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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Ski and board heading to nationals after sweeping the slopes at regionals

The women’s alpine ski team placed first overall after winning both the slalom and giant slalom at regionals. (Photo courtesy of Meghan Gillis ’23)

The ski and board team had an incredible showing at regionals this past weekend at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Somerset County, Pa. Its performance was good enough to solidify a spot at the nationals competition in early March. 

Senior captain Meghan Gillis said that there was a lack of snow on the hill on Friday, and it was drizzling with low visibility. Snow was blown on the slope overnight, but the workers actually forgot to turn off the snow guns, creating an excess amount of snow for Saturday’s competition.

“When there’s a lot of snow like that, it can get really scary and dangerous because as more people go down on the course, more snow will slide away, causing what we call ruts. It’s basically hard ridges in the course,” Gillis said.

She advised the team to play it safe in order to make sure each woman finished the race. For alpine scoring, the times of the top three finishers on the team are added together.

“Say your number one or number two girl falls, then you have to take your second, third and fourth person and add their results. It’s imperative that you have a really stacked lineup,” Gillis said.

Despite the tough conditions, the team excelled.

“It was definitely nerve wracking that day, but we did have five finishes both days, which was so impressive. I don’t think any other team can say that,” Gillis said. 

The women’s alpine swept the slopes and are now back-to-back-to-back regional champions, placing first overall. The team placed first in both slalom and giant slalom (GS) on both days.

Gillis came in second in both slalom and GS individually, making her the first overall regional champion for women’s alpine. 

“I don’t think I ever had a more exciting and high energy race day in all my years of ski racing,” Gillis said.

“It was a really beautiful full circle moment … to see [Gillis] win the overall title again,” senior Allie Soper said.

Soper finished eighth in slalom and 10th in GS, with sophomore Lindsay Correll and senior Tate Gordon finishing eighth and ninth in GS, respectively.

“It’s an individual sport, but there’s so much more of a team dynamic that goes into it than you would think,” Soper said. “As much as it’s about how fast one person can go, it’s also about how you do collectively as a team.”

In addition to the alpine team’s success, women’s freestyle and snowboarding came in first and third overall, respectively.

The men’s alpine came in third for slalom and second in GS, placing the team at second overall. Individually, sophomore Sebastian Bjorkeson placed third in slalom, fourth in GS and third overall.

“It was a really rewarding experience,” Soper said of the weekend’s competition. “The team has been working really hard the entire season, and it kind of all came together… like the dream ending.”

The team is now booking flights for nationals, which will take place from March 5 to March 11 at Mammoth Mountain in California. They will have 18 competitors: three women’s snowboarders, five women’s freestylers, five for women’s alpine and five for men’s alpine.

“I went to nationals last year and it was one of the most amazing experiences. We end up competing against a lot of varsity teams – the equivalent of [Division III] – which is really exciting,” Gillis said. “I’ll see a lot of people I grew up skiing with which is just always like such a great time.”

Soper actually grew up ski racing with Gillis and against Gordon.

“It’s really like a family. When we get to travel together we become really close,” Soper said.”I put a lot of my life into the sport … it’s kind of bittersweet. Being able to go to nationals and close out my season there will be a really nice way to tie it off.”

There will be an open ceremony, a banquet and other events for the athletes to get to know each other at nationals. Since different categories will be competing on different days, they will have the opportunity to watch each other compete.

“It’s just really a good chance for us to hang out with each other for one last time and finish up the season. For a lot of the seniors, it’s really our last time that we’re ever going to be competing,” Gillis said. “I’ve been ski racing since I was four, I just want to have the best time and finish off strong.”

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About the Contributor
Caroline McParland, Sports Editor

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  • C

    Carol StarkFeb 28, 2023 at 7:49 pm

    This is exciting news! As Allie’s maternal grandmother, I have witnessed her multiple accomplishments over the years. She is amazing. Of course this one included amazing team mates! Congratulations!