Sports

Alpine ski team dominates slopes

Senior Evan Gates maneuvers his way down the slope. This is the second year the alpine ski team has qualified for regional competition.  (credit: Courtesy of Beth Passmore) Senior Evan Gates maneuvers his way down the slope. This is the second year the alpine ski team has qualified for regional competition. (credit: Courtesy of Beth Passmore)

The Carnegie Mellon men’s and women’s alpine ski team traveled last weekend to Blue Mountain in Palmerton, Pa., to compete in the 2010 United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships.

The team qualified to compete in the regional competition by finishing third out of 10 teams in the Allegheny Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Conference (ACSC), after five in-conference races from January through February. The five-year-old team, made up of 30 students, has now qualified for regional competition two years in a row.

Alpine ski racing in the USCSA consists of two events: slalom and giant slalom (GS). These are two downhill skiing events featured in the Winter Olympics. Slalom is a race involving quick turning and precision, whereas GS features wider radius turns at higher speeds.

During conference competition in the ACSC, Carnegie Mellon recorded its best ski season to date with third-place finishes from both the women’s and men’s team. The ACSC’s top teams include Penn State, Bucknell, Villanova, and the Naval Academy. The women’s team’s high point of the season came during the fourth weekend of competition, when the team placed second.

The team was also well represented on the individual level. Sophomore Nicola Carey, a civil engineering major, placed ninth in the season out of 70 women in the conference. Carey finished every race during the season, and had a season-best finish of eighth during the first race at Wisp in Maryland.

Junior Ben Streeter, a mechanical engineering major, finished ninth out of 70 men in the conference. Streeter’s best finish of the season, sixth, came at Elk Mountain’s GS race. Rounding out the Tartans was junior Jeff Bizzak, also a mechanical engineering major, who finished the season in 11th place and landed in the top 10 in three different races. These individual results are a great accomplishment: Historically, no Tartan racer had ever finished a season in the top 10.

Streeter shared his thoughts about Carnegie Mellon’s best season yet. “I am thankful that our team was able to put together a great season start to finish. This was due to many contributions from every individual on the team. The team’s enthusiasm about skiing, in addition to the thrill of competition and the challenge of skiing, makes ski racing a great sport,” he said.

Although the race season is now over for the Tartans, the team looks forward to another season of competition beginning next January.