STOWE, Vt. - A school-record five Saint Michael's College Alpine skiers begin competition in the NCAA Championship at Stowe Mountain Resort on Thursday, with the Purple Knights standing tied for 17th among 24 schools after Wednesday's Nordic races at Trapp Family Lodge.
Senior Guillaume Grand (La Plagne, France/Lycée Général Ferrié) matched a program mark with his fourth qualification, junior Anna Willassen (Jar, Norway/Persbråten VGS) became the first Purple Knight woman to qualify three times, while classmates Colby Jordan (Charlotte, Vt./Mount Mansfield Winter Academy) and Emilia Laffin (Chamonix, France/Lycée du Mont-Blanc René Dayve) and first-year Ben Throm (Aspen, Colo./Aspen) will make their debuts.
The giant slalom races occur on Thursday and slalom is Saturday. Thursday's schedule calls for the first run of the women's GS to begin at 9 a.m. before the men start at 10 a.m. The women's second run is slated for 12 p.m., while the men are scheduled to follow an hour later.
This marks the third time in four years the Purple Knights have set a school record for qualifiers for the NCAA Championship, which involves student-athletes from Division I, II and III. With no points thus far, Saint Michael's is tied with seven other institutions, including four that had Nordic competitors on Wednesday.
Saint Michael's has the distinction of tying for the third-most Alpine qualifiers from the East, matching national power University of Vermont while sending more men (3) than the Catamounts (2). The Purple Knights sent more Alpine skiers to nationals than regional heavyweight University of New Hampshire (4), which qualified two competitors of each gender. Dartmouth College and Middlebury College were the only East programs to have a full complement of six Alpine skiers land spots in the NCAA Championship, while Saint Michael's is among just seven programs across the nation to send the maximum three male Alpine skiers to NCAAs.
Seventy-four skiers from each gender will take part in Alpine and Nordic races at the national championship, with 34 female and 34 male Alpine skiers competing, including 16 apiece from the East Region. The NCAA Championship will be webcast live, and complete multimedia links are available via SMCAthletics.com.