WATERVILLE VALLEY, N.H. - Plymouth State University skiers posted numerous top finishes in both the giant slalom and combined alpine on Sunday, leading to outstanding team and individual results for the Panthers at the Eastern Regional Championships at Waterville Valley.
PSU's men's team captured the Eastern Regional combined alpine championship after finishing in third place among 13 schools in Sunday's GS. The Panthers had finished in first place in Saturday's slalom standings. It is PSU's first combined alpine title since sharing the top spot with the University of Massachusetts in 2006, and is PSU's first outright regional championship since capturing five in a row from 1997-01.
The Panther women's team had a terrific day as well. They skied to a second place in Sunday's giant slalom, PSU's best regional finish in the GS since winning the title in 2001. That outcome, combined with their runner-up finish in Saturday's slalom, clinched second place in the Eastern Regional combined alpine standings. It is PSU's best showing in the combined at the regionals since winning the title in 2001 after finishing runner-up the previous four years.
The Panther teams will now compete at the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowsport Association (USCSA) National Championships on Mar. 4-7 at Winter Park, Colo. PSU is led this season by rookie head coach Topher Harlow.
Sophomore Peter Ostroski (Intervale, N.H./Kennett) led the way for PSU, continuing his outstanding season. Ostroski (right) captured the giant slalom title Sunday among the 66 racers and, combined with his second place in Saturday's slalom, clinched the individual combined title. He continued his streak of finishing in the top eight, which he has done in all 12 races this season and 25 of 26 in his career.
It was a team victory for the Panther men, though, as the top three skiers in the GS placed in the top 10 and all five finished in the top 16. Senior Brad Dietch (New City, N.Y.) came in eighth place, followed by sophomores Austin Nevins (Henniker, N.H.) and Travis Nevins (Henniker, N.H.) in 10th and 11th, respectively, and classmate Willie Colt (Hanover, N.H.) in 16th. In the combined alpine standings, Travis Nevins finished fourth, Austin Nevins was sixth, Colt was eighth, and Dietch 17th.
Junior Alyssa Deane (Casper, Wyo.) provided the headlines in the success of the Panther women. Deane (left) finished in second place among 65 skiers in Sunday's GS, and combined with her fifth place in Saturday's slalom, captured third place in the combined alpine. It's the best finish for a PSU woman since 2005.
Like their counterparts, the Panther women achieved success as a team. Sophomore Erin Fletcher (Franconia, N.H.) posted an eighth place in Sunday's GS, while freshman Kait Pawlak (North Windham, Vt.) was 15th, junior Lauren Germano (Glastonbury, Conn.) posted a career-best 16th place, and senior Katie Van Riper (Temple, Maine) finished 22nd. In the combined alpine scoring, Pawlak finished seventh, Fletcher placed 11th, junior Alex Albrecht (Canterbury, N.H.) tied for 17th, Van Riper was 21st, and Germano finished 25th.
Colby-Sawyer College was the team winner in Sunday's men's GS, with UMass second, PSU third, Babson College fourth and Boston College fifth. The top five men's teams in the combined alpine that will represent the East at the nationals are Plymouth State, Babson, Colby-Sawyer, Castleton State and Boston College.
Colby-Sawyer College swept the weekend on the women's side, winning the slalom, GS and combined, and PSU was second across the board. Rounding out the top five in the women's standings were Brown University, Boston College and UMass.
The PSU men have finished runner-up in the combined alpine the past two years at the national championships, while the women placed third overall at the nationals last winter and fifth in 2007.
-- 30 --