HANCOCK/RIPTON, Vt. - Saint Michael's College Alpine skiing first-year Guillaume Grand (La Plagne, France/Lycée Général Ferrié) capped his initial regular season of college competition by earning an All-Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) second team accolade on Saturday, and the Purple Knight skiing squads stand eighth among 16 schools heading into Sunday's final day of the Middlebury College Carnival.
The carnival, which is also the EISA Championship and the NCAA East Regional Championship, had its two days of Alpine races contested at the Middlebury Snow Bowl, while Nordic action concludes on Sunday at Rikert Ski Touring Center. Saint Michael's has 278 points while edging out ninth-place Saint Lawrence University (276), and has never finished as high as eighth at an EISA Championship since the EISA merged its Division I and II meets for one championship in 1994.
The men's Alpine squad scored 80 points on Saturday during the giant slalom competition, the fourth-most accumulated in the discipline on the day, to come within four points of the University of New Hampshire. Grand played a major role, claiming fourth place in a two-run time of 2:02.90 to tie his best GS performance of his young career. It was also his fifth top-five showing this winter, as he placed among the top 10 in all 12 regular-season races. Since the EISA went to one championship 23 years ago, Grand became just the second Purple Knight male Alpine skier to claim an All-EISA accolade, joining Fredrik Sandell '15, who also turned the feat as a first-year, in 2012, landing on the second team.
First-year Danny Duffy (Warren, Vt./Green Mountain Valley School) placed 21st in 2:06.06, just 0.07 seconds outside the top 20, while senior Brad Farrell (West Windsor, Vt./Sharon Academy) capped a standout career by taking 23rd in his last race, as his time of 2:06.39 left him 0.40 ticks short of the top 20. One of 10 Purple Knight Alpine or Nordic skiers to ever qualify for an NCAA Championship, in 2014, Farrell accumulated 29 top-20 showings while wearing Purple and Gold, including placing in the top 10 five times.
First-year Torjus Grimsrud (Stabekk, Norway/Donski Alpine) placed 30th to claim the final NCAA point in the event, and senior Kevin Krone (Copper Mountain, Colo./Summit) also concluded his career while taking 37th.
During the women's GS, sophomore Meggane Grand (La Plagne, France/Lycée des métiers Ambroise Croizat) finished 21st in 2:12.54, while senior Nicole Cordingley (Litchfield, N.H./Campbell) was 37th in 2:18.41. Junior Abigail Hotaling (Fabius, N.Y./Fabius-Pompey) tied for 39th with a time of 2:19.23 to round out her team's scorers.
Sophomore Molly Carolan (Minneapolis, Minn./Southwest) took 42nd, while senior Willow Smith (Bradford, Vt./Oxbow) was one spot behind in the final event of her career, which included missing last year due to injury. Classmate Mary Joyce (Long Beach, N.Y./Sacred Heart Academy) also completed her career while competing in the GS. Despite being a senior, Cordingley has one year of eligibility remaining after joining Smith in being injured last winter.
The Nordic men raced two 5K loops for the 10K freestyle, as first-year Liam Schmelzle (Saint Louis Park, Minn./Saint Louis Park) was a career-best 33rd with a time of 24:04.9. Junior Torin La Liberte (Madison, N.H./Kennett) placed 36th in 24:16.5, and first-year Aaron Deeter (Truckee, Calif./Tahoe Truckee) took 58th in 25:34.3.
In the women's 5K freestyle, sophomore Emma Barnes (Amherst, Wis./Amherst) placed 49th by crossing the finish line in 14:07.8, and senior Elizabeth Cubberley (Acworth, N.H./Fall Mountain Regional) was 58th in 14:58.4. First-year Amy Duclos (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa) narrowly trailed in 60th at 15:04.8.
With the Alpine regular season complete and the EISA Nordic circuit ending tomorrow, qualifiers will be announced soon for the March 9-12 NCAA Championship in Steamboat Springs, Colo.