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Sophomore Duo leads PSC Skiers thru 1st three weekends

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - A pair of Plymouth State College sophomores are tearing up the Eastern Collegiate Skiing tour through the first half of the season.

Sophomores Fred DeBaets (St. Sauveur, QUE/Plymouth Regional H.S.) and Anda Curuta (Sibiu, Romania) were the men's and women's winners in the giant slalom last weekend at the Brown U./U. of Connecticut Winter Carnival at Loon Mountain. DeBaets also captured the slalom on Saturday, giving the two Panther skiers a combined nine individual victories in the 12 races this season.

In six men's races, DeBaets has placed first four times, runner-up once and fourth once, with over 90 skiers entering each race. He won the slalom at Berkshire East Mountain on Jan. 16, the GS at Waterville Valley on Jan. 24, and both the slalom and GS last weekend at Loon. He was an All-American in 1998 in the GS with a fifth place at the national championships.

Curuta, who had a sensational freshman year, is having a terrific sophomore season. She won the first four women's slalom and GS races of the season, and after slipping to 12th in last Saturday's slalom at Loon, she captured Sunday's GS to give her five victories in six races this winter. Over 70 women's skiers are entered in each race. Curuta won the first seven races last season, and went on to capture the overall Eastern Regional individual championship.

The Panther men have been very strong as a team this season, despite losing the top four skiers from last year's national runner-up squad. PSC won the team title in both the slalom and GS the first two weekends, then finished runner-up in the slalom and first in the GS last weekend at Loon. The women's squad placed fourth in the slalom last weekend at Loon, and came back Sunday to finish runner-up in the GS.

In addition to DeBaets, seven other Panther men had top 15 finishes last weekend at Loon. Freshman Tim Mitchell (Ashland, MA) placed third in the GS; sophomore Ryan Cornish (Carmel, NY) captured sixth in the GS and seventh in the slalom; junior Mike Leblanc (Plymouth, NH) was seventh in the GS; senior captain Carter Davidson (Madison, NH) placed eighth in the GS and 11th in the slalom; sophomore Brad Dowding (Shrewsbury, MA) was 10th in the slalom; senior captain Dave Chandler (Sterling, MA) was 14th in the GS; and freshman EJ Cheney (Bethel, ME) was 15th in the slalom.

The Panther women's two senior captains turned in top 15 finishes last weekend at Loon. Amanda Dileo (Ridgewood, NJ) finished ninth in the GS and 11th in the slalom, giving her five top 15 finishes in six races this season, while Sarah Thompson (Southboro, MA) placed 14th in the GS at Loon, her best finish of the year.

The season continues next weekend (Feb. 6-7) with slalom and giant slalom races at Mt. Ascutney in Vermont.

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