STOWE, Vt. - By virtue of three individuals placing among the top six during the slalom, the Saint Michael's College men's Alpine skiing team won its portion of the University of Vermont Carnival on Saturday. That feat, as well as the Alpine and Nordic squads combining for seventh place at the carnival's conclusion, is believed to be a program first since the Purple Knights joined the highest level of Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) competition in 1993-94, when the Division I and Division II leagues merged.
As a school, Saint Michael's totaled 466 points in a 16-school field to comfortably outdistance eighth-place Bates College (390). Dartmouth College won the overall title with 923 points during a carnival where Alpine races occurred at Stowe Mountain Resort while Nordic events were at Trapp Family Lodge. The Purple and Gold men's Alpine team registered 123 points to win its discipline, creating a 19-point chasm over runner-up Dartmouth (104).
The women's Alpine team was fourth at 72, while the Alpine programs combined to take second place on Saturday with 195 points, trailing only the Big Green (239). For the carnival, Saint Michael's Alpine also claimed second place (384), besting host UVM (379) and coming within 66 points of Dartmouth.
For the third consecutive carnival, sophomore Guillaume Grand (La Plagne, France/Lycée Général Ferrié) took second place in the slalom, clocking in at 1:55.08 between a pair of runs to trail the winner by 0.38 seconds. Grand, who had led after a 53.38 opening run, earned his fourth career podium finish, necessitating placing among the top three. He has placed among the top 10 19 times in 20 career starts, including all 18 EISA races.
Junior Mathias Grimsrud (Stabekk, Norway/Donski Alpine) was fifth in 1:56.54, moving up from ninth place following his opening run of the day and coming within 0.25 seconds of the podium. Sophomore Danny Duffy (Warren, Vt./Green Mountain Valley School) took sixth at 1:57.96 after standing 13th due to his first trek. Both skiers claimed career-high placements and their second career top-10 showings. First-year Zach Bouchard (Merrimac, Mass./Gould Academy) also placed among the top 30 to earn NCAA points, taking 27th in 2:01.89 to move up from 34th. Sophomore Torjus Grimsrud (Stabekk, Norway/Donski Alpine) was 42nd in 2:13.98, and senior Cam Furrer (Wolcott, Vt./Mount Mansfield Winter Academy) was 44th at 2:16.05.
First-year Anna Willassen (Jar, Norway/Persbråten VGS), who on Friday became the College's first Alpine woman to podium in the modern era of the EISA, took 14th in the slalom at 2:02.22, a career-best placement in the event by nine positions. Junior Meggane Grand (La Plagne, France/Lycée des métiers Ambroise Croizat) was 17th in 2:02.73, moving from 25th after her first run thanks to the seventh-fastest second trek. First-year Megan Ahearn (Ringwood, N.J./Immaculate Heart Academy) nabbed 20th in 2:04.32, and senior Nicole Cordingley (Litchfield, N.H./Campbell) also tallied NCAA points by taking 25th at 2:12.23 for the top slalom placement of her career.
During the men's 10K classic, senior Torin La Liberte (Madison, N.H./Kennett) led the Nordic contingent by placing 45th at 32:34.7. Sophomore Liam Schmelzle (Saint Louis Park, Minn./Saint Louis Park) was 53rd in 32:52.3, and classmate Aaron Deeter (Truckee, Calif./Tahoe Truckee) placed 62nd at 34:21.6.
In the women's 10K classic, sophomore Amy Duclos (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenedehowa) was 55th in 39:30.6, and junior Emma Barnes (Amherst, Wis./Amherst) nabbed 57th at 39:51.3. First-year Aimee Sala (Carrabassett Valley, Maine/Kents Hill School) took 64th in 43:15.9.
The Purple Knights head to the two-day Dartmouth College Carnival next weekend, which begins on Friday at 9 a.m.