Saint Michael's graduate Gus MacLeod '02 returns for his seventh season as head coach of the Purple Knight men's and women's Alpine skiing programs in 2016-17.
MacLeod, whose skiers have claimed seven of the 15 NCAA Championship qualifications in program history over just the last five years alone, was promoted to head coach following one year as technical coach in 2009-10. He is responsible for all coaching duties associated with the NCAA Division II program, which competes in the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) against all of the top squads in the East, including the University of Vermont, Dartmouth College and Middlebury College.
Saint Michael's Alpine skiers qualified for their program-record fifth consecutive NCAA Championship in 2015-16, with a program-best three competitors taking part: Meggane Grand '18, Guillaume Grand '19 and Torjus Grimsrud '19. Guillaume Grand was among the top 12 in both events, with his ninth-place showing in the slalom producing the first All-America finish in the history of skiing at the College. The Purple Knight trio single-handedly pushed Saint Michael's to a 15th-place showing, the Purple and Gold's top performance at NCAAs since 1988. Two other Alpine men narrowly missed the cut for NCAAs under the tutelage of MacLeod, whose skiers scored NCAA points 51 times and cracked the top 20 on 33 occasions during the season. Between the Alpine and Nordic squads, Saint Michael's extended its streak to 10 consecutive carnival finishes of ninth place or better, including an eighth-place showing at the University of Vermont Carnival, the Purple Knights' best finish since 1999. MacLeod's men's team scored enough points to place among the top five on nine dates, including a second-place performance in the slalom portion of the Bates College Carnival. At the year-end Block 'M' Awards Banquet, MacLeod was named Purple Knight Coach of the Year for the second time in four years.
In 2014-15, MacLeod became the first coach in Saint Michael's skiing history to send student-athletes to four different NCAA Championships, as Fredrik Sandell '15 qualified for the third time. At the time, his 19th-place showing during the giant slalom was the best ever by a Purple Knight male in that event at the national meet (surpassed by Grand the next year). In late February, the Alpine and Nordic skiing teams combined to place ninth at the EISA Championship, their highest finish since 2006-07, to continue a run of four straight ninth-place showings, their best since 2008-09. MacLeod's men took top-five team scores twice, including finishing third out of 13 teams during the slalom at the EISA Championship. Purple Knight Alpine skiers placed in the top 20 on 20 occasions.
In 2013-14, MacLeod and the Purple Knights sent Brad Farrell '16 to compete at the NCAA Championship in Utah. At the time, Farrell's 19th-place showing in the slalom matched the second-best performance ever by a Purple Knight male at an NCAA Championship. MacLeod's men placed among the top five in an event twice during the winter, taking fourth in the slalom at the Williams College Carnival and fifth in the slalom at the year-end EISA Championship. Purple Knight men and women combined for 17 top-20 finishes in 2013-14.
During the winter of 2012-13, MacLeod's men's team finished among the top five in an event three times. All told, Saint Michael's men and women individually placed in a race's top 20 on 22 occasions. At season's end, Sandell qualified for his second straight NCAA Championship, with MacLeod becoming the first head coach in the history of Saint Michael's skiing - Alpine or Nordic - to have a student-athlete post four top-30 showings in a two-year span at the NCAA Championship. MacLeod was named the Athletic Department's Purple Knight Co-Coach of the Year for the 2012-13 academic year.
In 2010-11, his first season as head coach, MacLeod guided a young squad to several top 20 individual finishes in the highly-competitive EISA before seeing Sandell qualify for the NCAA Championship in 2011-12. As technical coach in 2009-10, MacLeod worked with a team that included Brad Harden '10, who qualified for the NCAA Championship for the second straight season.
MacLeod, a Vermont native, attended high school at Carrabassett Valley Academy in Maine before skiing competitively at Plymouth (N.H.) State University for two seasons. MacLeod then transferred to Saint Michael's, where he again skied competitively before earning his bachelor of science degree in business administration in 2002.
After graduating from Saint Michael's, MacLeod spent three seasons coaching at the Mount Mansfield Ski Club in Stowe, Vt. After that, he accepted a position working for the U.S. Ski Team, where he spent the four seasons prior to returning to Saint Michael's. MacLeod worked and traveled with the men's Alpine team while with the U.S. Ski Team, and spent two seasons with the men's World Cup Speed Team.
|EISA Championship||NCAA Championship||Notes|
|2011-12||10th/16||19th/21||1 NCAA Championship Qualifier - Fredrik Sandell '15
|2012-13||10th/17||20th/21||1 NCAA Championship Qualifier - Fredrik Sandell '15|
|2013-14||10th/15||19th/23||1 NCAA Championship Qualifier - Brad Farrell '16|
|2014-15||9th/15||18th/23||1 NCAA Championship Qualifier - Fredrik Sandell '15|
|2015-16||9th/16||15th/21||3 NCAA Championship Qualifiers - Meggane Grand '18, Guillaume Grand '19, Torjus Grimsrud '19
First All-America Skier in SMC History - Guillaume Grand '19
|6 Years||7 NCAA Championship Qualifiers - 5 Seasons
Jamie Bender, a senior at Saint Michael's, joins the Alpine skiing program as an assistant coach for the 2017 season. He is also a student intern in the Athletic Department, focusing on NCAA Compliance.
Bender is also in his third year coaching with the Smugglers' Notch Ski & Snowboard Club, having spent his first two seasons as a International Ski Federation (FIS) coach for skiers at the U-16, U-19 and U-21 levels.
While not having skied collegiately, Bender was a high-level youth racer, qualifying for such events as J3 Junior Olympics and J1-2 Eastern finals. After competing for the Liberty Mountain Racing Team and Ski Roundtop Racing Club in Pennsylvania, during which time he won the Pennsylvania J3 state championship as a high school freshman, Bender attended the Steamboat (Colo.) Mountain School for his final two years of secondary school, competing in FIS racing with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
Bender is pursuing degrees in political science and philosophy in the pre-law track.
A long-time college and high school skiing coach, Nick Stagers returns for his fifth season as the assistant coach of the Saint Michael's men's and women's Alpine skiing programs in 2016-17.
Saint Michael's Alpine skiers qualified for their program-record fifth consecutive NCAA Championship in 2015-16, with a program-best three competitors taking part: Meggane Grand '18, Guillaume Grand '19 and Torjus Grimsrud '19. Guillaume Grand was among the top 12 in both events, with his ninth-place showing in the slalom producing the first All-America finish in the history of skiing at the College. The Purple Knight trio single-handedly pushed Saint Michael's to a 15th-place showing, the Purple and Gold's top performance at NCAAs since 1988. Two other Alpine men narrowly missed the cut for NCAAs for the Purple and Gold, whose skiers scored NCAA points 51 times and cracked the top 20 on 33 occasions during the season. Between the Alpine and Nordic squads, Saint Michael's extended its streak to 10 consecutive carnival finishes of ninth place or better, including an eighth-place showing at the University of Vermont Carnival, the Purple Knights' best finish since 1999. The Purple Knight men's team scored enough points to place among the top five on nine dates, including a second-place performance in the slalom portion of the Bates College Carnival.
In 2014-15, Fredrik Sandell '15 qualified for the NCAA Championship for the third time. His 19th-place showing during the giant slalom was the best ever by a Purple Knight male in that event at the national meet. In late February, the Alpine and Nordic skiing teams combined to place ninth at the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) Championship, their highest finish since 2006-07, to continue a run of four straight ninth-place showings, their best since 2008-09. The men took top-five team scores twice, including finishing third out of 13 teams during the slalom at the EISA Championship. Purple Knight Alpine skiers placed in the top 20 on 20 occasions.
In 2013-14, Purple Knight men and women combined for 17 top-20 finishes, including Brad Farrell '16 claiming 19th place in the slalom at his first NCAA Championship. The Saint Michael's men placed among the top five in a pair of events.
During the winter of 2012-13, the Purple Knight men finished among the top five in an event three times. All told, Saint Michael's men and women individually placed in a race's top 20 on 22 occasions. At season's end, Sandell qualified for his second straight NCAA Championship.
Stagers served as the Alpine skiing assistant coach at Bates College for the 2006-07 season after he held the same position at Colby College during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.
Stagers' coaching experience dates back to 2002, as he has coached men's and women's junior and high school-aged skiers at Steamboat Springs (Colo.) Winter Sports Club, Carrabassett Valley (Maine) Academy and Gould (Maine) Academy.
Most recently, Stagers worked between 2010 and 2012 at the Killington Mountain School, at different times coaching men, women and juniors. He served as the head women's coach during the 2011-12 season. Stagers also worked at the Stratton Mountain School from 2007 to 2009, where he was the men's coach for a squad that competed in International Ski Federation (FIS) races. Under Stagers, Stratton was named 2009 U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) Club of the Year.
Stagers, who began his college skiing career at Saint Michael's, earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Maine at Farmington in 2004.
Molly (Enman) Peters, a former All-America and three-sport standout at Middlebury College, returns for her fifth season as the head coach of the Saint Michael's College Nordic skiing program in 2016-17. She also enters her 11th campaign as the school's women's cross country head coach during the 2016-17 school year.
In 2015-16, the Alpine and Nordic skiing teams ran their streak of top-nine finishes to 10 carnivals, including their first eighth-place showing since 1999, at the University of Vermont Carnival. Emma Barnes '18 became the first Purple Knight Nordic skier in nine years to advance to heats during a sprint event - in the Bates College Carnival 1.5K classic sprint - and is believed to be the first female ever to do so. Barnes had four top-35 finishes during the season, as Purple Knights claimed top-50 performances 28 times in individual races, including on 17 occasions among the men.
During the winter of 2014-15, Nordic skiing joined with Alpine to post four consecutive ninth-place finishes to conclude the regular season, their longest such run since 2008-09. The teams' ninth-place showing at the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) Championship was their highest since 2006-07. Fifteen Purple Knights cracked the top 50 in individual races during the season.
In the winter of 2012-13, Peters took the helm of the Nordic skiing team. The Purple Knights combined with the Alpine squad to take 10th at five meets, including the EISA Championship. Purple Knights were among the top 50 in an event nine times during the season. Saint Michael's skiers broke into the top 50 on five more occasions during the winter of 2013-14.
Since 2009, Peters has coached youths between the ages of 5 and 13 through the Bill Koch Youth Ski League. Peters has also been a Nordic ski instructor and events coordinator since 2003 at the Sleepy Hollow Inn, Ski and Bike Center on family land in Huntington. A former three-sport standout at nearby Middlebury College, Peters trained after graduation in Park City, Utah, with aspirations of qualifying for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Nordic skiing.
In women's cross country, a young team had a pair of third-place showings in 2015, during Middlebury College's Aldrich Invitational and the eight-team Vermont Intercollegiate Championship. The Purple Knights hosted the Northeast-10 Conference Championship for the first time since 2009 before five of the squad's top seven at the NCAA East Regional Championship set 6K PRs.
Peters' Purple Knights turned in the most successful season in program annals in 2014 by qualifying as a team for the NCAA Championship for the first time. The historic campaign included a third-place finish at the NCAA East Regional Championship, the highest ever at a regional meet for Saint Michael's, and a second consecutive runner-up placement at the Northeast-10 Conference Championship. The Purple Knights had last been among the top two at back-to-back league championships in 1985 and 1986, as members of the Mideast Collegiate Conference. Four seniors finished among the top 21 to claim all-league finishes, as three Purple Knights drew all-conference first team finishes for the first time since 1986. The Purple Knights' three all-conference first teamers matched the program's total from the previous 13 NE-10 Championships. During the NCAA regional meet, three Purple and Gold harriers were among the top 20, with each claiming U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Region honors. Peters, whose team also won the NE-10 Preview Meet and finished second at the Aldrich Invitational and Vermont Intercollegiate Championship, concluded the school year by being named Purple Knight Coach of the Year for the second time.
Peters' Purple Knights put together one of the best seasons in program history during the fall of 2013. Their second-place showing at the NE-10 Championship was their best in 27 years as a member of the league, and stood as the Purple and Gold's best conference championship performance since winning the Mideast Collegiate Conference in 1986. At the NCAA East Regional Championship, Saint Michael's claimed fourth place, the best showing in program annals, and trailed the final NCAA Championship qualifier by just eight points. Chloe Boutelle '15 placed seventh at the regional meet, becoming the first Purple Knight female to qualify for an NCAA Championship. She ultimately took 86th among 244 runners on Nov. 23. Earlier in the season, the Purple Knights also won a pair of meets, earning their first Vermont Intercollegiate Championship crown on Sept. 28 before topping the field at the Green Mountain College Invitational on Oct. 19.
The fall of 2012 was capped by the Purple and Gold placing 10th at the 28-team NCAA East Regional Championship, the squad's best showing at regionals since 2007. Peters' Purple Knights were among the top three teams at four meets during the season, including runner-up finishes at Middlebury College's Aldrich Invitational and the Vermont Intercollegiate Championship.
In 2011, the Purple Knights grabbed a third-place finish at the NE-10 Championship after league coaches predicted a 13th-place showing for the team. The team's third-place showing at the league meet tied the school record at that point, and was the program's best since 1993. Peters was later named Purple Knight Coach of the Year.
During her first two seasons, Peters guided the Purple Knights to eighth-place finishes at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships, in 2006 and 2007. In 2008, the program had its first-ever individual champion at the Vermont Intercollegiate Championship, a field that includes elite programs such as the University of Vermont and Middlebury, a feat repeated in 2011. Peters' 2010 and 2011 squads placed second at the state meet.
Peters was an assistant coach at Middlebury from 1997 to 2001 for cross country and track & field, training Division III All-America and national champion cross country runners. On the track, Peters was the distance events coach. In 2002, she headed the men's and women's cross country programs at Division III University of Redlands (Calif.) before returning east to coach at Burlington High School from 2003 to 2008. Peters served as a cross country assistant coach while working with the sprinters and hurdlers on the track & field squads.
A 1997 graduate of Middlebury, Peters earned a degree in biology while competing in cross country, Nordic skiing and outdoor track & field. She qualified for the NCAA Division III Championship in cross country as a senior; competed in three NCAA skiing championships, earning an All-America finish her senior year; and took All-America honors in the 1,500-meter run in outdoor track & field as a senior, placing sixth in the event at the NCAA Championship.
|Title:||Nordic Assistant Coach|
|Year:||Saint Olaf '16|