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Doering, Cornell, and Lund Named All-Americans Skiers

By Jiri Schindler
team member

After qualifying at the regional championships in Lapland Lake, N.Y., two weeks ago, the nordic skiing team traveled this weekend to Mt. Snow, Vt., to participate in the United States Collegiate Skiing Association National championship

Jeff Doering '99, team captain Christian Lund G, and Lynn Cornell '96 were named All-American skiers. Doering placed third in the men's 15-km classical race with a time of 1:03:09, and team captain Lund finished sixth with the time of 1:05:40 in the same race. Cornell finished fifth in the 7.5-km freestyle.

The races started on Wednesday with women's 10-km and men's 15-km classical races. The USCSA title went to Cornell University's Laurel Herendeen who finished with a time of 50:31, eight seconds before USAFA's Cheree Kocken and 13 seconds before Korin Bell from Whitman.

MIT's Lynn Cornell finished eighth with a time of 54:05, and Adrienne Slaughter '98 finished 19th out of 21 racers, with a time of 1:04:29, despite a knee injury she suffered when she fell on the steep downhill section of the course.

Like the women's race, the men's 15-km race began with a mass­start, which proved to be challenging because the first hundred meters were followed by a technical downhill with a double S-turn, in which many racers fell. All MIT skiers luckily avoided the fall, enabling Doering and Lund to stay with the leading pack and eventually place well.

Apart from the technical downhill, the course included a long climb set on a green downhill slope that forced even the best skiers to herringbone for prolonged periods of time. After a 180-degree turn, the racers got a brief rest at the downhill going in the opposite direction.

"The big hill was hell. I was working hard up the hill, but not moving anywhere which was at times frustrating," Doering said. "The key to this race was not to fall. If you fell in one of the downhills you would lose so much time and there would be no way to catch up."

The race was won by U.S. Air Force Academy's Jerome Sheldon with a time of 59:59. Cornell's Ben Young placed second with the time 1:02:09. Doering finished third, placing himself between Young and three other racers from Cornell. Lund finished sixth with a time of 1:05:40, 19 seconds before Erik Osborn from Cornell.

"I saw him [Osborn] behind me all the time and whenever I felt he was gaining on me, I pushed a bit harder so that he would not pass me," said Lund about his head-to-head race with Osborn. Jeff Breidenbach '96 finished 30th with the time of 1:22:10 and Jiri Schindler '96 finished 31st out of 41 skiers 40 seconds behind him.

The second day of racing started with men's 10-km freestyle, raced on the same course as the classical race, in which Jerome Sheldon of USAFA dominated again finishing first with the time of 33:45. The long uphill that depleted the strength of all races the previous day was shortened to about half the length. Doering finished 6th just one second behind Alfred's Tim Gorbold. Lund finished 16th, Breidenbach 38th, and Schindler wrapped up the field with 41st place.

The women's 7.5-km race did not include the climb, and the third lap was shortened to make the distance of 7.5 km. USAFA's Amy Nesbitt finished first with the time of 31:24 and the MIT skier Cornell finished fifth in her best race of the season with the time of 32:32, just 5 seconds behind Sarah Alholm of USAFA. Slaughter finished 18th with a time of 39:56.

The week wrapped up with a classical­freestyle­freestyle 3x5 relay for women and 3x7.5 km for men. MIT women did not have an official team, they however raced in an unofficial squad with Cornell skier Jessica Seem.

The men's team started with Christian Lund who skied the classical leg. For two laps Lund stayed in third, 10 seconds behind the first skier. He came on strong in the third lap and finished first, four seconds before Cornell's Steve Halasz to tag Breidenbach, who skied the second leg.

"I put on a little bit warmer wax today to get a solid kick, because I thought the hills would make a difference," Lund said about his last collegiate race. "The Cornell skier was faster on the downhills, but coming out of the turn before the last hill I felt strong and got him in the final climb."

The final leg was skied by Doering who cut the 1:50 lead of Clarkson University to 40 seconds at the finish line. MIT finished 6th in the relay after Cornell, University of of Minnesota-Duluth, Whitman, USAFA, and Clarkson.

The USCSA National Championship was MIT's last race of the season, but also for seniors Lund and Breidenbach, who represented MIT with dedication in the past four years.