Skiing: UNH skiing preps for big weekend
With the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) season coming to an end, the UNH Nordic and Alpine ski teams are putting all their efforts into competing their best when it counts the most. The EISA consists of 15 schools from around New England, with schools representing Divisions I through III. Vermont ranks first in every category, except for men's classical nordic, a category in which it still owns the second and third-place spots.
After finishing sixth in last week's Williams Carnival (536 points) and third in the Dartmouth Carnival (710 points) on Feb. 7-8, the 'Cats are looking to hit their stride. Sophomore Eirik Fosnaes finished third in the 10k, earning the team 60 points on the day. "Our scoring puts an emphasis on top-10 finishes," Nordic head coach Cory Schwartz said. "We don't even look at [overall] times: it's all about [where one] places."
Fosnaes isn't the only successful Scandinavian on the team. Senior Per Lindgren, a native of Sweden, finished fifth in the 20k classic at the Dartmouth Carnival and has a total of six top-10 finishes in either the 10k or 20k this season. Lindgren and Fosnaes are also ranked No. 13 and No. 14, respectively, in the NCAA Nordic classical skiing rankings. In the freestyle category, Fosnaes ranks No. 14 while Lindgren sits at No. 21.
Jay Ogle leads the men's alpine team in giant slalom ranking (No. 7), followed by Coley Oliver (No. 9), Kris Hopkins (No. 13) and Geoff Bonewald (No. 19). Oliver is UNH's top-ranked slalom competitor, ranking No. 9 in the national standings. Sam Coffey holds the No. 15 spot by just two points over Hopkins (No. 16) and Ogle sits just outside the Top-20 by one point.
On the women's side, Annika Taylor is the top Nordic competitor ranking second in NCAA Freestyle rankings and sixth in Classical. Taylor missed the three Carnivals this season, as she was competing for the Great Britain in the Under-23 World Championships in Italy.
For women's alpine, UNH has three skiers in the giant slalom top-20: Laura Rozinowicz (No. 11), Katie Farrow (No. 15) and Jenna Kantor (No. 19). For women's slalom, Randa Teschner (No. 5) is the top competitor for the Wildcats, followed by Farrow in 10th, Morgan Klein in 18th and Rozinowicz rounds out the top-20 (No. 20).
"We're a unique sport: each week we combine men and women for alpine and Nordic for team scores," Schwartz said. "For them to make the National Championship, it's [based on] the individual scores."
Skiing is also unique in the way they recruit athletes to the team. The top high school skiers will compete in the Junior Championships, which are held at the same time as the NCAAs, generally within close proximity to one another to allow coaches to scout recruits.
"We don't recruit too much out of high schools ... there are specialized ski schools, such as Green Mountain Valley School ... it's a school based around racing."
Middlebury College will play host to this weekend's EISA Championships/East Regional Carnival. After a week of no competition, the University of Utah will host the NCAA championships on March 5-8.
Follow Justin Loring on Twitter @JLo_TNH
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