WATERVILLE VALLEY, N.H. - It was an excellent day on the slopes for the Plymouth State University men's and women's alpine ski teams Saturday as they competed in the slalom races at the Eastern Regional Championships at Waterville Valley.
The Panther men's squad captured first place among the 13 competing men's schools, while the Panther women's squad finished runner-up among 13 women's teams. The PSU men captured the slalom team title for the third time in four years, while the PSU women posted their best finish since finishing runner-up in 2006. The successful outcomes are the first post-season results for PSU first-year head coach Topher Harlow.
Each school in both the men's and women's division entered five racers, with the three fastest combined times per team in the two runs determining the team scoring. Plymouth State had three of the top four individuals among the 68 skiers in the men's race, and three of the top 11 among the 65 in the women's race to finish runner-up.
PSU finished first in the men's standings, with Babson College second, Castleton State College third, Boston College fourth and Tufts University fifth. Colby-Sawyer College took top honors in the women's standings, with PSU second, Boston College third, Brown University fourth and the University of Massachusetts fifth. The top five women's teams all came from the same regular season circuit, the MacConnell Division.
The sophomore trio of Peter Ostroski (Intervale, N.H./Kennett), Travis Nevins (Henniker, N.H.) and Austin Nevins (Henniker, N.H.) helped PSU dominate the men's field, placing second, third and fourth, respectively. They finished 2-3-4 in the first run and held their positions in the second run. Ostroski has finished in the top eight in all 11 races this season, and 24 out of 25 in his career. It was the career-best finishes for both Nevins brothers. Classmate Willie Colt (Hanover, N.H.) was also a top 10 finisher with a solid ninth place, while fellow sophomore Tyler Bailey (West Hurley, N.Y.) was 45th after the first run but did not finish the second.
Freshman Kait Pawlak (North Windham, Vt.) and junior Alyssa Deane (Casper, Wyo.) led the Panther women with strong fourth- and fifth-place results. Both had strong second runs, with Pawlak moving up from sixth to fourth and Deane improving from seventh to fifth. It was Pawlak's eighth top-eight finish this season and Deane's ninth top-10 finish in11 races this winter. Junior Alex Albrecht (Canterbury, N.H.) was PSU's third finisher, posting a career-best 11th place. Sophomore Erin Fletcher (Franconia, N.H.) and senior Katie Van Riper (Temple, Maine), who have been consistent finishers all season, posted solid places of 18th and 22nd, respectively.
The two-day event continues on Sunday at Waterville Valley with the giant slalom races. The top five men's and women's teams in the combined alpine will advance to the U.S. Collegiate Ski Association's National Championships Mar. 4-7 at Winter Park, Colo.
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