CARRABASSET VALLEY, Maine - The Plymouth State University women's ski team got the competition off to a strong start Wednesday with a solid fifth place finish in the giant slalom at the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association's National Championships, held this week at Sugarloaf Mountain.
The Panthers, who qualified for the nationals with a third place finish two weeks ago at the Eastern Regionals, were led by senior Whitney Swaffield (Wolfeboro, N.H.). Swaffield earned All-America honors in the GS for the second straight year, placing sixth overall in the two-run combined time. (The top 15 of the nearly 100 skiers in each event earn All-America honors). Swaffield was an All-America in the GS last year with a fourth place finish.
PSU's next two finishers were sophomore Chantelle Heroux (Cooperstown, N.Y.), who placed 28th, and freshman Amelia Hough (Gloucester, Mass.), who ended up 38th. Sophomores Kristina Hoch (China, Maine) and Kelsey Real (Lanesboro, Mass.) both suffered falls; Hoch recovered to finish 78th but Real did not finish.
Perennial power Sierra Nevada College captured the team title among the 18 schools that qualified, but the next four teams came out of Plymouth State's regular-season league, the MacConnell Division of the Eastern Conference. Colby-Sawyer College finished runner-up, the University of Massachusetts was third, Boston College fourth and PSU fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 were Rocky Mountain College, University of British Columbia, St. Olaf College, and Brown University. The rest of the field, in order of finish, included Ft. Lewis College, Syracuse University, Northern Michigan University, Ithaca College, University of Minnesota-Duluth, James Madison University, Stanford University, and Cornell University.
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.
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