BETHEL & RUMFORD, Maine- University of New Hampshire alpine skier Zach Clayton (Manassas, Va.) finished in sixth place, and Paul Atkinson (Toronto, Ontario) crossed the finish line just two-hundredths of a second later for seventh in the men's slalom race to lead the UNH ski team to third place overall after the first day of competition at the 2011 Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association Championships, hosted by Bates College.
The Wildcats, with 377 points, trail the University of Vermont (521) and Dartmouth College (439) in the final EISA carnival of the season, featuring 14 teams, with one day of competition remaining.
The men's alpine team finished second in the SL with 101 points, behind only Vermont's 141. Clayton earned 37 points by completing his two runs in a combined 1 minute, 34.85 seconds. Atkinson tallied 35 points in a time of 1:34.87, and Sam Coffey (Snowmass, Colo.) racked up 12 points in a combined time of 1:36.29. Other Wildcats with notable performances were Chad Lawrence (Hastings, Minn., 16th, 1:36.46) and Geoffrey Bonewald (New London, N.H., 21st, 1:37.40).
Setting the pace for the women's alpine team was Catherine Blanchard (Eastman, Quebec), who amassed 37 points for sixth place in a combined time of 1:41.21. Marie-Elaine Lepine (Mont-Tremblant, Quebec) recorded a 12th-place time of 1:42.25 for 30 points, and Krissy McNeill (Bloomington, Minn.) earned 21 points by virtue of her 24th-place time of 1:46.40. The Wildcats scored 88 points to finish fifth. Vermont won the SL with 124 team points.
Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) finished as the top Nordic 'Cat in the women's 5K freestyle race, placing third overall in a time of 15 minutes, 37.9 seconds to earn 44 points. Anya Caldwell Bean (Wolfeboro, N.H.) notched 31 points courtesy of a ninth-place run of 16:06.6, and Liz Guiney (Park City, Utah) registered a 10th-place finish of 16:11.7, good for 30 points. Other Wildcats of note were Katie Miller (Lenox, Mass., 16:32.1, 18th), Elizabeth Izzo (Lake Placid, N.Y., 16:45.5, 23rd) and Abby Taylor (Rochester, N.Y., 16:50.4, 28th). UNH totaled 105 points for third place, behind Vermont (134) and Dartmouth (113).
Andrew Clemence (Falmouth, Maine) paced the men's Nordic team by taking ninth place in the 10K freestyle race for 33 points in 29:56.5. Harrison Harb (Hopkinton, N.H.) collected 27 points by finishing 14th in 30:06.2, and Erik Lindgren (Pitea, Sweden) secured 19th place for 23 points in a time of 30:18.3. Finishing just out of the points was Dan Guiney (Park City, Utah) who posted a 24th-place finish in 30:32.5. Overall, New Hampshire posted 83 points to finish third in the race. Dartmouth (136) and Vermont (122) seized the top two places.
The EISA Championships wrap up with the men's 20K classic and the women's 15K classic Nordic races at Black Mountain and the men's and women's giant slalom alpine races at Sunday River on Sunday, Feb. 27. For more information on the UNH ski team, visit www.unhwildcats.com.