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PSC Skiers concluded reular season with high rankings

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - In the final regular season races of the season, the Plymouth State College skiing teams turned in solid efforts over the weekend at the Smith College Winter Carnival at Berkshire East Mountain in Western Massachusetts.

The PSC men, who have been dominant all season, finished up with a first place in Saturday's slalom and a runner-up in Sunday's giant slalom. The Panthers captured eight of 10 races during the regular season to earn the No. 1 team ranking, and are prepared to bring home a fourth straight Eastern Regional title at next weekend's championships.

On the other side, the PSC women also captured Saturday's slalom race, and came back Sunday with a third place finish in the GS. The Panthers won four of the 10 regular season races and placed in the top five every time to earn the No. 2 team ranking, and will be competing for their first regional title since 1996.

Both PSC squads, led by veteran coach Kim Bownes, will compete in the Eastern Collegiate Ski Conference Eastern Regionals next Sunday and Monday (Feb. 27-28) at Waterville Valley. The top teams advance to the US Collegiate Skiing Championships at Loon Mountain on Mar. 8-11.

Plymouth State finished the regular season with the top ranked individuals for both men and women -- juniors Fred DeBaets (St. Sauveur, QUE) and Anda Curuta (Sibiu, Romania). DeBaets swept both the slalom and GS last weekend, giving him six individual victories this season and nine top three finishes in 10 races. Curuta won Saturday's slalom for her remarkable ninth straight individual triumph this winter before slipping to 15th in Sunday's GS. She is not only ranked No. 1, but she has recorded an unbelievable 21 first place finishes in 28 regular season races in her collegiate career.

DeBaets is just one of several Panther men who are having strong seasons, as four PSC men finished the regular season ranked in the top 10. Sophomore Tim Mitchell (Ashland, Mass.), who was ninth in last weekend's slalom and third in the GS, is ranked fifth overall. He also placed first in two races this season, once in the slalom and once in the GS. Classmate EJ Cheney (Bethel, Maine), who placed 10th in the slalom Saturday and fourth in the GS Sunday, is seventh in the season rankings, and freshman Justin Parent (Sanbornville, NH), who was eighth Saturday's slalom, finished his first collegiate regular season ranked ninth.

The only women's race this season not won by Curuta was Sunday's GS, which was captured by PSC freshman Cherylanne Murphy (East Northport, NY). She had five top three finishes in 10 races this winter, and finishes fourth in the women's rankings for the season. Freshman Heidi Mann (Merrimack, NH) was the next highest ranked PSC woman, finishing 22nd.

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