Ski team still racing perfect

In eight races so far this season, the Castleton State College men’s and women’s ski teams have shown the rest of Castleton State College athletics and the other schools in their United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association Thompson Division that they belong in a class of their own. The teams are off to impressive starts in the 2010 season as they have both taken first place in each race, shooting them up to first place in the USCSA Thomson Division standings with 6 points. For the men, Tufts University, Northeastern University and Worcester Polytechnic Inst. are all tied for second place with 18 points. The women are followed by Boston University (14 points) and Northeastern University (17).

So what makes this year’s teams so good?

Assistant coach Dale Solotruck says that he sees something special in the teams this year, something that last year’s teams may not have had.

“I’ve seen a lot of maturity in the way [both teams] are skiing this year,” he said. “They’re more balanced and because of that, they’re gonna be able to handle different conditions better. They had to do that [this past weekend] because it was pretty rough conditions temp wise.”

Hearing Solotruck say that should scare other teams considering that the men’s team went to Nationals last season and that the women’s team just missed an invitation.

Head coach Chris Eder was quick to point out that depth is another facet of Castleton skiing that has made the teams as successful as they are this season.

“It seems like every day we race, somebody different is our top skier. We have a lot of depth,” he said. “We feel confident that we can win with our numbers five, six, and seven skiers for both the men’s and the women’s teams.”

So far the men’s team has gotten big contributions from Bobby Jones, Robert Burke, Steven Zotter, Charles Robbins, Connor O’Brien, Bartholomew Kallgren, Justin Garritt, Thatcher Karner and Greg Towle, who are all listed in the top 15 male competitors in their division.

On the women’s team, Brianna Kullberg, Katie Martin, and Michelle Podnecky are listed first, second and third respectively on the top women’s individual list. Kristina Sundin, Corrie Keener, Kristin Leggett, Heather Patterson, Erica Luce, and Madalyn Kirbach have also had strong showings for Castleton, placing them within the top 15 female competitors in the division.

As the Spartan ski teams move closer and closer to the end of the season, their focus is beginning to stray more from the present and look towards the postseason, according to Solotruck.

“We’re not trying to look ahead, but at the same time we know there will be more difficult days ahead of us,” he said.

Next up for the Spartans are Slalom races at Cranmore Mountain Resort in

North Conway, NH. After that, the Spartans will compete in Slalom and Giant Slalom events in the Skidmore Invitational at West Mountain in Glens Falls, NY. Eder classified the Skidmore Invitational as “a great tune-up” for the postseason, which starts the following weekend.

Eder was optimistic about the team moving forward in the season.

“We’re just trying to have them stay on pace. We want them to peak at Regionals,” he said. “But right now, we look pretty good.

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