Well, it had to happen at some point. The 2019 collegiate ski season has ended.
It was not unlike a mountain range: There were peaks and valleys. Highs and lows. Views to the uncharted horizon, and glimpses of rock bottom. Is it too much to say that ski racing is a reflection of life? Is that why we can’t get enough of it? The drama on the slopes parallels our own lives’ achievements and disappointments, and at the end, hopefully we can look to the setting sun and say, “Well, I gave it the ol’ College Try.”
Or, maybe it’s just a fun sport and I’m thinking too hard.
What I do know for-sure is this:
The University of Vermont Catamounts are the NCAA Runners-up, and Laurence St-Germain skis a punishing slalom.
On Saturday, St-Germain earned her second NCAA title in as many races as she led the Catamounts to the podium's second step. Her margin of victory was 2.58 seconds. 2.58 seconds. That’s enough time to say, “One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, Three Missi—” before the next skier crossed the line. Races in this discipline are usually settled by tenths and hundredths of a second. In a collegiate field studded with World Cup skiers, St-Germain showed that she is in a league of her own.
After the first run, St-Germain led by 1.81 seconds. From there, her lead only grew. Her eventual winning time was 1:47-flat. The University of Utah’s Roni Remme took second in 1:49.58, and Colorado University’s Mikaela Tommy was third: 1:49.81. Amelia Smart from Denver University finished in fourth place with a time of 1:50.02 before St-Germain’s teammate Paula Moltzan crossed the line for fifth place: 1:50.09.
St-Germain and Moltzan thrilled the hometown crowd during the first run. At the day’s halfway point, the Catamounts were 1-2 going into the second run. Though Moltzan couldn’t quite hold on for second place overall, she did earn First Team All-America honors.
After the race, University of Vermont Assistant Coach Tim Kelley was thrilled with St-Germain’s win.
“It’s unbelievable. I mean, it’s not unbelievable. It’s believable. It’s amazing," Kelley said. "She skied so well all week…Two smoking runs in the slalom. It was really cool to watch.”
Kelley continued, emphasizing the major roles that both Moltzan and St-Germain have played for UVM in recent years.
“It’s going to be tough to replace them,” Kelley said. "They’re obviously so reliable, so fast, and good role models for the team. The bring good pace to training. It’ll be really tough to replace them, but the girls on the team now have had a couple of years with them and can live up to the reputation. Carry on the tradition of fast skiing and good attitudes.”
The University of New Hampshire’s Emma Woodhouse capped a fine season with a tenth-place finish. Her finishing time of 1:51.80 was good enough to qualify for Second Team All-America, just edging out Dartmouth’s Alexa Dlouhy (11th; 1:52.09).
Colby College’s Sandra Schoepke (1:52.36) skied to thirteenth place, and Dartmouth’s Steph Currie (1:52.41) and Patricia Mangan (1:53.28) were 14th and 16th, respectively.
In the men’s SL race, all eyes were on Dartmouth’s Tanguy Nef to match his GS win. After the first run, he was well-positioned. He had the run’s fastest time by a good six-tenths-of-a-second. As the flip wound its way down, fans pulled their eyes from their smartphones to watch the final racers. Even a few coaches closed the livetiming feed in anticipation of Nef’s run. He pushed out of the start gate and carved a few of his characteristic, tiny arcs: you could fit them in a teacup. And then the unthinkable happened.
The crowd let out a collective groan as Nef straddled a gate. In the ensuing silence, you could hear the wind blowing through the trees. A raven clacked overhead. As the bright sun hammered down, Nef wasted no time: he looped up and around the gate before skiing cleanly down the pitch to the finish. He gamely raised his arms in an apologetic shrug to the crowd as he crossed the line.
Nef ultimately finished 27th on the day as Denver University’s Jett Seymour won the SL in 1:41.49. The University of Alaska at Anchorage’s Liam Wallace finished second, more than a half-second back in 1:42.16. Vegard Busengdal of the University of New Mexico earned the last podium position. He crossed the line in a combined time of 1:42.33 for third place.
EISA’s first scorer was Saint Michael’s College’s Guillaume Grand. The Purple Knight finished a decorated career with a fourth-place result today: 1:42.33. Close behind in fifth was UVM’s Max Roeisland in 1:42.66. Both skiers earned First Team All-America honors, and Dartmouth’s Drew Duffy (1:42.97) made the Second Team with his eighth place finish.
Roeisland’s teammate Patrick McConville finished just outside the top-10. McConville finished eleventh overall in 1:43.44. The EISA placed just four athletes in the top-15 today as a slew of eastern skiers came through in positions 16-19. UNH’s Williams Bruneau-Bouchard (1:44.58) and Patrick Kenney (1:46.10) were 16th and 18th, respectively, and SLU’s Carter Armstrong (1:45.85) and SMC’s Ben Throm 1:46.16) earned 17th and 19th places.
When it was all said and done, the University of Utah finished the week as team national champions. They earned a total of 530.5 points. The University of Vermont took home the second-place trophy after earning 476 points, and Colorado University was third with 455. Dartmouth College finished fourth, earning a team total of 447 points.