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ISSUE 121 VOL 13 PUBLISHED 3/7/2008

Skiers prepare for national races

By Eric Monek Anderson
Sports Editor

Friday, March 7, 2008

Fresh off a pair of wins at the Marquette Regional race, the St. Olaf alpine ski teams have trekked to Maine for the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association Nationals.

The men's and women's Nordic ski teams will also compete in Maine.

February 16-17, the St. Olaf men's team placed ahead of all 20 other teams at the Marquette Regional. At the event, the individual men race in two separate races, the slalom and the giant slalom. They accumulate points in each to contribute to the team total.

Connor Lund '09 led the way for St. Olaf in each race. He finished second in the slalom, closely followed by Collin Bone '08 in sixth and the 10th-place effort of Charlie Simacek '08. In the giant slalom, Lund, Jeff Stamp '11 and Simacek posted nearly identical times to finish fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.

Last year at USCSA Nationals the Oles finished 13th of 19 teams. Lund placed 17th in the slalom and 39th in the giant slalom. He will look to improve on those finishes this year.

The women alpine skiers made it a clean sweep for the Oles with their championship effort at the same Marquette Regional. Kayla Johnson '10 took the slalom title, while three other St. Olaf skiers joined her in the top ten. Hennesy Wadell '08 finished third, Kaitlin Ryan '11 took fifth and Laura Mansell '11 came in eighth.

In the giant slalom, Wadell again placed third and was accompanied in the top ten by three other Oles. Ryan finished fifth, Johnson came in seventh and Calista Anderson '09 followed her in eighth place. Wadell is the team's only senior. The nine-woman roster features five first-years.

As for the Nordic skiers, they competed in CCSA Regionals the same weekend. The men finished seventh of nine, while the women placed eighth of 10.

Nels Dyste '08 paced the men by finishing 18th in the Freestyle race and 38th in the Classic. Meanwhile, Jim Vaillancourt '09 placed 33rd in the Classic to lead the Oles and 35th in the Freestyle behind Dyste. Tom Jorgensen '11 placed 26th in the Freestyle and 42nd in the Classic. Half the male Nordic skiers are first-years.

Last year at USCSA Nationals, the men placed third of nine teams.

The women's Nordic skiing squad also placed in the latter half of their Regional. Shaina Short '09 provided strong efforts in both the Classic and Freestyle, though the team finished just eighth in the event, which combines places from the Classic and Freestyle races to calculate overall standings.

The women finished second of nine last season. Combined with the alpine team's 13th place finish, the Ole skiers won the President's Cup, awarded for points in alpine, Nordic and snowboarding.

This weekend, March 3-8, the alpine ski teams are racing at the USCSA Nationals in Bethel, Maine. Two events are listed for the Nordic skiers: the NCAA National Championships in Montana and the USCSA Championships, also held in Maine. For the alpine skiers, the event represents an opportunity for both teams to continue strong seasons featuring several wins.

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