Alpine Ski Teams Finish Season WellBy Jonathan S. Shefftz
The men's and women's alpine squads of MIT's varsity ski racing team completed their fifth and final regular season race weekend this past Saturday and Sunday at Berkshire East Ski Area in western Massachusetts. There were some strong individual finishes during another seesaw battle against the team's close rival, the University of Connecticut.
Brooke Baker '99 led the women with her first "clean" slalom race of the season, to finish in 15th place out of approximately 60 skiers. Both Marcela Valderrama '97 and Chrissy Hartmann '98 also had their best slalom finishes of the season (35th and 44th, respectively), resulting in an eighth place team finish for the day.
In the cumulative team standings for the season, this placed the women only three points behind the number eight UConn and cemented their lead over Trinity.
For the men, Mike Protz '96 followed up on his blazingly fast slalom result last weekend with an even faster result this time to cap off the season in slalom.
"As measured by the national competitor classification system that the U.S. Ski Association maintains, this is the best race of any MIT male during my three years as coach, and perhaps even for several years before then," said Coach Jonathan s. Shefftz.
Co-captain Ari Gerstle '97, Sean Lavin '97, and Nate Kushman '98 also all turned in their best slalom results of the season. The crucial fifth time from co-captain Geoff Johnson '97 reflected his having missed a gate.
In the cumulative standings, the men were still behind UConn, but ahead of Trinity. Baker flew through the wind to lead the MIT women with 14th place, earning her 22nd place in the season's cumulative individual standings.
According to Coach Shefftz, "This is not only the best race of any MIT woman during my three years as coach, but I strongly suspect it is the best race of any MIT woman ever in the history of our varsity ski team."
Valderrama and Hartmann also turned in their best giant slalom performances of the season.
Protz once again led the men with his best giant slalom result of the season, this time with Johnson only a few tenths of a second behind him. Lavin, Gerstle, and Jeremy Gerstle '99 all turned in their best giant slalom results of the season. This strong performance almost caught up for the day with sixth-place Babson College, and narrowed UConn's lead for the season to only two points.