In back-to-back carnivals for the EISA circuit, University of Vermont (UVM) climbed the podium once again to capture the EISA overall team ranking heading into NCAA Championships.
In a double-header slalom race at Proctor Ski Area in New Hampshire, Plymouth State University (PSU) made their appearance on the EISA circuit during a head-to-head battle between UVM and University of New Hampshire (UNH). In a series of four races, UVM grabbed each individual win from four different athletes.
Editor’s note: This reporting covers the collegiate results, not the FIS results. We have excluded independent athletes that competed and are focusing on the EISA results.
Saturday – The Ladies
The ladies kicked off the slalom series on Saturday, Feb. 27., with UVM’s first-year racer Justine Clement taking her second collegiate win just two days after her first gold in GS. Clement opened the first race just barely edging out PSU athlete Mathilde Nelles, who was trailing Clement by 0.04 after the first run. The second run resulted in a tie between the two, with Clements sneaking ahead to the top spot.
Nelles is PSU’s newest recruit, a previous member of the Belgium national team. Nelles has produced a dominating season, earning her fourth slalom win of the season. Just behind Nelles on the collegiate podium was UVM senior Francesca English, a familiar face to the EISA podium. English gathered her first NCAA All-American status in her first year of collegiate racing, and has battled the EISA circuit to achieve podiums in both GS and slalom in her four years at UVM. English was accompanied by Clement and three additional UVM skiers in the top ten to lead the team standings. While just off the podium with a top fourth place finish in the morning race, UNH had an impressive three skiers in the top 10 in a tight finish.
In the afternoon race, Nelles came determined to make her mark and take another slalom victory. Unfortunately the second run caused her trouble, and she earned a DNF. Francesca English made her mark on the day, dominating both first- and second-run times to take another collegiate win. Behind English was teammate Clement, followed by UNH skier Fanny Cathrine Sanderberg. Sanderberg, the junior from Norway, has risen to the slalom podium this year and has yet to grab a university win. Once again, UVM took an impressive five spots in the top 10, followed by UNH taking another four. Boston College (BC) and St. Lawrence University (SLU) rounded out the top 15.
Sunday – The Gents
It was a repeat story on Sunday for UVM with another two athletes taking each race win and sweeping the remainder podium positions. In the first race, 21-year-old Mathias Tefre out-skied teammates Declan McCormack and Raphael Quenneville to capture his second collegiate win of the season. Tefre had a dominating second run that moved him into the top position ahead of his fellow Catamounts. McCormack earned his first podium of his collegiate career in second, followed by Quenneville in third. Outside the podium, UNH stacked four athletes in the top 10.
In the second race the trifecta of UVM men took to the podium again, this time McCormack taking the top spot and earning his first collegiate win. McCormack met his match in the first run with teammate Tefre, who tied for the third fastest time. In the second run, McCormack laid down a solid run to capture the win. Rounding out the podium for a second time was Quenneville. Just off the podium in fourth was Hunter Watson from PSU, just .10 behind Quenneville. UVM took four of the top ten spots while UNH dominated with five in the top 10. Ultimately, UVM’s podium sweep and four slalom wins gave them the team advantage and overall lead in the series.
Next up is NCAA championships hosted by UNH March 10-13. It will be the sixth time UNH will host the championships. The teams from the east and west will meet to compete for one final team score to determine who takes home the championship title.