Ski team looks on to Regionals

The Castleton State College women’s ski team continued its unbeaten season, placing first in both the giant slalom on Feb. 13 and the slalom events on Feb. 14. The men on the other hand placed third in the giant slalom and second in the slalom, ending their bid for a perfect season.”I was really pumped about [the women winning],” coach Chris Eder said. “It was really exciting because [the women] have never beaten Clarkson before.”

This proved to be a big weekend for both Spartan teams as they got their first real taste of what they could expect at Nationals this season, should they make it that far.

“[These races] are a good measuring stick for us for Regionals and Nationals,” Eder said. “These are the best teams we have faced all season, especially Clarkson and Colgate.”

The women’s team handled the competition in the giant slalom with ease, beating the second place Clarkson by 11 seconds. Brianna Kullberg took first place while Krisitin Leggett and Heather Patterson placed third and fourth respectively. Michelle Podnecky came in sixth place.

In Sunday’s slalom competition, the women again came out strong, beating Clarkson by eight seconds. Kullberg took top honors again while Podnecky came in third and Kristina Sundin took sixth. Katie Martin and Patterson also placed in the top 10, nabbing the seventh and ninth positions respectively.

While the women overpowered all the competition in the giant slalom event, the men struggled more than they had all season. They had a solid shot at taking second place in the race, but fell half a second short of Colgate.

“I think the men had an off day,” Eder said. “It just happens sometimes. They could easily have been in second place.”

Despite the third place finish, the men still had strong showings. Connor O’ Brien was the top finisher for the Castleton men, coming in at eighth. Greg Towle and Steven Zotter placed 11th and 12th respectively, and Bobby Jones finished 15th.

“They just skied a little too cautious in [the giant slalom],” Eder said. They took a rounder line because they wanted to make sure they finished.”

On Sunday, the men had a stronger showing, placing second, just 4.2 seconds behind Clarkson.

Zotter placed second overall on the day while Towle, Jones, and Robert Burke placed fifth, ninth and tenth respectively.

Eder said he was proud of the way the men handled themselves at the slalom event.

“They had a shot going into the second run. We know we could have been even closer or even beat [Clarkson],” Eder said. “It’s a really good feeling to know that we can be there with them.”

While Eder thinks that this weekend will serve as a big confidence booster to the women, he said it shouldn’t affect the men’s confidence going into the playoffs.

“The guys aren’t disappointed at all. [Co-coach Dale Solotruck and I] were a little worried about how they’d act, but they are in good spirits,” he said.

Eder said that the hardest part of the season will now be deciding which five racers will comprise the varsity team for Regionals, which will be held at Waterville Valley, NH.

According to Eder, both of the Spartan teams are prepared for what they have to do in order to make it to Nationals, and everybody, including him, is excited for Regionals this weekend.

“It’s my hope that, one week from [Feb. 14], we’ll be sitting on the bus, thinking about where we’ll be staying for Nationals.

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