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ISSUE 118 VOL 13 PUBLISHED 3/11/2005

Alpine skiing dominates

By Melanie Meinzer
Contributing Writer
and Peter Bodurtha

Friday, March 11, 2005

It is certainly safe to say that the St. Olaf men’s and women’s alpine ski teams have had a very successful 2005 season.

Both teams took first place at the regional championships in Marquette, Mich. at the end of February, earning them a return trip to the United States Collegiate Ski Championships. Last year the women finished ninth in giant slalom (GS) and fifth in slalom while the men placed 19th in both.

The men placed second in the regional slalom events, and took first in GS to edge out Michigan Tech, one of their closest competitors in the Lake Superior Division. The women outshined the competition as well, taking first in both slalom and GS at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, beating out one of their closest competitors in the process.

Coached by Scott Skavanger, the teams have taken up right where they left off last season. They won their first race of the season at Afton Alps in Afton, Minn., and continued their solid skiing through divisionals at Spirit Mountain in Dultuth, Minn. where the women took first and the men placed second.

Skavanger, who graduated from St. Olaf in 1998, is very happy with the way the team has progressed.

“They have gelled really well,” Skavanger said. “We have had some really focused training sessions.”

Skavanger is in his first season as head coach after being hired in October. He had a very successful collegiate ski career as well, earning All-American honors in 1996 and was twice named captain.

Over Interim break, the team escaped the hills of Minnesota and traveled to Arapahoe Basin in Colorado to train.

“That was huge, it really helped the team prepare for the rest of the season,” Charlie Simacek ‘08 said.

From Colorado, the team traveled to La Crosse, Wisc. where they got additional training by racing individually in a non-collegiate event.

At nationals, five men and five women will compete in the slalom and GS events. For the men’s slalom, St. Olaf will race captains Caleb Kinzer ‘05, Chris Remien ‘05, and Jake Olsen ‘06. Brian Yurinich ‘06 and Simacek will also race in slalom. Trevor Davis ‘07 will replace Kinzer in GS.

For the women, Meredith Marti ‘08, Kate Westby ‘07, Megan Harrod ‘05, Alison Guinn ‘06 and Hennessy Wadell ‘08 will race GS. In slalom, Marti, Guinn, Westby, and Wadell will race along with Jeanine Kooman ‘06.

The Oles’ next challenge will be the U.S. Collegiate Ski Championships in Brundage, Idaho, where they will compete March 7-12. No matter how they finish, their season will be considered a success.

The team also has a bright future; there are just three seniors on both the men’s and women’s teams combined.

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