Panthers begin new era in first year in the EISA
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – A new era for the Plymouth State University alpine ski team officially begins this weekend (Jan. 20-21) when the Panthers open the 2012 racing season at the Bates College Carnival at Sunday River in Newry, Maine.
The Panther men's and women's teams will race in the giant slalom on Friday and the slalom on Saturday at Sunday River. It marks PSU's debut in the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA), having made the move last summer from the US Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA).
|Head Coach Andrew Gannon|
PSU is now a member of the EISA along with Bates, Boston College, Bowdoin College, Colby College, Colby-Sawyer College, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, University of Maine Presque Isle, Middlebury College, University of New Hampshire, Saint Michael's College, Saint Lawrence University, University of Vermont and Williams College.
The EISA circuit also includes weekend carnivals at Attitash Mountain (N.H.), Mount Mansfield (Vt.), Dartmouth Skiway (N.H.), and Jiminy Peak (Mass.). The EISA Regionals are Feb. 24-25 at the Middlebury (Vt.) Snowbowl, with the top skiers advancing to the NCAA Championships Mar. 7-10, at Bozeman, Mont.
2012 Panther Skiing Outlook
The Panthers finished their tenure in the USCSA on a strong note, with each team capturing the Eastern Regional championship and producing an individual national champion. The men's squad finished runner-up at the national championships in the slalom and combined while the women won their first national team championship in the giant slalom.
This year will be different, according to PSU second-year head coach Andrew Gannon. While the competition will be more challenging, Gannon says the Panthers will be looking to hold their own.
"We have some outstanding skiers who can be very competitive at this level," said Gannon. "No doubt it will be challenging, but we have the confidence that we can compete. We've tried to keep the team dynamic as it's always been, which is to develop good skiers and strong team members to have a good all-around team."
The Panther men's team welcomes back a pair of juniors who give PSU a solid 1-2 punch in Chris Beadon and Parker Spear. Beadon won the USCSA national championship in the slalom last year and finished third in the combined and Spear was Eastern Regional runner-up and Second Team All-America in the slalom.
"Chris and Parker had excellent seasons last year and we expect that to continue," said Gannon. "They've been racing very well this winter and we're looking forward to matching up against the top skiers in the EISA."
PSU also returns a pair of veterans in seniors Willie Colt and Tom Sampson. The Panther men will have to overcome the graduation of a large senior class from last year, which included All-Americans Peter Ostroski and Travis Nevins.
Junior Martina Ryberg returns to lead the Panther women. She swept the Eastern Regional championships (slalom, GS, combined) the past two years and captured the national championship last March in the giant slalom.
"Martina is very competitive and we expect her to challenge the top skiers in the EISA," said Gannon. "Our other top skiers could be in the mix as well."
Sophomore Marley Pawlak and junior Katherine Goller give the PSU women a pair of veteran skiers. Pawlak earned All-America honors last year in the GS and combined alpine and Goller has skied at the national championships the past two years.
"Our new league is still a bit of an unknown," said Gannon, "but we're looking forward to competing and excited to see what happens."
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