UVM places fourth in nation

JON POLSON The Vermont Cynic First Year Griffin Brown competes in the Slalom event at Middlebury Carnival Feb. 13. The cats took fourth place at this year's NCAA Championships in Lake Placid, New York.
JON POLSON The Vermont Cynic
First Year Griffin Brown competes in the Slalom event at Middlebury Carnival Feb. 13. The cats took fourth place at this year’s NCAA Championships in Lake Placid, New York.

 

The slopes were groomed just right and conditions were fair, but the UVM Nordic and Alpine teams were unable to claw their way back as they came up short in the NCAA Ski Championships.

The four-day event was hosted by St. Lawrence University and the Olympic Regional Development Authority March 11-14, in Lake Placid, New York.

“We had some outstanding performances as well as some disappointments, which is normal with any 4 day race series,” Alpine Head Coach Bill Reichelt said.

The race marked Vermont’s 49th NCAA appearance.

The Cats finished fourth overall at the tournament.

“I’m  impressed with their level of competitiveness on the national stage,” junior Cassidy Lang said.  “It’s telling of how good a program we have here.”

Under the reigns of Reichelt and Nordic Head Coach Patrick Weaver, Vermont was one of eight teams to field a full 12-skier team, according to UVM athletics.

The first day of completion featured UVM’s Nordic men’s 10K and women’s 5K freestyle races at Mt. Van Hoevenberg. UVM sat in 3rd with 106 pints.

For the men, junior Jack Hegman led the way being the first Vermont skier to cross the finish line, placing sixth overall with a time of 26:16.5.

For the women, junior MK Cirelli was the top Eastern skier, placing 11th overall to lead her fellow Catamounts.

Senior Stephanie Kirk, winner of the Elite 89 Award, which is given to the student athlete with team and conference’s highest GPA, finished in 18th place.

Day two, featured the Alpine men’s and women’s giant slalom at Whiteface Mountain.

Junior Elli Terwiel was the only Cat on the women’s side able to put together two clean runs and finished the race placing 12th overall to score the only points on the board for Vermont.

On day three, the Nordic men’s 20K and women’s 15K classic races continued at Mt. Van Hoevenberg.

The Cats maintained their fifth place standing, with efforts from the men’s junior Jorgen Grav who placed ninth.

Grav earned All-America Second Team honors. Women’s Senior Stephanie Kirk and first-year Alayna Sonnesyn finished 21st and 28th respectively, according to UVM athletics.

The fourth and final day, ended with the Alpine men’s and women’s slalom races at Whiteface Mountain.

For the men, junior Dom Garand took home first place and won the national title.

Garand is the 55th national champion in the Vermont Ski team’s history, according to UVM athletics. While women’s defending champion senior Kristina Riis-Johannessen was the runner-up, both earned First Team All-American honors according to UVM athletics.

With the completion of the 2015 NCAA Championships, UVM’s Alpine and Nordic ski teams conclude their season.

“We need to get super strong and fit over the summer and come back to school ready to attack the gym,” Reichelt. “The best thing about coming in fourth as a team is that it makes you that much more hungry to improve and move up to the top step.”