NEWRY, Maine/WATERVILLE, Maine - Thanks in part to four Alpine skiers finishing among the top 12 in slalom races on Saturday, the Saint Michael's College Alpine and Nordic skiing teams joined to finish ninth out of 17 institutions when the two-day Bates College Carnival came to an end. First-year Guillaume Grand (La Plagne, France/Lycée Général Ferrié) highlighted the day by placing second in the slalom.
The Purple Knights scored 308 points to come within 20 of eighth-place Saint Lawrence University, as Saint Michael's neared eighth for the first time since the 1999 Williams College Carnival. The men's Alpine squad scored second-place points by putting three in the top 12, claiming 112 points to fall just eight shy of the University of Vermont. UVM won the overall carnival with 951 points. Alpine events took place at Sunday River, while the Nordic portion of the meet was contested at Quarry Road Recreation Area.
Grand wrapped up a historic debut weekend with his second-place performance among 36 slalom finishers, clocking in at 1:51.50 between a pair of runs and coming within 0.86 seconds of the winner. Grand's finish was the best by a Purple Knight since Fredrik Sandell '15 nabbed second during the 2012 Williams Carnival giant slalom. Grand, who improved from sixth following his first run, also took seventh in Friday's GS, becoming the first Purple and Gold skier to place in the top 10 during both events at a carnival since Sandell at that Williams meet four years ago. Sandell was also the last Purple Knight to debut with such success, also posting two top-10 showings at the 2012 Bates Carnival.
First-year Torjus Grimsrud (Stabekk, Norway/Donski Alpine) neared podium status by taking sixth with a time of 1:52.52, leaving him 0.01 seconds outside the top five and 0.48 from the third-place skier. Sophomore Mathias Grimsrud (Stabekk, Norway/Donski Alpine), his older brother, claimed 12th place at 1:53.27, finishing the first full event of his career after missing last season due to injury. He was within 0.49 seconds of the top 10. First-year Danny Duffy (Warren, Vt./Green Mountain Valley School) also earned his first collegiate placement, taking 21st at 1:55.70 to fall 0.18 ticks shy of the top 20.
Five Purple Knight women qualified for a second slalom run on Saturday, with sophomore Meggane Grand (La Plagne, France/Lycée des métiers Ambroise Croizat), Guillaume's younger sister, capturing a career-best 11th-place finish. Her time of 2:04.95 was only 0.19 seconds outside the top 10, and her placement was the best by a Purple Knight since Gabbi Hall '13 nabbed 11th in the 2012 UVM Carnival GS. Sophomore Molly Van Deursen (North Conway, N.H./Kennett) finished 45th in 2:59.17.
Junior Torin La Liberte (Madison, N.H./Kennett) and first-year Liam Schmelzle (Saint Louis Park, Minn./Saint Louis Park) took 45th and 46th, respectively, during the 10K freestyle, with the former at 24:23.4 and the latter 24:26.0. The duo gave the men's Nordic squad a pair of top-50 finishers in an event for the first time since the 2012 Williams Carnival 10K classic, when Robert Sitzer '12 and Colin Delaney '13 turned the feat. First-year Aaron Deeter (Truckee, Calif./Tahoe Truckee) rounded out his team's scorers in 57th place with a time of 24:57.6.
Sophomore Emma Barnes (Amherst, Wis./Amherst) placed 45th in the 5K freestyle at 13:36.3, finishing among the top 50 in both carnival events for the second time in the last three meets dating back to last year. First-year Amy Duclos (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa) was 68th at 14:54.2, and senior Elizabeth Cubberley (Acworth, N.H./Fall Mountain Regional) took 75th in 15:51.5.
The teams are back in Maine next weekend for the Colby College Carnival. Alpine races run on Friday and Saturday, while the Nordic squad competes on Saturday and Sunday.