NEWRY, Maine/RUMFORD, Maine - The Saint Michael's College Alpine and Nordic skiing teams finished their regular seasons on Saturday by placing ninth among 18 schools at the Bates College Carnival. The Purple Knights totaled 339 points to trail eighth-place Saint Lawrence University by 57 at a meet that tripled as also the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) Championship and the NCAA East Regional Championship.
Two members of the Alpine programs took home postseason honors, including as sophomore Guillaume Grand (La Plagne, France/Lycée Général Ferrié) landed an EISA All-East second team position for the second consecutive year. Since Saint Michael's joined the highest level of EISA competition upon the Division I and II leagues merging in 1993-94, Grand is the program's only student-athlete to earn EISA All-East multiple times, and one of just three skiers to corral the accolade even once. Head coach Gus MacLeod '02 was named EISA Alpine Coach of the Year, becoming the second skiing coach in College history to land a conference's top coaching honor. Ben McDivitt earned EISA Division II Coach of Year nods in 1982 and 1983. MacLeod's charges podiumed four times while claiming 16 top-10 individual showings. His men won the slalom at the University of Vermont Carnival.
The Bates Carnival Alpine races occurred at Sunday River, while the Nordic events were at Black Mountain. Dartmouth College won with 896 points. For the weekend, the Purple Knight Alpine squads combined to place sixth with 254 points, just five short of Colby College. They also combined to take sixth on Saturday with 118 points, just one shy of Colby. The Alpine women tied Middlebury College for fourth in Saturday's slalom (78), putting five finishers among the top 30 for the first time in the modern era of the EISA.
The women's Alpine squad was paced by first-year Emilia Laffin (Chamonix, France/Lycée du Mont-Blanc René Dayve), who tied for 11th with a two-run combined time of 1:55.01 during the slalom. That career-high placement left her 0.28 seconds out of the top nine, as she improved from 21st place following her opening run. Junior Meggane Grand (La Plagne, France/Lycée des métiers Ambroise Croizat) was 19th in 1:57.38, and first-year Megan Dingman (Park City, Utah/Rowland Hall) captured a career-high 20th at 1:58.04. Grand finished among the top 20 for the eighth time this year.
First-year Anna Willassen (Jar, Norway/Persbråten VGS) narrowly trailed Dingman, taking 22nd in 1:58.26, and senior Nicole Cordingley (Litchfield, N.H./Campbell) capped her career by placing 26th at 2:05.46. Classmate Abigail Hotatling (Fabius, N.Y./Fabius-Pompey) also closed out her career on Saturday.
First-year Zach Bouchard (Merrimac, Mass./Gould Academy) was 17th in the slalom at 1:55.72, recording his third top-20 finish of the year while coming within 0.25 seconds of 15th place. Sophomore Danny Duffy (Warren, Vt./Green Mountain Valley School) placed 33rd in 2:09.18, and first-year Colby Jordan (Charlotte, Vt./Mount Mansfield Winter Academy) took 44th at 2:30.68.
With the regular season complete, qualifiers for the NCAA Championship head to New Hampshire on March 8-11, with Alpine events held at Cannon Mountain Ski Area. An official list of competitors will be announced this week, as MacLeod expects Guillaume Grand, Willassen and junior Mathias Grimsrud (Stabekk, Norway/Donski Alpine) to all make the cut.
In the men's Nordic mass-start 20K freestyle, sophomore Liam Schmelzle (Saint Louis Park, Minn./Saint Louis Park) led the Purple Knights with a 37th-place finish at 56:00.0, while senior Torin La Liberte (Madison, N.H./Kennett) finished off a four-year, two-sport career at 42nd in 56:44.3. First-year Mitch McDonald (Prior Lake, Minn./Prior Lake) was 58th in 1:01:02.8.
During the women's mass-start 15K freestyle, sophomore Amy Duclos (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa) claimed 56th in 55:52.5, while junior Emma Barnes (Amherst, Wis./Amherst) took 58th at 56:43.5. Three seniors closed out two-sport careers, with senior Julia Snyder (Fairfax, Vt./BFA-Fairfax) rounding out the Purple Knights' top three in 59th place at 57:27.6. Catie Corrigan (Canajoharie, N.Y./Canajoharie Central School) was 61st, and Hallie Bergwall (Lebanon, N.H./Lebanon) followed in 62nd.