Skiing races to 13th at Nationals

Last week, representatives from the alpine and nordic teams competed in the 2015 NCAA Championships in Lake Placid, N.Y. Captain Will Wicherski ’15, who raced in his fourth and final NCAA championships, Hannah Cole ’17 and Eli Hoenig ’17 represented the Nordic team while Christoph Lentz ’15 competed for the alpine team.Christoph_Lentz_15_by_Robb_Lentz_618_420

Last Wednesday, a 10k individual start skate race began competition. Wicherski managed to place 18th overall, sixth for Easterners, and was the first Williams finisher. This was one of the best results that Wicherski posted all season. 10 seconds back, Hoenig finished in 22nd, making him the eighth of 13 EISA representatives for the day. On the whole, the western teams dominated, taking four of the top five spots.

For the women’s freestyle race, Cole claimed a spot in the top 25, a noticeable improvement from her performance last year. Cole’s time of 15:40.2 around the 5k course put her about 1:20 back from the leader. Again, the western schools dominated. Cole’s 24th place finish distinguished her as the sixth finisher from the East.

“The NCAA Championship racers were extremely successful for [Wicherski], [Hoenig] and [Cole],” Nordic Head Coach Jason Lemeiux said. “All three of them skied some of their best races of the year in extremely competitive fields!”

On Thursday, the alpine events began with the giant slalom. Lentz struggled on his first run, clocking in about 12 seconds back from the leaders. However, he shaved off 12 seconds in his second run for a time of 1:11.00. His total time amounted to 2:32.51. Lentz was 24th for the day, scoring seven points, and ensuring that all Williams athletes posted top 25 results in the first half of NCAA racing for the week. Lentz was the 10th easterner to finish, a result that reflected many of his early season performances.

On Friday, the Nordic athletes raced an icy and demanding course. Cole achieved her best collegiate result, beginning the mass-start classic race at the back of the pack. Cole pushed the pace for a 12th-place finish overall. She was the fourth of 14  EISA women racing. Cole scored 19 points for the day, ranking Williams as ninth overall for the women’s 15k event.

Hoenig and Wicherski posted impressive results in the men’s 20k race. Hoenig ended up in 18th while Wicherski held his own in the aggressive field, coming in 24th. Hoenig skied the course in 58:00.2, with Wicherski coming in at 59:06.4.

The 2015 ski season officially ended on Saturday with the men’s and women’s slalom events. Lentz struggled again in his first run, coming in 32nd of 33 with a time of 1:26.56. However, his second run of 1:22 was a much better representation of the skier’s abilities. Lentz’s total time ended up being 2:27.78, proving that a majority of the time he lost was due to the fluke first run. Lentz finished 31st in the field.

Lentz managed to score a single point for the day, bringing Williams total to 75 and leaving the ski team in 13th overall for the year, a respectable improvement of the 15th-place and 47-point total of last year.

“I am incredibly proud of Christoph,” said Head Coach Kelsey Levine. “He made his first NCAA appearance this year and at no point did he hold back, despite the big stage. He had mistakes that prevented good results but in both the slalom and the GS, he had split times that were top three in the field.”

Although the racing season has officially wrapped up, the work for next year has already begun. Lemieux and Levine are already hard at work organizing logistics and training plans, while returning athletes are eager to jump right back into training.

The Ephs say goodbye to seniors Wicherski, Sarah Abramson ’15, Ben Corwin ’15, Kristin Halvorsen ’15, Jenna Maddock ’15 and Vanya Rybkin ’15 for nordic and Lentz, co-captain Carson Houle ’15, Victor Major ’15, Dylan Thomas ’15 and co-captain Sarah Cottrill ’15 for alpine.