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Host UNH finishes day one of NCAAs

Omni Mount Washington Resort opened its doors on Sunday for registration in the 2017 NCAA Ski Championships, making this the first time since 2007 UNH has hosted the tournament. A total of 16 schools are represented at the tournament, including defending champion University of Denver. At the end of the first day, UNH sits in 11th place with 36 points, just behind Colby College and Middlebury College.

The week opened with two days of official giant slalom and nordic training sessions at Cannon Mountain and Jackson Ski Touring Center, respectively. The pre-tournament events ended Tuesday night with an NCAA championship banquet at the Omni Mt. Washington Hotel.

Wednesday morning began with another round of official nordic training at Jackson Ski Touring Center, while alpine events kicked off on a snowy Cannon Mountain with the men’s and women’s giant slalom.

For the second consecutive year, junior Chris Steinke placed in the giant slalom. After finishing in 20th place in last year’s championships at the University of Colorado, and following another dominating Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) season, Steinke is the only men’s UNH skier who qualified for the 2017 championships. He finished 29th on Wednesday at 2 miuutes, 19.3 seconds.

All three UNH qualifiers placed in the women’s grand slalom on Wednesday. Sophomore Lisa Wedsjö made a habit of pulling top-ten finishes this season. Still, her 16th place finish on Wednesday is an improvement from last year’s 18th. As UNH’s top women’s giant slalom skier Wednesday, Wedsjö established her presence for the second year in a row. She will be racing in the women’s slalom on Friday.

Both Emma Woodhouse and Genevieve Frigon finished strong in the women’s giant slalom. At 21st and 22nd place, the two together tallied 19 points for UNH. They are both expected to race with Wedsjö on Friday.

Wednesday’s results should be taken seriously, but there’s more time to put things together as a team. The women’s 5-kilometer classical and men’s 10k classical are scheduled to start early Thursday morning, when UNH qualifiers Peter Holmes, Silje Wilson, Katrin Larusson and Lizzie Gill expect to tack on some points. Seniors Gill and Larusson have an impressive tenure, the latter having appeared in the NCAA championships four times total.

On Friday, the alpine team will return to the slopes for the men’s and women’s slalom events. This is an area in which UNH consistently excelled this season, finishing among the top-five often. If there’s anywhere the team can pull some much-needed points, it’s the slalom.

The tournament will close out on Saturday at the Jackson Touring Center, where the nordic team is scheduled to compete in the men’s 20k freestyle and women’s 15k freestyle.

The annual team awards ceremony and celebratory barbeque both start after the final events on Saturday, which marks the end of the NCAA Ski Championships.

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