PSU Skiers post strong finishes at Eastern Regional Slalom Race

WATERVILLE VALLEY, N.H. - The Plymouth State University ski teams posted strong finishes Sunday in the slalom race at the Eastern Regional Championships at Waterville Valley.

The Panther men had five of the top 18 finishers and took second place overall, while the Panther women had three in the top 21 and recorded a season-best third place finish. Boston College edged Plymouth State in the men's standings, with UMass finishing third among the 16 schools. Four of the top five men's teams came from the MacConnell Division, the conference that PSU competes in, and won, during the regular season.

Brown beat out BC for the women's team title, with PSU a strong third among the 15 competing institutions. Like the men's race, four of the top five teams in the women's event came from the MacConnell Division. The Panthers finished fifth in the conference during the regular season.

Freshman Topher Harlow (North Conway, N.H.) led the Panther men with a first place finish, his third slalom victory this season. He is the first Panther to win the regional slalom since Tim Mitchell in 2001. Sophomore Skip Bartlett (Silver Lake, N.H.) finished in 10th place for the Panthers, while junior Tyler Barlow (South Burlington, Vt.) overcame a fall in his first run and ended up 14th. Senior Garrett Lashar (Kingfield, Maine) was a solid 16th for PSU, and junior Chad Demetry (Francestown, N.H.) came in 18th.

Senior Whitney Swaffield (Wolfeboro, N.H.) led the Panthers with a fifth place in the women's race. She has finished in the top five in the slalom at regionals the past three years. Sophomore Chantelle Heroux (Cooperstown, N.Y.) registered a strong 10th place finish, an improvement over her 28th place last winter, and sophomore Kristina Hoch (China, Maine) ended up 21st. PSU's other skiers were junior Jessica Bouchard (Temple, Maine) in 27th, and sophomore Kelsey Real (Lanesboro, Mass.) in 33rd.

The competition continues on Monday with the giant slalom races. The top five men's and women's teams in the combined scoring will advance to the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) National Championships on Mar. 3-6 at Sugarloaf (Maine). The Panther teams both advanced last year after the men placed fourth and the women fifth at the regionals.

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