Panthers looking for respect in the EISA
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The 2013 racing season gets underway for the Plymouth State University alpine ski team this weekend (Jan. 11-12) when the Panthers compete at the University of Vermont Carnival on Mount Mansfield at the Stowe Mountain Resort.
The Panther men's and women's teams will race in the giant slalom on Friday and the slalom on Saturday, with the top skiers taking two runs each. The squads will send six men and six women into the starting gate on each day, with the top three counting towards the team scores.
|Head Coach Andrew Gannon|
The 2013 campaign marks PSU's second season in the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA), along with Bates College, 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 hosted by Saint Lawrence, Colby, Dartmouth and Middlebury. The EISA Regionals are Feb. 22-23, hosted by Bates, with the top skiers advancing to the NCAA Championships Mar. 6-9, at the Middlebury Snowbowl.
2013 Panther Skiing Outlook
The Panthers have a good blend of veterans and newcomers on both teams, according to PSU third-year head coach Andrew Gannon. The men have four strong returnees and three outstanding freshmen, while the women have four experienced juniors and four solid freshmen, led by a pair of Swedes.
"I'm very excited about the men's team," said Gannon. "We have two very strong returnees who are outstanding team leaders, and they will be joined by a very strong freshman class. Our newcomers are top-notch and will make the rest of the team work even harder. I look for the guys to consistently finish in the top five this season."
"We have a wide range of experience on the women's team," said Gannon. "We have a solid core with the four juniors, and our top two freshmen will make a huge impact on the line-up. Our women have a big challenge ahead of them."
Leading the way for the Panther men are the two captains who are looking for big senior seasons, Chris Beadon (Ridgefield, Conn./Stratton Mountain School) and Parker Spear (Sodus Point, N.Y./Sodus Central). Beadon finished in the top 22 in five races last season to lead the Panthers, while Spear had two top 20 finishes.
"Chris and Parker have had excellent careers and we expect that to continue this year," said Gannon. "They've been racing very well this winter and we're looking forward to again competing against EISA competition."
Gannon is excited about the arrival of freshmen Max Martin (Salt Lake City, Utah/Rowland Hall), Takehiro Watanabe (Sapporo, Japan/Stratton Mountain School) and Garrett Quimby (Dunstable, Mass./Groton-Dunstable). Sophomores Andrew Beck (Lake George, N.Y.) and Pieter Van Ingen (Skaneateles, N.Y.) are experienced returnees who will look for a spot in the line-up.
Junior captains Marley Pawlak (West Dover, Vt./Stratton Mountain School) and Leigh Anne Connors (Lake Placid, N.Y.) are the top returnees for the Panther women. Gannon says freshmen Matilda Ljuden (Uppsala, Sweden) and Caroline Lundmark (Skelleftea, Sweden) have been outstanding and have already made an impact on the team.
The Panther women will have to overcome the loss of their top skier of the past three seasons, Martina Ryberg (Stockholm, Sweden), who suffered a career-ending injury last winter. She is a former US Collegiate Ski Association national champion and one of the top skiers in school history.
"Martina has been a major help as a student assistant on the mountain," said Gannon. "She continues to have a major impact on the program, helping out from a student-athlete's perspective. She's done a lot of work and deserves a ton of credit."
Gannon says he thinks both Panther teams will be improved over last season.
"With a year in the EISA under our belts, the newness or 'stage fright' of everything is gone; we know what to expect," said Gannon. "We have more confidence this year. Our guys were very close to breaking through and making an impact on the league last year, I think we can make another step this year. Our women will have to keep working and making improvements, which I'm sure we will."
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