Ski team takes on Regionals: Leopards qualify for the National Tournament

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The ski team competed at Regionals in Mount Jackson, Va.. Photo Courtesy of

Matthew Benusa

The Lafayette men’s and women’s club ski and ride team traveled to Bryce Resort in Mount Jackson, Va. for the USCSA Mid-Atlantic Regionals for the weekend of Feb. 24. Overall, the men’s freestyle team placed third and the women’s alpine team fourth, qualifying them both for Nationals.

Women’s alpine skiers got off to a rough start on the first day of the tournament, with the team placing in seventh place. Going in, Burton and the team knew they had a chance to contend for a spot at Nationals. On the second day, the women came out strong and finished second for the day, Burton said. Their success earned them a spot at Nationals. According to Burton, freshman Abby Sandman was an integral part of that stunning victory, but it was a true team effort to reach their goal.

USCSA Nationals are in Lake Placid, NY from March 4 to 10.

In the alpine events, the top four women’s teams and top four men’s teams move on to Nationals. Any team who competes in men’s freestyle skiing and women’s freestyle skiing moves on to Nationals. Even though the women’s freestyle skiers did not medal, both of them, sophomore Marie Bucklin and junior Erin Coyne, will go to Nationals.

At the end of the weekend, the men’s alpine team finished in fifth place, behind Army. In the freestyle events, senior Andrew Graves placed first overall to earn a place at the National Tournament. Unfortunately, none of the women freestyle skiers medaled, but all of them earned a place at nationals for having completed. Women’s alpine skiers finished in fourth place, narrowly nabbing a spot in nationals.

“He was so determined to finish first,” senior ski team president Sydney Burton said about Graves’s performance last weekend. “He was throwing the most unbelievable tricks. The way they compete allows you to go and hit whatever features you want, and then hike back up to the top to try it again. Andrew would throw this crazy trick, and if he didn’t land it, he would sprint back to the top to throw it again. When he landed that trick, he said ‘I’m going to add something to it.’”

On the first day of Regionals, the men’s ski team finished fourth out of fifteen teams, but finished the second day just outside of the place required to move on.

“Everyone put forward a good race,” freshman Ben Shmaruk said. “A couple people had a rough time finishing throughout the weekend, me included, but there were some really impressive runs by junior Charlie Kelly and senior Paul Polk.”