Bartlett, N.H.— The Big Green of Dartmouth College has taken full advantage of its opportunity to showcase its overall team talent within its own state of New Hampshire, despite cold and windy conditions, and now leads the NCAA Skiing Championship team point totals with 330 following an exciting day of alpine giant slalom racing at Attitash on Thursday., March 8.
Dartmouth is just a single point ahead of a surging Denver team (329), which enjoyed its second individual champion on the men’s side in as many days, as Adam Cole took the gold medal with a two-run total of 2:20.42. Denver had two of the top three men finishers as Francesco Ghedina took third-place honors with a total of 2:22.17.
“This is my first year of competition at the University of Denver and this atmosphere is very different than racing for the US Ski Team and doing things for yourself,” said Cole. “If you get fifth or first here you are accumulating points, but if you fall it doesn’t do anything for your team. There is so much more pressure, but I knew I could win today. It was more about accumulating more points so we can catch Dartmouth and hopefully win this whole thing.”
Rounding out the top 15 teams, Utah sits in third place (280), followed by Colorado (275), Vermont (211.5), Middlebury (204.0), Northern Michigan (189.0), Nevada (181.5), New Mexico (177), Montana State (145), Alaska-Anchorage (124), Bates College (118), New Hampshire (107), Alaska Fairbanks (106) and Williams College (84).
Dartmouth’s Evan Weiss, who was also a former US Ski Team member, finished with a two-run total of 2:21.09 to earn the silver medal between his two Denver opponents. All three, plus fourth-place Andrew Wagner of Middlbury and fifth-place Lara Loeseth of the University of New Mexico, were named first-team All-Americans.
Named to the second team were sixth-place Scott Veenis of Utah, seventh-place Scott Hume of Nevada, eighth place Tor Fodnesbergene of UNM, ninth-place Stefan Hughes of Colorado and 10th-place Cameron Barnes from Nevada.
In Alpine Grand Slalom women’s action, Sarah Schaedler of Western State College recorded the fastest mark in the first run and the second-fastest in the second to lead the field with a total clocking of 2:30.47. Jenny Tank from Denver posted the second-best total of the day (2:31.35) to keep Denver near first place in points with her 38. And, the host school, New Hampshire, once again received a strong performance from freshman Veronique Archambault-Leger, who checked in with 2:31.35 to earn the Wildcats 37 points and a bronze medal. She was the EISA points champion and was named EISA Rookie of the Year earlier this season.
“It was just a great feeling to win here for my team,” said Schaedler. “The race was pretty good and I liked the hill. The course was pretty nice, but it was very windy and cold. We all had the same conditions to race in though and it was constant for everyone.”
The top run of the day for the women was recorded by Colorado’s Lisa Perricone, who came blazing down the mountain and crossed the line in 1:15.00 in her second run of the day. The only skiers to record two times under 1:16.00 were Schaedler and Tank.
The top five finishers earn first-team All-America honors. In addition to the top three mentioned, Colorado’s Lucie Zikova (2:31.82) as fourth and Perricone was fifth (1:32.03) giving that squad two top-five finishers. Earning second-team All-America honors were Utah’s Chirine Injeim, who is from Beirut (2:32.48), Aileen Farrell, one of two top 10 finishers from UNH (2:32.62), Kari Falck-Pedersen of Denver (2:33.05), Michelanne Shields of Dartmouth (1:33.20), and Utah’s second top-10 finisher, Mikaela Grassl (2:33.63).
On Friday its back to Jackson XC in Jackson, N.H., where the Nordic teams will compete in their respective Classical Races. The women’s race, which covers 15K, will begin at 10 and the men hit the course at for a 20 K battle. NCAA officials once again moved up the start times one hour in order to take advantage of warming late morning temperatures, which have been well below zero at night and in the early morning hours. The start of both races could be interesting for spectators, as the student-athletes are involved in a mass start, as opposed to the staggered start of the Freestyle Races on Wednesday.