With the NCAA Championships looming, it is crunch time for the UNH ski team. But the stress of the national meet hasn’t fazed the team, which once again finished with a strong third place showing at this weekend’s Williams Carnival. The ‘Cats tallied 720 points throughout the meet, with 197 of those points coming during Friday’s alpine events at Jiminy Peak.
UNH established itself on the slopes Friday afternoon. Sophomore Lisa Wedsjö continued to pace the ‘Cats, finishing in eighth place in the Giant Slalom. She’s been one of the conference’s top skiers in the event all season.
On the men’s side, Bryan Cookson brought home ninth place in the GS. The alpine performances helped UNH build a lead over many of the opposing teams.
This is Cookson’s second time as the Wildcat’s top alpine performer this season. Prior to the Williams Carnival, his last top finish was a tie for seventh place in the slalom event at the Vermont Carnival at the end of January.
UNH head coach Corey Schwartz said the team has been putting in the hard work to take the next step forward in the season.
“To push forward to the top ranks, we have to focus on training well as a team,” Schwartz said, crediting the tough competition UNH has faced all season long. “Staying healthy is key and conditions have been great so it is important to capitalize on that.”
On Saturday, 161 miles north of the alpine team, the Nordic events began at the Ski Jump Venue in Lake Placid, New York.
California native Katrin Larusson propelled the Wildcats forward as she finished in fourth place in the women’s 5-kilometer pursuit.
Larusson’s strong finish helped the Wildcats cement themselves at third place to finish at the carnival, but her placement also matched her season best. She was also the fourth place finisher at last weekend’s races.
In the slalom, Lauren Teschner once again came through for the ‘Cats. Her performance marked a fifth consecutive week of finishing in the Top-10 for slalom, as she finished seventh.
The Wildcats have finished in third place in all five of this season’s carnivals. The season will come to a close at the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) Championships. The championships will be hosted by Middlebury College and run on Feb. 26 and Feb. 27. The Middlebury Snow Bowl will be home to the alpine races, while Nordic events are slated for the Rikert Touring Center.
“It is an emotional time for our seniors,” Coach Schwartz added. “The championships are closing in. It’s been a fast season. I mean, hey, we only get to do this when there’s snow on the ground.”
The Wildcats’ consistency and strong performances have bred a quiet optimism for what this team can accomplish when the stakes are ramped up for nationals on March 9. The four day meet will take place at Steamboat Springs and Howelsen Hill and will be hosted by Colorado.