DURHAM, N.H. – On the heels of back-to-back top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, the University of New Hampshire ski team begins the Eastern Intercollegiate Skiing Association season at the St. Lawrence Winter Carnival this Friday, Jan. 14, and Saturday, Jan. 15, in Lake Placid, N.Y., seeking to make an impact nationally once again in 2011.
Cory Schwartz enters his 29th season as Nordic head coach and 26th year as the UNH ski coordinator. Under his watch, the Wildcats have registered 21 top-10 NCAA finishes, including ninth place in each of the past two campaigns. Schwartz has mentored 27 student-athletes to a total of 37 All-America team selections: most recently, Dylan McGuffin (Northfield, N.H.), a 2010 graduate.
2011 marks the fourth season for alpine head coach Brian Blank, a 1995 UNH graduate and former Wildcats' team captain. Stephen Monsulick, a four-year member of the Bates College ski team, is in his third year as Nordic assistant coach, and former Middlebury College All-American Andrew Wagner debuts as alpine assistant coach this season.
The men's Nordic team will be anchored by senior Steven Bedard (Cheshire, Mass.), who competed in all six EISA carnivals last season, placing a season-best fourth in the 20K freestyle at St. Lawrence. Senior Harrison Harb (Contoocook, N.H.) and sophomore Erik Lindgren (Pitea, Sweden) are also expected to provide veteran leadership. Both skiers competed in all six carnivals a year ago, with Harb tallying a ninth-place finish in the 20K free at the St. Lawrence Carnival as a season highlight, and Lindgren registering a season-best sixth-place run in that same carnival.
Senior Andrew Clemence (Falmouth, Maine) has the potential to step up in '11 after participating in two carnivals in his junior season. Clemence recently competed in the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships in Rumford, Maine, along with junior Dan Guiney (Park City, Utah), who should also figure prominently in the Wildcats' success this year. Juniors Nick Mancuso (New Paltz, N.Y.), Tom Reagan (Freeport, Maine) and Perry Thomas (Rindge, N.H.) all saw action in one carnival last season and will provide depth to the Nordic team, and newcomer Ian Wilson (Wayzata, Minn.) joins the squad.
|Anya Caldwell Bean|
Anya Caldwell Bean (Wolfeboro, N.H.) looks to maintain the excellent form that guided her to a berth in the 2010 NCAA Championships at the University of Colorado, where she earned points in the 15K free and 5K classic. The junior amassed two top-5 finishes during the 2010 EISA season and should be a Nordic force once again this year. Sophomore Liz Guiney (Park City, Utah) flashed her potential earlier this month by finishing third in the junior girls 5K free at the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships, subsequently earning a spot as the first alternate for the U.S. National Team at the upcoming World Junior Championships. Senior Tasha Kullas (Timmins, Ontario), an NCAA Championship competitor in both 2008 and 2010, and classmate Katie Miller (Lenox, Mass.) also had strong showings at the national cross country championships, providing a strong indication that they are geared up to be formidable competitors for UNH this year.
Adding experience to the Nordic women's team will be senior Abby Taylor (Rochester, N.Y.), who saw action in five carnivals last year, finishing a season-best 18th in 15K free at St. Lawrence, and junior Danielle McVicar (Kanata, Ontario), who competed in three carnivals last season. Providing depth to the club will be senior Steph Kramer (Bow, N.H.), a two-year veteran who competed in a pair of carnivals last year, junior Maureen McAuliffe (Hopkinton, N.H.) and sophomore Kvehl McDermott (Putney, Vt.), both of whom competed in the St. Michael's Carnival in 2010.
The new members of the Nordic team include graduate student Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), who founded the Wellesley Nordic Team when she was a freshman there in 2006, and a promising corps of freshmen: Liz Izzo (Lake Placid, N.Y.); Sierra Jech (Cody, Wyo.); Anne Miller (Whitefish, Mont.); Molly Newman (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) and Dana Roach (Minocqua, Wis.).
The men's alpine team features junior Paul Atkinson (Toronto, Ontario), a returning EISA All-East Team member who recorded seven top-10 finishes and was UNH's top 'Cat seven times, including both the giant slalom (seventh) and the slalom (third) at the EISAs. Atkinson earned five top-5 finishes in six SL events, with a season-best second-place run at the Williams Carnival. The team will rely on junior Zach Clayton (Manassas, Va.), who took seventh place in GS at Williams and 13th in SL at Dartmouth to highlight his '10 season, to build upon that success this year.
Senior Sam Norden (Eaton, N.H.), an NCAA All-Academic Team selection in 2009, has been named alpine captain this season. Fellow senior Ethan Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.) returns after competing in three carnivals last year, finishing a season-best 14th in GS at Vermont. Another veteran back in the fold is sophomore Taylor Burton (Breckenridge, Colo.), who took part in all six carnivals last season. Burton's top performance came at the EISAs, where he took 12th in SL and 15th in GS.
Additional depth will be provided by senior Neil Hansen (Amherst, N.H.) and a large freshman class that consists of Geoffrey Bonewald (New London, N.H.), Sam Coffey (Snowmass, Colo.), Eric Coffin (Center Harbor, N.H.), Kris Hopkins (North Andover, Mass.), Chad Lawrence (Hastings, Minn.) and Curtis Lush (Clarksburg, Ontario).
Headlining the women's alpine team is sophomore Marie-Elaine Lepine (Mont-Tremblant, Quebec), who capped her remarkable freshman season by finishing 15th in giant slalom at the NCAA Championships. During the carnival season, Lepine tallied nine top-10 finishes and five top-5s, taking a season-best third in slalom at the EISAs. Another decorated sophomore, Catherine Blanchard (Eastman, Quebec), placed a season-best fifth at St. Michael's last season in SL, added a 12th place run in GS at St. Lawrence and 14th in GS at Dartmouth.
Senior Dana Daukss (Belmont, Mich.), who competed in two carnivals last season, is the alpine captain for the Wildcats. Daukss is joined by fellow seniors Hilary Andross (Franconia, N.H.) and Krissy McNeill (Bloomington, Minn.), and sophomore Danielle Govan (Katonah, N.Y.), all of whom are seeking their first collegiate action in 2011.
The women's alpine contingent is bolstered by four incoming freshmen: JoAnna Coffey (Snowmass, Colo.); Laura Halupowski (Intervale, N.H.); Jacqueline Lebel (Truckee, Calif.) and Laura Rozinowicz (Toronto, Ontario).
This weekend's St. Lawrence Carnival (Jan. 14-15) features Nordic competition at Mt. Van Hoevenberg and alpine racing taking place at Whiteface Mountain. The season schedule includes the Colby College Carnival (Jan. 21-22), followed by carnivals at Vermont (Feb. 4-5), Dartmouth (Feb. 11-12), Middlebury (Feb. 18-19) and the EISA Championships, hosted by Bates College, on Feb. 25-26.
The NCAA Championships will be held at the University of Vermont from March 9-12.
For all the latest UNH ski results, CLICK HERE.