HANOVER, N.H. — The last time the NCAA Skiing Championships took place in the state of New Hampshire, Dartmouth won the national title. Ten years later, the Big Green have their sights set on another crown.
Dartmouth enters this year’s national skiing championship hosted by the University of New Hampshire at Franconia and Jackson, New Hampshire, having won five of the six Eastern Intercollegiate Skiing Association carnivals, including the East Regional two weeks ago for the first time in five years. The championships will begin on Wednesday at Cannon Mountain with the giant slalom as the women start at 11 a.m. EST and the men at 2:30 p.m. EST (NEW TIMES).
As one of the seven schools with a full complement of 12 skiers participating, Dartmouth is poised to make a run for its fourth national title. Other schools to feature a complete dozen are Alaska Anchorage, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont and the defending champion, Denver.
Since the Big Green last won the championship, Colorado and Denver have dominated as the two schools have combined to win eight of the last nine years with each earning four. Only Vermont has been able to break that stranglehold, besting the field by a whopping 161 points that year. No other team has won a national title by more than 100 points since Utah in 2003. And other than Dartmouth’s crown in 2007 and the Catamounts’ in 2012, no other team from the East has won the title in the past 22 years.
The Big Green are loaded with experience in the alpine events with five of its six skiers competing having competed in last year’s NCAA Championships, all of whom earned All-America honors in one of the events. All three Dartmouth women represented the program last year, led by junior Foreste Peterson (Berkeley, California), who was a first-team All-American in the giant slalom last year by finishing fifth. This year she is the second-ranked skier in the East with three carnival victories to her credit.
Both sophomore Alexa Dlouhy (Montreal, Quebec) and junior Kelly Moore (Ottawa, Ontario) earned second-team All-America honors a year ago in the slalom by placing seventh and eighth, respectively. Dlouhy specializes in the slalom, finishing no worse than fourth in the event at the six carnivals with three podium finishes. Moore is Dartmouth’s most consistent skier, only finishing outside the top 10 once in the 10 races she completed, stepping on the podium at least once in both events.
The men’s alpine team boasts the top-rated skier in the East in junior Brian McLaughlin (Topsfield, Massachusetts), who won four races and claimed second in two others a year after taking third at the NCAAs in the slalom. McLaughlin has plenty of talented support with veteran senior Thomas Woolson (Warren, Vermont) and Swiss rookie Tanguy Nef (Geneva, Switzerland). Woolson finished in the top 10 in 11 of the 12 carnival races with one victory and three other podium stops after earning All-America Second Team honors in the giant slalom in 2016. Nef picked up a trio of top-three finishes in his first tour in the EISA — all in the giant slalom — to go with two top-10 stops in the slalom.
In the Nordic events, the Big Green skiers don’t necessarily have the same kind of pedigrees as their alpine comrades, but were just as successful this winter. Leading the group is senior Fabian Stocek (Jilemnice, Czech Republic), the top-ranked men’s cross country skier in both the freestyle and classical disciplines. It didn’t matter the race this winter, Stocek could likely be found at the front of the pack with eight victories and only one finish outside of the top four. This will be his third trip to the NCAA Championships, and he is determined to bring home All-America honors for the first time.
The other Nordic skier with championship experience is junior Callan DeLine (Avon, Colorado), who finished in the top 15 of both NCAA races last year in Colorado. This year he is ranked fifth in the East with a pair of victories, while junior Luke Brown (St. Paul, Minnesota) is ranked eighth with four podiums and a victory under his belt this winter.
Youth is the name of the game on the women’s side with a sophomore and two first-years representing Dartmouth, and all three are ranked among the top five in the East. Freshman Abby Drach (Eden Prairie, Minnesota), ranked second, came on strong with four top-two finishes in the last three carnivals; sophomore Lydia Blanchet (Anchorage, Alaska) enjoyed three podiums and is ranked third, but just returned to racing at the regional after missing two weeks; and freshman Lauren Jortberg (Boulder, Colorado) is ranked fifth with five podiums and two victories to her credit.
The Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Assocation also announced their postseason awards after the regional last week, including the All-East teams, which Dartmouth dominated by taking 11 of the 20 spots on the first team:
EISA All-East Teams
Following the giant slalom on Wednesday, the Nordic action begins on Thursday at Jackson Ski Touring Center with the classic races starting at 10 a.m. EST. The slalom will be run on Friday back at Cannon Mountain beginning with the men’s first run at 9 a.m. EST, and the final day of competition will be back on the trails at Jackson with the freestyle mass start kicking off at 10 a.m. EST. Visit ncaa.com/liveschedule to watch all of the action.