- It was a rough first day for the Plymouth State University women's ski team Wednesday at the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) National Championships, held at Sugarloaf Mountain.
The Panther women suffered falls to several skiers in Wednesday's giant slalom, and ended up is 18th place out of 18 schools. Only two PSU skiers finished both runs (teams need three finishers to avoid a penalty). The Panthers were 10th out of 19 in the same event last year.
"Some days in ski racing, things just don't go right, and this was one of those days," said PSU veteran head coach Kim Bownes. "This turned out to be one of the worst days in my 18 years of coaching."
Sophomore Melissa Caflisch (Clymer, N.Y./Northwood School) was PSU's first finisher with a 19th place among the 97 skiers, although Bownes indicated it was not a top performance. She was more than five seconds behind the top finishers. Caflisch is making her first collegiate national championship appearance, as she missed last year's races with a knee injury suffered two days before the competition started.
Freshman Paige Frohock (Boise, Idaho) was PSU's other finisher, but her time was slowed by a fall on the first run. She regrouped and ended up in 48th place. Sophomore Kara Marvelli (Franconia, N.H.) and freshman Katie Van Riper (Carabasset Valley, Maine) were knocked out of the event after first-run tumbles, and junior Amelia Hough (Gloucester, Mass.) fell on her second run and did not finish.
Western schools Sierra Nevada College and Rocky Mountain College were the top two in the team standings, while PSU's regular-season rivals Brown University, Colby-Sawyer College and Boston College finished 3-4-5.
The Panthers qualified for this year's USCSA National Championships by finishing in a tie for third at the Eastern Regional Championships last month at Waterville Valley.
PSU hopes for better results on Thursday with the men's giant slalom races. The championships continue on Friday and Saturday with the women's and men's slalom, respectively.
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