PSU Skiers off to strong start at Eastern Regional Championships

WATERVILLE VALLEY, N.H. - The Plymouth State University ski racing teams used their home course advantage to their favor Saturday, faring well in the slalom races at the Eastern Regional Championships at Waterville Valley Ski Resort.

The Panther men's squad captured first place among the 16 men's schools, while the Panther women placed fourth among 16 women's teams. The top four teams in both the men's and women's standings came from PSU's regular season circuit, the MacConnell Division. PSU won the men's race, followed by Colby-Sawyer College, the University of Massachusetts and Boston College; and BC took the women's event, followed by Brown University, Colby-Sawyer and Plymouth State.

The championships continue on Sunday with giant slalom races at Waterville Valley, with the top five men's and women's teams in the combined alpine advancing to the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association's National Championships on Mar. 7-10 at Winter Park, Colo.

PSU was strong and deep in the men's slalom on Saturday, with all five skiers finishing in the top 25 among the 82 racers. Junior Vinnie DiNapoli (Ludlow, Vt.) (right) took top honors for the Panthers, placing first for his fourth individual victory this season. Junior Jason Hey (Northboro, Mass.) continued his strong season, placing third, and sophomore Josh Bedard (Laconia, N.H.) was not far behind in sixth place. Senior Matt Prendergast (Westminster, Mass.) and sophomore Seth Bartlett (Silver Lake, N.H.) were also strong skiers for PSU, taking 16th and 23rd, respectively.

Junior Melissa Caflisch (Clymer, N.Y./Northwood School) was the top Panther woman finisher, as she has been most of the season, with a third-place showing. Freshman Alyssa Deane (Casper, Wyo.) was the next PSU finisher, coming in 18th, while junior Kara Marvelli (Franconia, N.H.) crossed the line in 21st. Sophomore Katie Van Riper (Carabasset Valley, Maine) stumbled but recovered and finished 31st, and junior Meaghann McKenney (Hubbardston, Mass.) was disqualified.

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