run, wrapping up the Ephs’ scoring in the event. Campbell claimed 23rd, and Leiter took 28th.

Nocek was the men’s top finisher in Friday’s slalom, snaring 26th. Cummiskey finished in 32nd with Tomczyk not far behind in 40th. Victor Major ’15 slipped to 53rd after a sloppy second run as the men’s alpine squad combined to finish in eighth on Day One.

“It was great to see Sean Cummiskey finish his career with two great finishes at Middlebury,” Grees said. “He has worked hard to lead a very young men’s team forward this season … I expect that the experience that they have accumulated this season will be important in the development of their confidence for the future.”

The Middlebury Carnival was the last regular season carnival after a strong season for the Ephs. “The goal was and still is to leave no stone unturned,” Grees said. “The hard work both men’s and women’s teams put in on the hill, physical training during the fall and their willingness to let skiing be a priority in their lives at Williams has opened up these opportunities for them this season.”

Skiing will next compete on March 7-10 in the NCAA Championships in Bozeman, Mont. Dimitri Luethi and Will Wicherski ’15 will represent the nordic squad, and Carter and Lonza will compete for the alpine side.

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