BETHEL, Maine – The University of New Hampshire men’s alpine team – led by a pair of top 10 finishes by Willie Ford (Plymouth, N.H.) and Sean McNamara (Honeoye Falls, N.H.) – captured first place in both disciplines to lead the Wildcats to a third-place overall finish at the Bates Winter Carnival, which was held Jan. 23-24.
UNH amassed a total of 735 points to place behind Dartmouth College (902 points) and the University of Vermont (845) in the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association season opener.
In Friday’s opening day of competition, UNH recorded the highest team score in the men’s giant slalom with 118 points. Ford raced to a second-place finish with an overall time of 2 minutes, 33.33 seconds. His opening-run time of 1:18.01 was second best, and he held on to that position with a second run of 1:15.32. McNamara was in eighth place following his first run of 1:19.70, but he followed that with the second-fastest run of the day (1:15.32) to vault to third place with an aggregate time of 2:34.35. Michael Cremeno (Pembroke, N.H.) completed the team scoring in 13th place with a mark of 2:35.67.
Four Wildcats placed in the top eight of Saturday’s men’s slalom at Sunday River. McNamara climbed from ninth to fourth place with an overall time of 1:43.57 and Ethan Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.) was close behind at 1:43.80 to take fifth place. Ford completed his two runs in 1:44.18 for seventh place and Paul Atkinson (Toronto, Ontario) did not figure into the team scoring despite his eighth-place finish with a time of 1:44.27.
Veronique Archambault-Leger (Verdun, Quebec) finished fifth overall in Friday’s women’s giant slalom at 2:40.78. She recorded a second-run time of 1:18.09 – the second best of the day – to climb from 11th to fifth place. Aileen Farrell (Ottawa, Ontario) and Aliza Aylward (Warren, Vt.) finished within .21-of-a-second to finish 12th and 13th, respectively. The former completed her runs in a combined time of 2:42.09 and the latter had a mark of 2:42.30.
Archambault-Leger also recorded a top-10 effort Saturday with fourth place in the slalom. She completed her two runs in 1:50.29. Farrell had runs of 54:07 and 56.80 to finish less than one second behind her teammate in seventh place. Alexandra Norden (Eaton, N.H.) rounded out UNH’s scoring in 15th place at 1:54.02. The Wildcats also took 16th, 17th and 19th place overall with strong efforts by Emily Capaul (Campton, N.H.; 1:54.69), Aylward (1:55.24) and Cynthia Tessier (Rawdon, Quebec; 1:55.36)
New Hampshire’s Nordic squads raced with great success in Saturday’s free technique competitions. Dylan McGuffin (Concord, N.H.) had the top effort with a fourth-place finish in the men’s 20K race. He completed the Black Mountain course in 52:12.7 as UNH recorded the second-best team score with 99 points. Steven Bedard (Cheshire, Mass.) crossed the finish line in 52:40.9 to take ninth place and Michael Lessard (Greene, Maine) finalized the team scoring with his 21st-place time of 53:54.5.
Sarah Wright (Wyoming, Minn.) and Marlijne Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) led the women’s squad with a pair of top-10 finishes in the 15K free. Wright covered the trail in 46:43.1 for seventh place and Cook followed in eighth at 46:49.7 Katie Miller (Lenox, Mass.) was 18th in 48:05.0.
Wright also led UNH’s women’s Nordic contingent in Friday’s 5K classic competition. She crossed the finish line of the Black Mountain trail in 16:55.0. Danielle Baron (Gilford, N.H.) was timed at 17:06.9 to take 28th place and Miller took 38th place in 17:15.5.
McGuffin was once again the Wildcats’ top finisher in the men’s 10K classic with a time of 28:07.9, which placed him 18th overall. Lessard, in 31st place at 28:31.6, and Bedard, in 38th place at 28:58.1, capped the team scoring.
New Hampshire returns to EISA competition Jan. 30-31 when the Wildcats are hosts of the UNH Winter Carnival. The alpine events will be held at Attatash and the Nordic disciplines are at Jackson.