DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire ski team recently held its annual team banquet at which the program recognized the accomplishments of the 2008 team, which placed 11th at the NCAA Skiing Championships, and its student-athletes.

The Point Champion of each discipline – Veronique Archambault-Leger (Verdun, Quebec; women’s alpine), Willie Ford (Plymouth, N.H.; men’s alpine), Sarah Wright (Wyoming, Minn.;women’s Nordic) and Dylan McGuffin (Northfield, N.H.; men’s Nordic) –  earned team MVP honors. It marked the second consecutive year that Archambault-Leger, Ford and Wright received that distinction.

Archambault-Leger, a sophomore whose 2008 accolades included NCAA All-Academic Ski Team and All-East Team, placed 13th in the slalom at the NCAAs after taking second place in both the slalom and the giant slalom at the EISA Championship. She was feted as the Bogner Women’s Alpine Point Champion for accruing the highest point total during
the carnival season. Archambault-Leger dominated the slalom during the carnival season with one first-place finish, two runner-up finishes, a third-place finish and a fourth-place effort.

Ford, another sophomore who also garnered NCAA All-Academic Ski Team and All-East Team honors, narrowly missed All-America honors with his 11th-place finish in the slalom at the NCAA championship. He placed seventh in the giant slalom and 10th in the slalom at the EISAs and raced to six top-10 finishes during the carnival season, including fourth place in the SL and fifth in the GS at the Williams Carnival.

Wright, an All-East Team selection this year as a junior, placed 25th in the 5K freestyle race at the NCAAs. She was New Hampshire’s top Nordic skier throughout the 2008 carnival season and raced to an eighth-place finish in the 5K free and a 13th-place finish in the 10K classic at the Easterns. Wright tallied six other top-10 finishes, including third place in the 5K free at Williams.

McGuffin was UNH’s top finisher in both Nordic disciplines at the EISA championship with 10th place in the 10K freestyle and 16th place in the 15K classic. He was the first Wildcat to cross the finish line of a 10K free race three times during the carnival season and that included seventh place overall at the Dartmouth Carnival. Overall, McGuffin earned points – mostly as one of the top two ‘Cats – in eight of nine individual races in the carnival circuit.

The Class of 2008 was given special recognition. The Nordic seniors were Dan Demers (Adams, Mass.), Emily Eastman (Intervale, N.H.), Rody Lageson (St. Paul, Minn.) and Heather Zimmerman (Bethel, Maine), and the alpine seniors recognized were Randall Bloom (Norwalk, Conn.), Ashley Ladd (Plymouth, N.H.) and Mathew Wallman (Park City, Utah).

Student-athletes who received national or regional honors were cited for exemplary performance in the 2008 season. The NCAA All-Academic Ski Team also included Emily Capaul (Campton, N.H.), Marlijne Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.), Michael Lessard (Greene, Maine), Sean McNamara (Honeoye Falls, N.Y.) and Cynthia Tessier (Ste Julienne, Quebec).

McNamara and Aileen Farrell (Ottawa, Ontario) were recognized for earning All-America status at the NCAA championship; McNamara raced to 10th place in the giant slalom and Farrell placed sixth in the slalom to receive that distinction. In addition to McNamara, Ford and the aforementioned Archambault-Leger, Ford and Wright, Emily Capaul (Campton, N.H.), Michael Cremeno (Pembroke, N.H.) and Natasha Kullas (Timmins, Ontario) were cited for participating at the NCAA Skiing Championships.

Furthermore, McNamara and Cremeno were also recognized for making the All-East Team.

Cory Schwartz, the 23rd-year UNH ski coordinator and Nordic head coach, also recognized the efforts of assistant coaches Meghan Burns and Joe Dunn, both of whom are departing the program. Burns completed her second year with the Nordic team while Dunn – a 2007 UNH graduate – was a first-year assistant on the alpine squad.
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