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Alpine Skiers Improve To Maintain Standings

By Jonathan Shefftz
head coach

The men's and women's alpine squads of the ski racing team completed their fourth of five regular season race weekends this past Saturday and Sunday. The women recorded their best finish of the season, and the men matched their prior finishes.

After some minor training inconveniences from the first week of classes, the Engineers journeyed to Ascutney Mountain, Vt., for the race, which was hosted by Boston College. The weekend's weather featured frigid morning temperatures, followed by sunny skies that warmed up the skiers but still allowed the snow to stay hard yet "grip-able."

However, even perfect conditions and well-set courses couldn't make the "Screaming Eagle" race hill easy for the slalom.

"This is crazy," said Dave Kurd '98 upon his morning course inspection. "It's flat, then as steep as Tuckerman [Ravine, on Mt. Washington], then flat again."

The steep midsection took its heavy toll, with many hooked tips, straddles, crashes, and missed turns. Once the snow sprays had settled, the women found themselves with the bare minimum three finishers for scoring: Brookie Baker '99, Chrissy Hartmann '98, and Marjorie Rosenthal '98. This also marked the fourth straight slalom race in which Hartmann had scored for the women, which helped them to take their usual eighth place, ahead of Trinity College and the University of Connecticut.

For the men, co-captain Geoff Johnson '97 and Mike Protz '97 took 24th and 28th places respectively, and were followed by Kurd, Sean Lavin '97, and co-captain Nate Kushman '98. For the fourth time in four slalom races, the men took sixth, and, as usual, finished ahead of UConn and Trinity. This time, though, the team also beat out Brown University.

For the giant slalom on Sunday, Baker led the women with an 11th-place finish, followed by Hartmann and Valentina Sequi '97. This put the women's team in a first-ever seventh-place team finish, ahead of Trinity, UConn, and St. Anselm's College.

Despite the men's many crashes and missed turns, they did hold on to take their usual seventh place, with scoring finishes from Kurd, Ryan Maupin '00, Kushman, and Dan Zelazo '99.

The alpine team returns for their final race weekend, hosted by Smith College, at Berkshire East Ski Area. The women look to cement their eighth-place standing and possibly edge out seventh-place St. Anselm's in at least one of the races. The men look to solidify their seventh-place standing and better their typical sixth- and seventh-place finishes in the slalom and giant slalom.