Skiing pushes to 5th place at regionals

Both the nordic and alpine ski teams travelled to Bates last weekend to compete in the NCAA regional championship. Williams took fifth overall with 568 points. UVM won the regional championship with 939.5 points.

On Friday, the nordic men took third in their 10k classic race, earning their highest team finish of the season. Will Wicherski ’15 led the Ephs with an eighth-place finish. This was his third consecutive race placing in the top 10. Close behind him was Ian Nesbitt ’13 in 11th place, having his best collegiate finish after a second lap of 14:04.3. Anchoring the women in their 5k classic race was senior standout Christina Knapp ’13. Knapp finished 14th in 16:01.9 to help the team to sixth place overall.

The alpine women came out of the gates strong: Captain Geordie Lonza ’13 continued her streak of success from the weekend before, laying down two speedy runs to give her a two-run total of 2:39.84, which was good for third place. Annie Leiter ’13 joined her teammate in the top 10 with a ninth-place finish, her best personal finish of the year. Sarah Cottrill ’15 was the third Eph finisher on the day, coming in 23rd with a time of 2:43.50. The women ended the first day in second place with 94 points, only 10 points behind Dartmouth with 104. The top three finishes on Friday for the alpine men were Victor Major ’15 in 28th, Christoph Lentz ’15 in 41st and Carson Houle ’15 in 46th. The men finished their races Friday in ninth place with a total of 37 points.

On Saturday, the nordic team competed with just as much vigor as they did on Friday, with three men finishing in the top 20 to snag a third-place team finish for the second day in a row. Isaac Hoenig ’14 led the trio in the 15k event with a time of 38:55.3, finishing in 15th place. Wicherski and Vanya Rybkin ’15 were very close behind, notching 16th and 17th places. Olivia Meyerson ’16 led the Ephs in the 10k skate with a time of 30:02 and a 17th-place finish. Knapp was close behind in 21st place, completing the course in 30:13.

“The weekend was a great finish to the season,” nordic women’s co-captain Hannah Smith ’15 said. “Spirits were high as lots of athletes had their best races of the season. We couldn’t have done it without each other, our coaches and our parents’ support.” While many of the nordic skiers ended their seasons last weekend, a number of the Eph nordic competitors will continue their seasons at Nationals. Hoenig, Wicherski, Knapp and Meyerson all qualified for NCAAs, which are scheduled to take place in Middlebury, Vt. on March 6 to 9.

The slalom race on Saturday for the alpine team was another show of the Ephs’ prowess in their last carnival race of the season. The men put together a very strong showing, placing three skiers in the top 25. Lentz, Houle and Major were 22nd, 23rd and 25th, respectively. The three sophomores together compiled a score of 59 points, bringing the alpine men up from a ninth place finish to seventh.

“We did have a good weekend. Particularly in the slalom, we showed a little more of what we’re capable of, which is exciting,” men’s alpine captain John Sanderson ’14 said. “We are continuing to get more comfortable with the ultra-competitive nature of the circuit, and with this experience, we believe we will be able to send a full team to NCAAs next year.”

The alpine women continued their streak from the day before. Lonza led once again; in sixth after the first run, Lonza finished the day in 10th, dominating the course in 2:03.87. She was followed once again by Leiter, who finished in 18th, and Cottrill who finished 19th.

Williams ended the carnival in fifth place with combined alpine and nordic scores.

Racers from the nordic and alpine squads who qualified for NCAAs will next compete on March 6 to 9 in Middlebury, Vt.

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