Six Alpine skiers place in top 30, Purple Knights open season at Saint Lawrence

Six Alpine skiers place in top 30, Purple Knights open season at Saint Lawrence

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - Six Saint Michael's College Alpine skiers earned top-30 finishes on Friday during the Alpine and Nordic skiing teams' season opener at the Saint Lawrence University Carnival. As a school, the Purple Knights are ninth among 16 teams with 160 points, just 18 short of the eighth-place hosts. The two-day event, which has its Alpine events at Whiteface Mountain and the Nordic races at Mount Van Hoevenberg, concludes on Saturday, with action beginning at 9:30 a.m.

The women's squad was fifth out of 13 teams thanks to placing four individuals in the top 30, a feat the team last pulled during the 2002 Middlebury College Carnival/Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) Championship slalom. By finishing among the top 30, all four Purple Knights earned NCAA points.

Junior Meggane Grand (La Plagne, France/Lycée des métiers Ambroise Croizat) paced the Purple Knights by taking 14th in a combined two-run time of 2:16.25, turning in nearly identical treks of 1:08.11 and 1:08.14. The placement matched her career best in a GS. First-year Anna Willassen (Jar, Norway/Persbråten VGS) was 16th in 2:16.42 during her college debut, and classmate Megan Ahearn (Ringwood, N.J./Immaculate Heart Academy) took 27th at 2:17.91. Her improvement of 1.43 seconds between runs was the second best in the event. In her return from a season-ending injury after three carnivals last season, junior Ella Dorval Hall (Newburyport, Mass./Gould Academy) placed 28th in 2:18.12.

On the men's side, sophomore Guillaume Grand (La Plagne, France/Lycée Général Ferrié) nabbed sixth place in 2:07.40 while claiming the 14th top-10 finish in 15 starts during his young career. In his previous outing wearing Purple and Gold, at last March's NCAA Championship, Grand became the first All-America skier in College history during the slalom. Sophomore Torjus Grimsrud (Stabekk, Norway/Donski Alpine) placed 27th with a time of 2:10.88 as the only other male Purple Knight to complete two runs.

In the women's classic sprint, junior Emma Barnes (Amherst, Wis./Amherst) kicked off the campaign with a 38th-place finish among collegians, clocking in at 3:53.35. Sophomore Amy Duclos (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa) placed 70th at 4:06.33, and first-year Aimee Sala (Carrabassett Valley, Maine/Kents Hill School) debuted in 76th with a time of 4:08.57.

On the men's side, sophomore Aaron Deeter (Truckee, Calif./Tahoe Truckee) notched a 73rd-place showing in the classic sprint in 3:20.94, edging out classmate Liam Schmelzle (Saint Louis Park, Minn./Saint Louis Park), who was 74th at 3:21.08. Senior Torin La Liberte (Madison, N.H./Kennett) took 84th in 3:23.85.