Skiers qualify for nationals

Alpine and nordic skiers took off for Colorado this weekend to compete in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association (RIMSA)/NCAA Western Regional Championships. The nordic women’s team stayed close together in the 15-kilometer freestyle race with senior Jessica Yeaton in sixth with a time of 41:49. Her teammates, senior Kate Backstrum and junior Isabella Smith, were not far behind in 10th and 11th place. Junior Annie Liotta came in 12th at 42:17 and senior Johanna Malle placing 24th at 46:25.

For men’s nordic, senior Sawyer Kesselheim finished first for the team in 11th place in the 20-kilometer race with a time of 46:27. Not far behind him were seniors David Norris and Pat Madden, who finished 12th and 14th, respectively, with junior Forrest Mahlen close behind, finishing 16th. Junior Sam Dougherty closed out the pack of Bobcats placing 26th.

According to nordic head coach Grete Hagensen, “This was an excellent team performance by the MSU nordic ski team leading up to the NCAA Championship. We have one week at home to rest, recover and work on some speed.”

Alpine posted some excellent results in their regional meet as well. Senior Ryan McConnell had one of his best races, finishing slalom in ninth place with a time of 1:16.51. Behind him were freshman David Neuhauser (13th) and junior David Owsley (20th). Kelly McBroom kept the streak of seniors in the lead with the best finish for alpine women in 15th place with a time of 1:22.60. She was followed by senior Emily Danza and junior Steph Irwin, who finished in 18th and 19th place.

“Overall I think we had some very good results, especially on the boys side in the slalom with Ryan ending up ninth and David Neuhauser ending up 15th. The girls also put some good effort and had some top 15 results in both GS and slalom,” senior alpine skier Emily Danza said. “The conditions were great to race in with really good snow, a perfect day for racing.”

Those headed to nationals for nordic are Yeaton, Backstrum, and Liotta for the women’s team and Madden, Kesselheim, and Norris for the men. For the alpine team, Danza, Irwin, and McBroom will travel with the men’s qualifiers McConnell, Neuhauser, and Owsley. The competition will take place in Park City, Utah starting March 5.