Ski teams cruise through senior race

Seniors on the Alpine skiing teams pose in their senior-race costumes

Castleton’s Alpine Ski Team landed a successful season, with both the men’s and women’s teams finishing first within the McConnell Division as they head into the USCSA Eastern Regional Championships. 

Hosted by Pat’s Peak in New Hampshire, the final weekend of the regular season last week saw a battle of teams, a plethora of celebratory costumes, and cries of joy as the scorching winter temperatures provided an ideal environment for felicitations. 

Certainly, the warm temperatures have more of an impact than simply snow conditions. Burying ski boots in snow to cool the plastic shell demonstrates the multifaceted influence of climate change. 

Ski racing operates within a structure that gives skiers two runs, wherein the combination of the two runs constitutes the athlete’s time – the fastest time winning the race. Within the sphere of college ski racing, a team aspect is introduced. Three athletes’ times are added to establish a combined time that is compared to other teams. 

Following the first run on the Sunday’s second day of racing, the Castleton Women’s team sat four hundredths behind the Babson women’s team. Notably, Sunday’s race was the deciding factor to determine the women’s division champions; the final chapter to a season-long tension between Babson and Castleton’s women’s teams. 

Heading into the second run, Emilie Stene, Ginevra Trevisan, and Petra Veljkovic spearheaded the women’s side, requiring perfect runs to overtake Babson. 

Finishing her first race of the season, delayed due to injuries, Veljkovic clocked the fastest second run to move her from 7th into 3rd. Supported by Stene and topped by Trevisan, who both skied solid, fast runs, the Castleton women swept the podium, and earned the race and season victory. 

Juxtaposing the intensity of competition was the comedic relief of the senior race. Largely unique to college ski racing, it is the tradition of dressing up in celebration of collegiate retirement. 

Past years have featured minions flying down the hill, wizards of Hogwarts cross blocking slalom gates, and the simplicity of budgie smugglers covering only what was necessary. This year, costumes on the Castleton men’s team harkened to their future careers, as each knotted short ties over button down shirts, tucked into dress pants, all over their race suits. 

While the men’s side entered the final day of racing with an assured season victory, they maintained their dominance. Freshman and Rookie of the Year, Raphael Fischer, landed on the podium and was flanked by Castleton men who filled the next four position rankings. 

Sacrificing hundredths of seconds to the pleasure of wearing casual business attire down a racecourse was well worth it, as the men took first place on Sunday’s senior race aided by seniors Christian Meyer, Christopher Kerven, Lorenzo Mencaccini, Jackson Frazier and Evan Toman. 

On the Castleton women’s side, the two seniors, Petra Veljkovic and Camille Jackson, both embodied their home countries, sporting costumes with hints of Serbia and Australia. 

The kangaroo peeking out of the race bib of Jackson’s costume matched the twin Australian flags flapping off her helmet. Veljkovic’s Serbian race suit reflects her trajectory to the winter Olympic games and accompanying lab coat her academic endeavors. 

Indeed, this final race weekend of the regular season places both the men’s and women’s side in ideal positions leading into the regional competition. 

Christopher Kerven and Camille Jackson celebrate with a Swedish flag.

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