Goal one: win the Thompson Division and go undefeated. Two: place in the top five at regionals to qualify for nationals, and three: continue to build a cohesive team that is there for each other both on and off the snow. Check, check and check. Next stop, Nationals.
These were just three out of the four goals the Castleton men’s ski team set prior to its season. After achieving all but one on the list the men’s ski team is gearing up to make that last goal on the list a reality, which is to place in the top ten at nationals.
This isn’t anything new for the Spartans since this is the fourth consecutive year that the men have advanced to the USCSA National Championships.
The Spartans clinched the national berth by placing fifth in both the Slalom and Giant Slalom events at the USCSA Eastern Regional Championships at Waterville Valley, NH on Feb. 20.
Senior Justin Garritt has been a member of the men’s ski team for four years and says he has seen this small group of skiers grow, not just in numbers, but also into a nationally ranked competitive ski team. Garritt is nothing but confident with his team going into nationals.
“I am impressed with the team’s effort, determination, and drive this season. Everyone has been supportive of one another and understands their role,” Garritt said.
Head coach Chris Eder feels the same way.
“We can rank in the top ten. I think we have a good shot,” Eder said.
Eder is also excited that his team gets another chance to face such prestige competition like Plymouth State, Colby Sawyer College, Rocky Mountain College and Sierra Nevada College.
“The team is pretty confident there’s defiantly going to be some good competition out there,” Eder said.
With all this success, Garritt says there is always pressure for the team to do well, but also says it never affects the performances of the team.
“At regionals we are expected to make nationals and only have four runs to prove it. So far, the team has stood up and performed despite the pressure,” he said.
Garritt says the key for the team to be successful at nationals is consistency and finishing all four runs cleanly.
“Hopefully at the end of next week we will be able to say we met all of our goals for the season and come in top 10 in the country,” he said.
The National Championships will take place at the Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley, Idaho on March 9-12.
The Spartans best result came in 2008 when the team placed eighth in the country and now the men will have a chance to top that at this year’s event.