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Lucky Sevens For The Alpine Squads At Waterville Valley

By Jonathan Shefftz

The men’s and women’s alpine squads of MIT’s varsity ski racing team turned in some strong performances at their second of five regular season race weekends at Waterville, NH. Men’s and women’s teams both finished seventh on the slopes.

Plymouth State hosted the season’s second race weekend at Waterville Valley on January 29-30. The women entered the weekend in ninth place in the cumulative standings, but only one point behind eighth-place St. Anselm, and another point behind seventh-place Babson. The men entered tied for eighth with St. Anselm.

Saturday raceoff

New England’s Mother Nature surprised the skiers with sunny skies, perfect temperatures, and not even a stiff breeze. The skiers then decided to surprise themselves by turning in their best performances so far this season. On Saturday’s long slalom course with its many difficult drop-offs, Marcy Paul ’03 took 19th, followed by captain Marianne Okal Jr. ’02 and Mallory Briggs ’03.

Following the example of the women, co-captain Ryan Maupin ’00 and Nick Kulkarni ’02 took 37 and 38 respectively, followed by Tom McBride ’00, Fay Fucetola ’01, and Dan Zelazo ’G.

Slalom races

For Sunday’s even longer giant slalom course, Paul kept up her top 20 weekend with a 20th-place finish, followed by Briggs and Okal. The women slipped behind St. Anselm, but stayed ahead of Babson and UConn for eighth.

The men turned up the speed with Maupin in 31st, followed by Kulkarni, Fucetola, Jonathan Bates ’03, and (a few crashes later) co-captain Todd DuMond ’00. This led the men to another seventh- place finish, this time ahead of Babson, St. Anselm, and UConn .

The nearly perfect weekend was unfortunately marred by a serious accident that up-and-coming skier Mike McCarthy ’02 experienced during some casual post-racing skiing in the "terrain park" at the end of Saturday’s race. McCarthy caught too much air off a large jump, and landed on the tails of his skis, resulting in a compound fracture of his tibia. On a positive note, the ski patrol were amazed by McCarthy’s controlled demeanor, calmly joking around with the patrollers and even trying to convince a teammate to take a picture of the bone protruding through his skin. The team wishes him a speedy recovery.

With the end of IAP and the start of spring semester classes, training for the most part has reverted to local areas, supplemented by occasional daytrips to New Hampshire. The next race is hosted by Brown University and UConn at MIT’s “home” area: Loon Mountain. The women are currently in a three-way tie for seventh place in the cumulative standings with Babson and St. Anselm. The men are in eighth, and only one point off seventh-place Babson.