Jamie Bender '17 returns to the Alpine skiing program for his fourth season as an assistant coach for the 2020 season.
While extending its program record to eight consecutive seasons with at least one NCAA Championship qualifier, Saint Michael's Alpine skiing sent a record five competitors to the national meet in 2018-19, matching crosstown national heavyweight University of Vermont: Guillaume Grand '19, Colby Jordan '20, Emilia Laffin '20, Anna Willassen '20 and Ben Throm '22. Grand finished out his career with his third All-America finish, recording his 44th and final top-10 placement in 56 starts. His fourth-place showing was the best ever by a Purple Knight at NCAAs, and landed him on the All-America first team. As a team, the Purple Knights were 13th out of 24 schools with 72 points, just shy of school records set the previous year. Members of the program cracked the top 20 on 43 occasions during the season, with Grand, Jordan and Throm all finishing among the top eight in the men's giant slalom victory at the season-opening Saint Lawrence University Carnival. Grand podiumed five times and Throm once, as the Purple Knights scored enough points to place among the top five in 12 events. The men were also third out of 14 schools during the slalom at the NCAA Championship. Five Purple Knights later competed in the prestigious U.S. Alpine Tech Championship.
Alpine skiing sent four competitors to the NCAA Championship in 2017-18: Grand, Willassen, Danny Duffy '18 and Meggane Grand '18. Thanks single-handedly to the Alpine squad, Purple Knight skiing finished a program-best 12th at NCAAs, besting the 1988 team's mark by one spot, while scoring a record 73 points. Between Alpine and Nordic, Saint Michael's took seventh at the EISA Championship, its best since the league's modern era began in 1993-94. Four more skiers - three men and one woman - narrowly missed the cut for NCAAs, as Purple Knights scored NCAA points 73 times and cracked the top 20 on 48 occasions during the season. Guillaume Grand and Willassen podiumed once apiece, as MacLeod's teams scored enough points to place among the top five in 18 events.
Saint Michael's sent three Alpine skiers to the national meet in 2016-17: Guillaume Grand, Willassen and Mathias Grimsrud '18. Grand was among the top 16 in both events, and he repeated as an All-America finisher by taking 10th place in the slalom. Grimsrud was 15th in the same event, finishing 0.79 seconds short of Grand. The Purple Knight trio single-handedly pushed Saint Michael's to a 15th-place showing, matching the previous year's team for the Purple and Gold's top performance at NCAAs since 1988. Three others - one man and two women - narrowly missed the cut for NCAAs, as Saint Michael's skiers scored NCAA points 74 times and cracked the top 20 on 47 occasions during the season. Grand put in three straight podium performances in the slalom to begin the season, and Willassen podiumed in the GS during the UVM Carnival, becoming the first female Purple Knight to do so in the modern era of the EISA. Between the Alpine and Nordic squads, Saint Michael's extended its streak to 16 consecutive carnival finishes of ninth place or better, including three straight seventh-place showings mid-season. The Purple Knights had never placed as high during the EISA's modern era. Saint Michael's scored enough points to place among the top five in 14 events, including as the men won the slalom portion of the UVM Carnival.
Bender is also in his sixth year coaching with the Smugglers' Notch Ski & Snowboard Club, having spent his first two seasons as an 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 completed degrees in political science and philosophy in the pre-law track in May 2017, having served as an assistant coach while still a college senior. In fall 2016, Bender was a student intern in the Athletic Department, focusing on NCAA Compliance.