Alpine skiing sends school-record three qualifiers to upcoming NCAA Championship

Alpine skiing sends school-record three qualifiers to upcoming NCAA Championship

2016 NCAA Championship Alpine Skiing Schedule

Wednesday, March 9
11 a.m. - Men's GS 1st Run
11:45 a.m. - Women's GS 1st Run
1:30 p.m. - Men's GS 2nd Run
2:15 p.m. - Women's GS 2nd Run

Friday, March 11
8:30 p.m. - Women's SL 1st Run
9:15 p.m. - Men's SL 1st Run
11 p.m. - Women's SL 2nd Run
11:30 p.m. - Men's SL 2nd Run

COLCHESTER, Vt. - A school-record three Saint Michael's College skiers have qualified for the NCAA Championship, it was announced on Tuesday, as the trio of Alpine racers will take part in an event that involves student-athletes from Division I, II and III. Sophomore Meggane Grand (La Plagne, France/Lycée des métiers Ambroise Croizat) and first-years Guillaume Grand (La Plagne, France/Lycée Général Ferrié) and Torjus Grimsrud (Stabekk, Norway/Donski Alpine) make their NCAA debuts on March 9 in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

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. Due to warm temperatures, the schedule has been altered since the initial announcement of the field. On Wednesday, the men's giant slalom begins at 11 a.m. Eastern time on Mount Werner at the Steamboat Ski Resort before the women's competition starts at 11:45 a.m. Skiers return for the slalom on Friday at Howelsen Hill Ski Area, as the women start at 8:30 p.m. and the men at 9:15 p.m.

Meggane Grand becomes the sixth Purple Knight female to qualify for the NCAA Championship, but just the third Alpine skier, and the first since Megan McCarthy '05 in 2002. Grand was the team's top finisher nine times this winter, cracking the top 20 seven times, including posting a season-high seventh-place performance in the slalom at the Colby College Carnival. Her best giant slalom finish was 14th during the University of Vermont Carnival. Kara Woods '89 is the only other Saint Michael's women's Alpine skier to appear at nationals, in 1988.

Guillaume Grand, Meggane's older brother, and Grimsrud become the fifth and sixth first-years in program history to make NCAAs, as six of the seven Saint Michael's male skiers to qualify for nationals have now been Alpine representatives. Grand paced the Purple Knights 11 times in 12 races, finishing among the top 10 every time. He reached the podium with a season-best second-place showing in the Bates College Carnival slalom while reaching fourth in the GS twice, at Colby and this past weekend's Middlebury College Carnival, when he earned an All-Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) second team laurel during the EISA Championship.

Grimsrud was in the top 20 three times, all during slalom races, including taking sixth in his college debut at the Bates Carnival. His qualification gives Saint Michael's representation at the NCAA Championship by a Norwegian for the fourth time in five years, after Fredrik Sandell '15 qualified three times.

Multiple skiers had represented Saint Michael's at the same NCAA Championship only twice before, when one Alpine and one Nordic competitor apiece took part in the 1998 and 1999 meets, but neither discipline had ever sent multiple racers to the same national meet. The 1999 championship also marked the only time multiple skiers of the same gender had qualified. Five of the 13 qualifiers in program history have now come during Gus MacLeod's '02 tenure as Alpine head coach, with those five accounting for seven qualifications.

The NCAA Championship will be webcast live on Complete multimedia links will be available here.