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Alpine Ski Teams Make STrong Showing at Ascutney Mountain

By Jonathan S. Shefftz
TEAM Coach

The men's and women's varsity alpine ski team competed in their fourth regular season race this past weekend, tackling the slopes of Ascutney Mountain with some strong finishes.

Division I powerhouse Boston College sponsored the race on February 89 at Ascutney Mountain, Vermont. The women's team entered this weekend ninth in the cumulative standings, far ahead of University of Connecticut and New England College, and only two points behind St. Anselm College. The men's team entered the weekend in eighth, well ahead of St. Anselm and UConn, but a seemingly insurmountable seven points behind NEC. Strong finishes for the weekend required sound technical skiing as Ascutney's course is one of the steepest in New England.

Captain Brooke Baker '99 made the course look deceptively easy in her first run, but shortly thereafter the fresh snow on the course's steepest section slid away to reveal some of the most solid and slickest ice the Eastern Collegiate Ski Conference has ever seen. Monica Taylor '01 and Chrissy Hartmann '98 were among its victims, sliding past the required turns, but they showed strong perseverance as they finished the course to provide MIT with its second and third times. Baker's 17th place helped the women take ninth place, putting MIT ahead of NEC and UConn but behind St. Anselm.

Co-captain Dave Kurd '98 led the men's team with 25th place, while the other four scoring times came from Brett Vasconcellos '99, Jeremy Gerstle '99, co-captain Ryan Maupin '00, and Todd Dumond '00. MIT finished seventh out of ten teams, ahead of UConn, St. Anselm, and NEC.

For Sunday's giant slalom, the same slick ice appeared on the course, but the more-openly spaced turns allowed for easier recoveries. Baker took 19th for the women, while Taylor finished 27th. Hartmann was able to provide the third time. The women's team took eighth, ahead once again of NEC and UConn, and also ahead of St. Anselm this time.

The men turned in their best team performance so far this year, with all of MIT's top five skiers turning in "clean" runs. Kurd was 22nd while Maupin, Gerstle, Vasconcellos and Sanjay Raman '01 provided the other scoring times. The men took sixth, their best showing so far this season, ahead of Babson, St. Anselm, UConn, and NEC.

Smith College sponsors the final regular season race at Berkshire East on February 1415. The women's team remain in ninth place out of 11 teams, only two points behind St. Anselm, after beating them in Ascutney's giant slalom but not the slalom. The men, after their strong performances at Ascutney, are now tied with NEC for seventh place out of ten teams.

Adding to the excitement of the is Baker's bid to win a berth at the championships of the separate Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Conference, which serves as the qualification route for the NCAA National Championships. Based on her standings after the first three races, Baker is on track for the Championships, and solid performances at Berkshire East should clinch her berth.