In what has been a remarkable season, the Colby Alpine and Nordic Skiing walked away from the NCAA Division I Skiing Championships last week in a combined 10th place. Olivia Amber ’17, Amy Bianco ’17, Silas Eastman ’17, Zane Fields ’19, from the Nordic team and Michael Boardman ’17 and Mardi Haskell ’17 from the Alpine team represented the Mules well with 142.5 total points, just 3.5 behind host school, University of New Hampshire (UNH). The finish put the Mules first among all NESCAC schools and fourth among all East Coast schools, trailing Dartmouth, University of Vermont, and UNH.
Haskell had the best weekend of all the Colby skiers. She finished ranked 10th in the women’s giant slalom and 14th in the slalom. This was her third national tournament and it was hosted on Cannon Mountain, which is less than an hour drive from her hometown.
In the giant slalom event, Haskell posted a first time of 1:11.45 but improved by nearly three seconds in her second run at 1:08.63 to tie with University of New Mexico sophomore Katharine Irwin for 10th place. Unfortunately, Haskell failed to repeat her fourth place finish last winter, and she fell to 14th this time around with a total time of 1:59.64. Fellow teammate Boardman also made sure to make his mark on the D1 championships. Times of 1:54.13 in the slalom and 2:16.06 in the giant slalom gave him 21st and 14th place finishes, respectively.
For the Nordic team, Fields, Bianco, and Amber were all experienced national competitors for Colby. Fields fared the best of the bunch with a 13th place finish in the 20 kilometer race and a time of 47:17.6. This represented a big improvement over his 35th place finish in the same event last year. He also finished 30th in the 5K race. As the lone underclassmen that Colby sent to nationals, it’s promising to see such progress from Fields in just his first two seasons.
“I set my goals very high this year and was lucky enough to reach them,” Fields said. “Two top three finishes this year on the carnival circuit and a top 15 at NCAA’s surely exceeded them,” he said.
Eastman had a successful meet in his first national championship appearance, finishing his final races 18th and 25th in the 15K and 5K races, respectively.
On the women’s side, Amber and Bianco followed up their second and third place finishes in the regional 15K with 18th and 19th place finishes in the D1 championships. Additionally, both Amber and Bianco improved from their previous year’s time in the 5K, with Amber moving from 34th to 18th, and Bianco going from 40th to 29th. They, along with Eastman, will be missed on the team next year.
“I’m very sad to be losing [the seniors],” Fields said. “Not only are Amy and Olivia two of our strongest women skiers, but also two of the strongest personalities on the team. It was also really fun to have Silas at NCAA’s with me this year; always nice to have someone to watch and cool down with on top of sharing our individual successes together.”
Nationals were the last competitive races in the 2016-17 season for Colby. However, it certainly will not be the last we see of this group of racers on the snow. Fields will surely look to build upon his success this winter in preparation for next season, and the rest of Colby’s Alpine and Nordic teams will be sure to follow. They placed 13th overall last year, 10th this year, and will hopefully do even better come nationals next year.