Skiing sends four to NCAA Championships, secures 12th place

Co-captain Hannah Hunsaker ’19 finished sixth in the giant slalom at the NCAA Championships. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.

 

Skiing sent four competitors to the 2017 NCAA Championships. Co-captain Hannah Hunsaker ’19 earned All-American honors for the second straight year, and the Ephs placed 12th overall.

On day one, Hunsaker, the only Alpine skier representing the College, placed sixth in the women’s giant slalom at Canon Mountain in Grafton Country, N.H. After her first run, Hunsaker found herself in 12th. Then, she put in a spectacular performance in her second run, notching the second-fastest time in the field to secure sixth overall.

“I couldn’t have hoped for a better result,” Alpine Head Coach Kelsey Levine ’10 said. “Hannah proved that she is truly a two-event collegiate skier.”

Her strong showing earned the Ephs 27 points, enough for 12th place after the first day.

Day two unfolded last Thursday at the Jackson Touring Center in Jackson, N.H., with the men’s Nordic 10k classic.

Co-captain Eli Hoenig ’17 finished in 11th place, less than three seconds out of the top 10. He was followed by Braden Becker ’19. In his first trip to the Championships, Becker also had an impressive race, earning 16th. Jordan Fields ’17 finished in 33rd, as the the men landed in seventh place.

“Thursday’s waxing conditions were extremely challenging, and I am proud of the skiers for finding their rhythm,” Nordic Head Coach Jason Lemieux ’01 said. Overall, the Ephs were in 11th place in a field of 21 schools, predominantly from Div. I.

On day three, Hunsaker returned to Canon Mountain for the women’s slalom, typically her strongest event. Unfortunately, Hunsaker skied out in her first run and did not finish. Although disappointed with her result, she said she was honored to have had represented the College.

On the fourth and final day of the Championships, Nordic  raced its way to fifth place in the 20k mass start freestyle.

Braving bitter temperatures and a technical course, Hoenig, Becker and Fields challenged the nation’s best teams. Fields led the way with a 12th-place finish. Hot on his heels was Hoenig, who finished in 15th. Becker capped off his Championships with a 21st-place finish. Together, the three put the Ephs in fifth.

“It was an amazing couple of races with very challenging and mentally difficult conditions,” Lemieux said. “The men skied very well and were able to hang for much of the race at a very aggressive and fast pace. I was so proud to see them come away from the championships with four top-15 finishes.”

At the conclusion of the Championships, the Ephs placed 12th overall, two spots ahead of last year’s finish.