PSU Ski Teams record strong finishes in GS and Combined at Eastern Regionals

WATERVILLE VALLEY, N.H. - The Plymouth State University ski racing teams qualified for the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association's National Championships Sunday by finishing in the top five in both the giant slalom and combined at the Eastern Regional Championships at Waterville Valley.

The PSU men's team, which had won the slalom on Saturday, took fourth place in the GS on Sunday and finished second out of 16 schools in the combined alpine team standings. The PSU women, who placed fourth in the slalom on Saturday, brought home fifth in Sunday's GS and finished in a tie for fourth place in the combined women's standings.

Colby-Sawyer College finished off a strong weekend, winning both the men's and women's GS races on Sunday. Boston College, the University of Massachusetts, PSU and Clarkson were the next four schools out of the 16 men's teams, and Brown University, BC, Smith, and PSU rounded out the top five in the women's scoring.

PSU finished runner-up to Colby-Sawyer for the men's combined team title, with UMass and Boston College tying for third and Clarkson placing fifth. There was a three-way deadlock between Colby-Sawyer, Brown and BC for the women's team winner, with Smith and PSU in a tie for fourth place. The top five men's and women's teams advance to the USCSA Nationals on Mar. 7-10 at Winter Park, Colo.

The Panther men had four racers in the top 20 in Sunday's GS, which included more than 80 skiers. Junior Jason Hey (Northboro, Mass.) was the top finisher in seventh place, sophomore Josh Bedard (Laconia, N.H.) came in 11th, and junior Vinnie DiNapoli (Ludlow, Vt.) and senior Matt Prendergast (Westminster, Mass.) were 19th and 20th, respectively. Freshman Owen Carey-Hatch (Gilford, N.H.) did not finish.

DiNapoli, who won Saturday's slalom, finished second in the individual combined, while Hey, who was third in the slalom, took fourth in the combined. Bedard ended up eighth, while Prendergast placed 18th and sophomore Seth Bartlett (Silver Lake, N.H.) was 32nd.

PSU was shut out of the top 10 of the women's GS, but had three in the top 20 (out of 82 racers). Junior Melissa Caflisch (Clymer, N.Y./Northwood School) was the first Panther across the line, placing 11th, while junior Kara Marvelli (Franconia, N.H.) and sophomore Katie Van Riper (Carabasset Valley, Maine) were 18th and 20th, respectively. Freshman Alyssa Deane (Casper, Wyo.) placed 28th, and freshman Shelley Bowen (Gilford, N.H.) did not finish.

Caflisch placed fourth for PSU in the women's combined, her third straight year in the top five individually. Marvelli ended up 19th, while Dean finished 22nd and Van Riper 28th.

The Panthers teams both qualified for the national championships for the 19th time in 20 years under head coach Kim Bownes. The men's squad tied for eighth at last year's nationals, and the women tied for 11th.

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