WATERVILLE VALLEY, N.H. - Two weeks after sending five competitors to the NCAA Championship for the first time, the Saint Michael's College Alpine skiing team was represented by five student-athletes at the prestigious Toyota U.S. Alpine Tech Championships this week at Waterville Valley Resort.
Senior Guillaume Grand (La Plagne, France/Lycée Général Ferrié), juniors Colby Jordan (Charlotte, Vt./Mount Mansfield Winter Academy), Erin Spence (Aspen, Colo./Aspen) and Anna Willassen (Jar, Norway/Persbråten VGS), and first-year Ben Throm (Aspen, Colo./Aspen) all represented the Purple and Gold at the meet, qualifying thanks in part to the points they each accrued during races this past winter.
According to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA), the U.S. Championships are a vital part of the USSA's national development program, pitting top club athletes from regional teams against U.S. Ski Team veterans from the International Ski Federation (FIS) Ski World Cup tour. As an FIS-sanctioned event, it is also open to foreign skiers.
During Sunday's men's slalom, Grand tied for 14th after starting 23rd, clocking in with a two-run time of 1:46.77 to come within 0.41 seconds of the top 10. Throm, who started 53rd, took 34th at 1:49.94, while Jordan placed 64th out of 95 starters in 2:06.83 while wearing the No. 73 bib.
Monday's women's giant slalom featured Willassen starting 22nd and Spence in 40th. They were among 25 competitors who did not finish in a field of 77 starters, though head coach Gus MacLeod '02 noted both had good splits in their opening trek down the mountain prior to not finishing.
The men returned to the hill on Tuesday for the GS, which Grand highlighted by placing ninth out of 97 starters in 2:18.51 as the 10th starter. Wearing bib No. 34, Jordan took 29th at 2:21.35, while Throm, the 30th starter, claimed 31st in 2:21.62.
The only All-America skier in College history, Grand finished fourth in the slalom at this year's NCAA Championship to claim an All-America first team nod. Throm took 19th in the slalom and 24th in the GS during his initial national meet, while Jordan claimed 21st in the slalom in his NCAA debut. Willassen twice placed among the top 30 during her third NCAA Championship, while Spence, who was not among the quintet of the Purple Knights' NCAA qualifiers, turned in five top-20 showings for Saint Michael's this season.