Plymouth State finishes third in giant slalom at Eastern Regionals

WATERVILLE VALLEY, N.H. - With a pair of third-place finishes in the giant slalom on Sunday at Waterville Valley, the Plymouth State University ski racing teams qualified for the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association's National Championships in March.

The Panther men, who finished second in the slalom on Saturday, brought home a third-place finish in the giant slalom on Sunday at the Eastern Regional Championships, and putting PSU in a tie for second with Colby-Sawyer College in the combined alpine team standings.  The Panther women, who were fourth in the slalom on Saturday, placed third in the GS on Sunday and completed the weekend with a fourth place in the combined.  Both PSU teams advance to the USCSA's Nationals on Mar. 9-12 at McCall, Idaho.

The top five men's and top five women's teams among the 15 schools that competed at the Regionals advance to the nationals.  The team standings at the Regionals are calculated by adding the combined times of the top three of each team's five racers.  The University of Massachusetts won the men's combined, with PSU and Colby-Sawyer tied for second and Babson and Boston College tied for fourth.  UMass also won the women's combined, with Boston College second, Brown third, PSU fourth, and Colby-Sawyer fifth.

Freshman Melissa Caflisch (Clymer, N.Y.) continued her outstanding rookie season Sunday.  She followed Saturday's regional championship in the slalom with a third place among 74 skiers in the GS, and finishing in a tie for first in the overall individual combined.  Caflisch finished in first place in five of the 12 races she's skied this season, against an average field of 68-70 racers, and placed in the top three in four others. Caflisch is the first PSU woman to win the Eastern Regional individual combined alpine title since Anda Curuta in 2001.

Panther freshman Kara Marvelli (Franconia, N.H.) registered a strong ninth place in the GS on Sunday, and combined with her 18th in the slalom, placed 12th in the overall.  Junior Chantelle Heroux (Cooperstown, N.Y.) fell in the GS but still finished 21st in the overall based on her 15th in the slalom.  Junior Kelsey Real (Lanesboro, Mass.) placed 18th in the GS and finished 26th in the combined.

The PSU men's team overcame falls in the GS by two of its top skiers-- sophomore Topher Harlow (North Conway, N.H.) and senior Tyler Barlow (South Burlington, Vt.).  The other three Panther racers all came through with strong runs to preserve third place, as senior Chad Demetry (Francestown, N.H.) finished sixth in the field of 82, junior Matt Prendergast (Westminster, Mass.) was ninth, and junior Skip Bartlett (Silver Lake, N.H.) came in 12th.

Freshman Jason Hey (Northboro, Mass.), who placed third in the slalom on Saturday, was PSU's top skier in the individual combined men's alpine rankings with a sixth place.  The Panthers had six skiers finish in the top 22 among the 85 entries, as Demetry was eighth, Bartlett 11th, Harlow 15th, Prendergast 18th, and Barlow 22nd.

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