TRUCKEE, Cal. - Junior alpine skier Whitney Swaffield (Wolfeboro, N.H.) earned All-America honors in the giant slalom Wednesday, helping Plymouth State College to a fourth place finish in the women's GS at the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association's National Championships, held at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort.
Swaffield finished with the fourth fastest combined time in the two giant slalom runs Wednesday. She was the second fastest one down the mountain on the second run. The top 15 of the nearly 100 skiers in each event earn All-America honors. Swaffield had been disqualified in the GS at last year's nationals after missing a gate, but came back to earn All-America honors in the slalom. She will have the chance to repeat her slalom success this Friday.
Freshmen Kelsey Real (Lanesboro, Mass.) and Kristy Hoch (China, Maine) were PSC's next finishers in Wednesday's GS, placing 29th and 41st, respectively. PSC's other two skiers fell, but sophomore Jessica Bouchard (Temple, Maine) finished 71st and freshman Chantelle Heroux (Cooperstown, N.Y.) placed 81st.
"We skied awesome," said PSC head coach Kim Bownes. "We weren't even expected to get to the nationals. To finish fourth is great. I'm really proud of them, even the girls who fell. It's a really tough mountain and there were people falling from every school."
Eastern schools took four of the top five places in the women's GS team standings. The University of Massachusetts captured the title, with Boston College second, PSC fourth and Brown University fifth. The only western school in the top five was Rocky Mountain College in third. There are 19 schools that have qualified and are participating in the event.
The USCSA National Championships continue this week with the men's giant slalom on Thursday, the women's slalom on Friday, and the men's slalom on Saturday. PSC qualified both its men's and women's team for the affair by placing in the top five two weeks ago at the Eastern Regional Championships.