The Castleton State College men and women ski teams have both sealed their future after finishing in the top-5 at regionals on Sugarloaf Mountain, ME on Feb. 22 and 23. Both teams will journey to the United States Collegiate Ski Association Eastern National Championships at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, NY.
In regionals the women notched 2nd place overall and the men recorded 4th.
In the past the women’s ski team has made two appearances at nationals¬ ¬- 2010 and 2013. For the men this will be their seventh straight appearance since 2008.
On the first day of regionals in the giant slalom the Spartan women’s skiers earned second place with one top-10 finisher, Senior Ali Spencer. She recorded the fastest first run of any competitor resulting in a podium finish and second place overall. Spencer was quite pleased with the outcome.
“Standing on the podium in the giant slalom after sliding on my hip in the second run was an amazing feeling. I’m really proud of myself and really excited to keep the momentum going into nationals,” Spencer said.
Coming back Sunday for the slalom, the ladies had solid performances that allowed them third place overall in the slalom. Spencer, again, had the fastest run for her team at sixth place and sophomore Simona Croccolo placed 10th overall- the only top-10 finishers for Castleton.
“The goal was to simply finish in the top 5 overall as a team and to qualify for nationals. We knew we could do that if we simply finished but we all knew we could do a lot better than that. Finishing second overall as a team was simply the icing on the cake,” Spencer said.
As for the men, who unfortunately had two skiers unable to finish in the giant slalom, but they kept fighting and earned fifth in the giant slalom.
The Spartans lost Patrick Burke, who has been the top male skier all season, during the giant slalom event at regionals. He took a hard fall and broke his collarbone. Because of this tragic event Vincent Corrado will be taking his place in Nationals after earning 12th place that day.
Corrado thinks the team will still have a strong showing but with their top skier missing they will have to work harder.
“Having Pat there just gave everyone a little more breathing room because we had more talent to work with. Now we have less people which makes it just a little bit more difficult, we all need to be on top of our game,” Corrado said.
At the slalom freshman Matt Couture had the eighth fastest first run and ended in seventh place overall- only top 10 finisher for the men.
“Our game plan was to ski as fast as we could and as well as we could, not to take any risked that would jeopardize the team,” Corrado said.
Entering nationals is not something the teams take lightly.
“Training is definitely a big thing we are working on right now. Any chance I get to train I always take advantage of it. Even if its one run or two runs, that’s just an extra run to get me better,” Corrado said.
Because of the location, both teams are confident going into nationals. “Having the raced at white face several times in the past and most of the team have spent a lot of time there, they are more prepared than they would be at another venue,” Spencer said.
The Spartan women will be back on the snow for nationals on March 11 and the men on March 12.