Skiers earn historic accolades at NCAAs

March 16, 2016 by Tsaina Mahlen, Sports Writer

At the 2016 NCAA Skiing Championships, several Ephs garnered impressive accolades, including alpine skier Hannah Hunsaker ’19 in the slalom and Nordic skier Eli Hoenig ’17 in the 20k mass start classic race.

In what has been a historic season and NCAA finish, Hoenig came in sixth in his race. This place makes him the first Williams Nordic skier to earn All-American recognition since Lindley Hall finished ninth in a 15k classic race in 1997.

Hunsaker finished ninth in the slalom event to earn All-American recognition – the first alpine Eph to do so since Geordie Lonza ’13 earned alpine All-American recognition in 2013.

Williams ultimately finished in 13th place out of 19 schools with 52 points total, finishing behind NESCAC schools Middlebury and Colby.

Hoenig was the first Eastern skier in a sport where the West tends to dominate. While Hoenig completed the course in 50:43.2, Jack Hegman of UVM was the second Eastern skier in 50:49.5. Mads Stroem of the University of Colorado claimed his second victory this week, winning in 49:41.9.

Throughout this season, Hoenig has had increasingly successful performances, earning his first podium carnival finishes and coming in a fraction of a second away from first place at the Middlebury Carnival.

“It’s an amazing feeling to end the season with the best Nordic individual performance from any eastern school, including every Div. 1 program,” Head Coach Jason Lemieux ’01 said. “Eli [Hoenig’s] sixth place as the third American in the 20-kilometer mass start classic is the best finish that any Williams Nordic skier has ever had.”

The Championships began  on the first day with the alpine racers in the giant slalom race. Hannah Hunsaker ’19 raced her first run in 1:00.28, putting her in 18th place, and raced her second run in 1:03.54, making her place 22nd fastest in the field. Ultimately, she placed 20th, a cumulative 5.82 seconds back from Denver University’s Kristine Gjelsten Haugen.

In her first run of the slalom race, Hunsaker placed 20th with a time of 47:30. On her second run down the mountain, Hunsaker posted the second fastest race time at 44:34, moving up to a ninth-place finish with a combined time of 1:31.64.

Her cumulative time of 1:31.64 was only 2.01 seconds slower than that of first-place winner Julie Flo Mohagen of the University of Utah and earned her ninth place.

“Hannah bringing home the All-American honor is a really special thing, freshman or otherwise,” Head Coach Kelsey Levine said. “It took her half a run to settle the nerves in the slalom race but then she raced with no trace of intimidation.”

Bryan Bailey ’19 of the alpine team made his name known on a national level when his first run of 16.41 at Mount Werner was only 1.41 seconds back from University of Utah’s Endre Bjertness, who posted the fastest first run of the day. This impressive performance put Bailey in eighth for the first run.

However, Bailey fell on his second run and was forced to accept a did not finish result. Bjertness ended up maintaining his lead with a total time of 1:50.85.

In the slalom race, Bailey posted times of 42:24 and 44:32 for a 22nd place finish in the field of 34 racers.

Jack Schrupp ’18 also represented Williams in the 10k interval start skate race. Schrupp succeeded in breaking into the top 25 nationally by finishing in 24th with a time of 53:28.1.

These races mark the end of the  season. The team graduates co-captain Merritt Harlan ’16, Nicolette Caravelli ’16, Josh Harrington ’16, Olivia Meyerson ’16 and Eliza Rorabaugh ’16.

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