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July 7, 2011

Plymouth State Skiing changes affiliations

Panthers to join EISA in 2011-12

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The highly-successful Plymouth State University alpine ski racing programs are changing affiliations and will compete in the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) in 2011-12 as part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

            Plymouth State, which has had varsity men’s and women’s skiing since 1968, has been long-time members of the Eastern Collegiate Ski Conference (ECSC), which was part of the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA).

            The EISA is the premier collegiate skiing conference in the Eastern United States. The EISA annually hosts six Winter Carnival competitions starting in mid January, and all of the alpine events are USSA or FIS-University sanctioned and scored. The season culminates with the EISA Championships at the end of February, and the top individuals qualify, based on their season results, for the NCAA Skiing Championships in early March.

            “The membership of EISA is excited to welcome Plymouth State University to the conference,” said Rogan Connell, President of the EISA and head alpine ski coach at Bates College.  “The addition of PSU will further strengthen the largest and most competitive NCAA skiing conference in the country."

            Schools in the EISA include varsity programs from Bates, Bowdoin College, Colby College, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Middlebury College, St. Lawrence University, St. Michael's College, University of Maine-Presque Isle, University of New Hampshire, University of Vermont and Williams College.  Colby-Sawyer College is also joining the EISA this year.  PSU is the only NCAA Division III state school in the EISA.

            “EISA membership is a much better fit for PSU and I am excited for the athletes and the University,” said PSU head ski coach Andrew Gannon.  “The structure of the competition and the EISA’s unyielding dedication to the highest level of intercollegiate athletics will bring the best out of the student-athletes at PSU. I am excited to be part of this new era.”

            PSU thrived in the ECSC and the USCSA for the past two decades, largely due to the leadership of veteran head coach Kim Bownes, now the Associate Athletic Director at PSU.

            “We are very excited and honored to be a part of the EISA,” said Bownes. “The best college ski racers in the world participate in NCAA ski racing (the EISA in the east and RMISA in the west). There are certainly going to be some challenges ahead. We have been a part of the USCSA since our existence, so I expect us to have some growing pains, but our program is in great hands with Andrew Gannon." 

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