It’s been quite the winter for Castleton’s men’s and women’s Nordic Ski teams. In just their third season as a program, both teams qualified for the USCSA National Championships after each finishing second place at the ECSC Regional Championships.
Led by head coach Marty Maher, the Nordic Ski teams will be make their way to Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid, New York. on Tuesday March 6. This will be the men’s third straight appearance and the women’s second straight appearance in the National Championships. This year, skier Megan Greene believes that the Spartans will perform well.
“We are extremely excited to get to compete with all of these teams around the U.S.,” Greene said. “This year I think we have a good chance at producing some pretty good results which I think is impressive for such a new team.”
Greene finished fourth overall at the Regional Championships and third place out of the regional participants with a time of 25:54 for the 7.5-kilometer race. Although it was not her best performance, she was pleased with her and her teammates efforts.
“It’s awesome to finish so well at Regionals … [and] it’s awesome that we did so well as a team,” Greene said.
Teammate Emily Cromie finished second for the Spartans and eighth for Regionals (14th overall) with a time of 31:03, followed ten seconds later by Kaylyn Crompton in ninth place (16th overall).
The men’s team had similar success. Devin Perry was the first finish for the Spartans, coming in third among Regionals participants (fifth overall) with a time of 22:49. David Harvey then finished fifth for Regionals (eighth overall) 16 seconds after Perry, good for second place for the Castleton team.
Following them, Jared Wheeler finished 29th overall, Keegan Cummings finished 37th overall, Thomas Rizza came in two seconds after Cummings for 38th overall, and freshman Devin Van Bockler finished 44th overall.
The quick success of the Castleton Nordic skiing team can be attributed to experience, according to Maher.
“The athletes get used to racing to college circuit. We race back-to-back Saturday and Sunday, and some aren’t as used to that system coming out of high school.” Maher said, “Our distances are a little different, we go up to a 15 kilometer race, so that has an impact on them.”
Greene agreed with her coach.
“Last year was a huge building year, we were just starting to understand what college racing is like, because most of us were freshmen.” Greene said.
She also noted team chemistry as another factor for success.
“We connect really well as a team which makes practicing and racing much more enjoyable.” She said.
This year in particular, the Spartans may have a slight advantage. Coach Maher mentioned that many of the skiers on the Castleton teams live in New York. They have raced and competed in Lake Placid many times already. This time around, the Spartans have experience.
Both teams finished second at the Regional Championships this year to their biggest competitor, Clarkson University. Clarkson’s men’s and women’s teams both placed first. Last year, the Clarkson women took home the National Championship while their men’s team finished third. Meanwhile, the Castleton men’s team finished eighth and the women finished seventh. As for the 2018 National Championships, Castleton hopes to surpass the competition on Mar. 6-10 in Lake Placid.
Editor’s note: The Castleton Spartan went to press on March 5, a day before the meet in New York.