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ISSUE 116 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/14/2003

Alpine carves up slopes at nationals

By Ken Foote
Sports Editor

Friday, March 14, 2003

The St. Olaf alpine ski team had to battle more then the brutal mountain at the national championship meet. The Oles took on a talented field and emerged with a pair of top-10 finishes. The men fought their way into a fifth place while the women captured ninth.

The top individual finish came from Jacob Olsen ’06, who garnered a 10th place finish in the slalom. Captain Ben Belyea ’04 was close behind, finishing 16th in the same race.

Coach Paul Wojick declared the season a success, despite the fact that neither team lived up to their number two rankings heading into the national meet.

“The teams are probably more upset about it than I am,” Wojick said. “I think we did very well given the outstanding strength of the field.”

The men’s field included champion Sierra Nevada College and such large Division I schools as Boston College, the runner-up, and the University of Wisconsin, which took home 15th.

The University of Massachusetts won the women’s crown, while such “big” schools as the University of Notre Dame, 12th place, and the University of Minnesota, 15th, finished behind the Oles.

Wojick said that success is determined by examining the entire season’s work, not simply the performance at the year end meet.

“I am very proud of everything we did this year,” Wojick said. “We were regional champions again and we did a lot of things during the season, that is, we had a full season. That is one of the reasons I think this season was a success.”

Other indicators of success are the effort put forth by the team and the chemistry displayed within the squad. The Oles excelled in both areas throughout the year.

“We really needed everyone to give 100 percent to place as highly as we did,” Wojick said. “Without everyone’s hard work and effort, we would never have gotten this far.”

Team chemistry proved easy as the team spent a lot of time together, thanks to the constant travel required by the sport. During nationals, the women’s and men’s teams each shared separate houses.

“We rarely get to ski close to home, so the teams always came together when we hit the road,” Wojick said. “They even cooked for each other when we competed at nationals.”

The teams get a well-deserved few weeks of rest to enjoy this season’s accomplishments before returning to the slopes for the Spring Series at Lutsen Mountain April 5-8.

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