Panther Women finish eighth in slalom at skiing nationals

CARRABASSET VALLEY, Maine - The Plymouth State University women's ski team ended its season with a solid performance Friday, placing eighth in the slalom event and finishing fifth in the combined alpine scoring at the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association's National Championships, held this week at Sugarloaf Mountain.

The Panthers overcame falls by several skiers to pull out the eighth place in Friday's slalom. The performance was fourth best among Eastern teams, behind third-place Boston College, fourth-place Brown University, and sixth-place University of Massachusetts.

Senior Whitney Swaffield (Wolfeboro, N.H.) again led the Panthers, concluding an outstanding season and a terrific career. She finished 13th among the 100 skiers in Friday's slalom to earn All-America honors for the second time this week (the top 20 finishers comprise the All-America Team). Including her sixth place in the giant slalom, Swaffield will receive All-America recognition in the individual combined alpine, wrapping up her career as a seven-time All-American.

Sophomore Kristina Hoch (China, Maine) was PSU's next finisher in the slalom, bringing home a 29th place, and classmate Kelsey Real (Lanesboro, Mass.) overcame a fall to finish 46th. Sophomore Chantelle Heroux (Cooperstown, N.Y.) and junior Jess Bouchard (Temple, Maine) suffered falls and did not finish.

Perennial power Sierra Nevada College and the Albertson University took the top two spots in the slalom team scoring. The rest of the top 10 were BC, Brown, St. Olaf College, UMass, Northern Michigan University, PSU, Fort Lewis College and Syracuse University. The remainder of the 18-team field included (in order of finish) the University of British Columbia, Ithaca College, Cornell University, Colby-Sawyer College, Rocky Mountain College, James Madison University, Stanford University and the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

The USCSA National Championships conclude Saturday with the men's slalom, followed by the USCSA banquet, which also include the presentation of the individual and team combined alpine awards.

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