Reaching new heights: Ski club qualifies for nationals for second straight year

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The Lafayette Ski Club. (Photo Courtesy of Sydney Burton ’19)

AJ Traub

For the second straight year, the Lafayette ski club will be heading to United States Collegiate Ski & Snowboard Association (USCSA) National Championships to compete against teams from around the country

The club competed at the Mid-Atlantic regional tournament to qualify for Nationals a couple of weeks ago. Competing for Lafayette in the freestyle were senior Colin Gallagher, junior Erich Victor, junior Misty Earisman, freshman Peter Torrente, sophomore Alex Sadovnikoff, junior Andrew Graves, sophomore Erin Coyne, sophomore Hannah Green and freshman Marie Bucklin (Full disclosure: Bucklin is The Lafayette’s co-design director).

The snowboard freestyle event was highlighted by Gallagher’s 13th place finish for the men and Earisman’s third place finish for the women. In the ski freestyle event, Graves scored fourth and Sadovnikoff scored eighth for the men. For the women, Green and Bucklin took sixth and seventh, respectively.

In the Alpine racing, the team of junior Paul Polk, sophomore Chris Burns, sophomore Charlie Kelly, sophomore Drew Carleton, senior Tim Garrett and freshman Ben Mallinger finished second only to Fairfield.

“I think it’s definitely an accomplishment,” Polk said. “Our division has gotten tougher over the years. To be able to make Nationals two years in a row, even as our division got more competitive is definitely a personal triumph. If you look at the schools we compete against, like Lehigh and Columbia, they are four or five times our size.”

This will be the second year in a row that the men’s team goes to Nationals.

“As a team I thought we did really well,” Polk said. “I was really happy, both with the team performance and my personal performance.”

Polk has enjoyed the progression of the team throughout the season.

“Generally as the season goes on, people tend to get worn down,” he said. “That didn’t happen to our guys this year. People improved. Every race, people improved. I would definitely say our endurance helped us this year.”

The women’s Alpine racing team of senior Olivia Erdman, junior Sydney Burton, sophomore Laura Robertello, sophomore Megan O’Hare and junior Kendall Sangster took third place, behind Penn State and Villanova.

“Everyone was fantastic,” Erdman said. “They have really strong work ethics and everyone’s really dedicated. Everyone performed really well and improved a lot. It’s really cool when you have all four of your teams going to Nationals.”

The women’s team extends its streak of going to Nationals to four years.

“I think it’s amazing,” said Erdman, who has been skiing since she was six years old and is currently the club president. “Every year that I’ve been here I’ve qualified for Nationals. With the club, there are no expectations, and there are varying ranges of experiences. It’s amazing to watch people who entered with little to no racing experience grow and be a contributor for our team to get to Nationals. I did cry when everyone made it this year. As a senior, it’s a great way to end my racing career.”

Given the club’s size, some might say its achievements are impressive.

“It’s amazing because we are student-run,” Erdman said. “We have a board of just a few other students planning everything. From booking hotels, planning practices, making sure everyone gets there, and everything you can think of. We do have a coach, Chris Shumeyko, who’s a mechanical engineering professor and the head of the conference, so that’s pretty helpful.”

The Alpine teams will travel to Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon to compete in Nationals from March 5 to 11.

“It’s a really cool experience to race against teams literally all over the country,” Erdman said. “The mountain is beautiful; I raced there for Nationals sophomore year. I’m looking forward to everyone being there one last time.”