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PSU Athletics Top Ten Moments of 2017-18

PSU Athletics Top Ten Moments of 2017-18

No. 3 – Einarsdottir becomes an Olympian, serves as Iceland's flagbearer

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – As Panther Nation gears up for the start of the 2018-19 season, we've decided to look back at the impressive 2017-18 year in Plymouth State Athletics. Over the next few weeks we will reflect on some of the most exciting performances of last season while counting down the Top Ten Moments of 2017-18.

 

            No. 3: Einarsdottir becomes an Olympian, serves as Iceland's flagbearer

            Once every four years, nations around the globe pause, put aside their political differences and join together for the world's preeminent sporting event: the Olympic Games. Last February, for the first time in the rich tradition of Plymouth State athletics, a PSU student-athlete was among the top amateur athletes on the planet competing on the world's biggest stage.

            Junior Freydis Einarsdottir (Garðabær, Iceland), perhaps the most successful female skier in the history of the Plymouth State ski program, was selected to compete at the PyeongChang Games for her home country of Iceland.

            As a freshman in the spring of 2016, Einarsdottir had confessed her dream of competing in the 2018 Games during an interview for Plymouth Magazine. At that point she was already one of the top skiers in Iceland.

            Although Einarsdottir had narrowly missed qualifying for the Sochi Games in 2014, she was hardly a stranger to the highest levels of competition. She had already appeared at the FIS World Alpine Ski Championships in 2013 and 2015, and had just become the first female in Plymouth State history to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

            Her performance in collegiate ski racing's biggest event was off the charts as she earned a 12th place finish, the highest finish for any PSU skier ever at NCAAs.

            A year later she was back at the NCAA Championships, posting a 15th place finish in the slalom (and a not-too-shabby 19th place in giant slalom) to become the first Panther with multiple top-15 finishes at the national competition. And that had come just a month after a third appearance at the FIS Championships.

            After learning she had made the Olympic team, her determination only intensified. "I have worked so hard for so long to reach this goal," she said, "but making the team does not mean I've met all my goals."

            Simply being there wasn't enough for the fierce competitor. She expected to perform well too.

            On Thursday, Feb. 1, Einarsdottir packed up the last of her things for the trip around the world and hopped into a car to make the drive to Logan International Airport. A crowd of athletes and athletics staff, waving flags and cheering loudly, lined Route 175A in front of Hanaway Rink to send her off.

            Einarsdottir met her teammates in South Korea and the group took to the mountain to train. A week later, as the world tuned in to watch the opening ceremony, Panther fans beamed when they discovered the pride of Plymouth State skiing was front and center during the Parade of Nations as Iceland's flagbearer.

            After high winds caused multiple delays and ultimately the postponement of the slalom event, Einarsdottir finally got a chance to compete in the giant slalom on Feb. 15. Wearing bib 60, she posted a time of 1:20.02 in her first run to move into 51st place. Her second run was off to a good start, but midway through the race she caught an edge and missed a gate to register a DNF. The poor course conditions claimed 22 other victims, as nearly 30% of the field was unable to complete both runs.

            A day later she was back on the hill for the slalom event, posting an opening run time of 56.49 seconds. Her split time at the first intermediate was the 51st fastest, but she was able to pick up speed through the more difficult middle portion of the course and climbed to 48th by the second intermediate and 46th by the time she crossed the finish line.

            She posted similar splits through her second run, recording the 42nd fastest time of run two. Her combined time of 1:53.15 put her in 41st place in the field of 78. Panther Nation couldn't have been more proud.

            There was little time to stop and reflect, however, as back in the states the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) carnival season was wrapping up. Einarsdottir returned to campus and jumped right back into competition. Despite the stress of international travel, multiple weather-related delays and Olympic competition, she posted a pair of top-20 finishes at the EISA Championships to secure a spot at a third-straight NCAA Championship.

            Plymouth State and the local community were finally able to properly celebrate her a few days later in a special ceremony during the first intermission of the men's ice hockey playoff game. Einarsdottir received a standing ovation from the packed crowed as PSU President Donald L. Birx and Director of Athletics Kim Bownes accompanied her onto the ice. The pair presented Einarsdottir with an engraved plaque to commemorate her accomplishment.

            The plaque, an image of Einarsdottir competing in the giant slalom in PyeongChang, contained an inscription that read, "Once a Panther, Always a Panther … Once an Olympian, Always an Olympian." Moments later the crowd roared as a 25-foot long banner celebrating her achievement was unveiled below the press box.

            While the late-August heat and humidity leaves many Plymouth residents dreaming for cooler days, there's one student-athlete in particular who can't wait for the snow to fall. This Panther fan, for one, can't wait to see what Einarsdottir has planned for an encore.

 

            PSU Athletics Top Ten Moments of 2017-18

            No. 2 – Coming Aug. 22

            No. 3 – Einarsdottir becomes an Olympian, serves as Iceland's flagbearer

            No. 4 – Women's ice hockey tops UNE in OT for first-ever playoff win

            No. 5 – Women's lacrosse runs the table in LEC, earns second straight NCAA trip

            No. 6 – Allaire caps record-breaking season with pair of NEISDA diving titles

            No. 7 – Football shocks Framingham State on the way to MASCAC crown

            No. 8 – Men's basketball rallies from 12 down to top Keene State in OT

            No. 9 – Miller's no-hitter leads softball team to LEC Tournament win

            No. 10 – Panther Park renamed Parish Field

 

 

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