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Kistler, Kikut Lead Dartmouth Skiing on Third Day of NCAAs

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Lizzie Kistler     By Dennis & Ellen Curran
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — Dartmouth freshmen Lizzie Kistler (Santa Rosa, Calif.) and Sara Kikut (Burlington, Vt.) each finished among the top 10 of Friday’s slalom competition at the NCAA Championships at Middlebury’s Snow Bowl, earning All-America honors and helping the Big Green ascend the team standings into sixth place with 405 points. The defending national champion Vermont Catamounts have a healthy 54-point lead over Colorado with just one day of competition remaining.

Kistler, the Eastern Intercollegiate Skiing Association (EISA) Women’s Alpine Rookie of the Year, was on her game today, posting the third-best time down the mountain on her first run in 49.26 seconds, then repeating with the third-fastest time of the second run at 49.09 seconds. But she just missed out on the podium, finishing fourth overall with a combined time of 1:38.35, eight-hundredths of a second out of third place and 0.38 seconds behind the champion from Denver University, Kristine Haugen. By taking fourth, Kistler earned a spot on the All-America First Team.

Like Kistler, Kikut is competing in her first NCAA Championships and made the most of the opportunity by garnering second-team All-America honors for placing seventh overall. After one run, the freshman was in 10th place and needed a strong effort the second time down to secure a spot in the top 10. She did not let herself or her teammates down by improving with the seventh-fastest time to record a total time of 1:39.05.

The duo, combined with sophomore Abby Fucigna (Hopkinton, Mass.) who improved her second run by more than a full second in finishing 26th overall at 1:42.19, registered 90 points to finish second in the event. Only Denver (101) topped the Big Green total, with Utah third (86) and Vermont fourth (84).

The two Dartmouth men competing in the slalom, sophomores Hunter Black (Keystone, Colo.) and Ben Morse (Carrabassett Valley, Maine) found themselves in the bottom half of the 34 skiers after their first time through the course. Throwing caution to the wind, both took calculated risks to move up the individual standings, risks that paid off handsomely. Black zipped down the slopes with the fifth-fastest second run to jump from 19th to just outside the top 10 in 12th with a combined time of 1:40.58. Thanks to the fourth-fastest second run, Morse climbed 11 spots in the standings into 16th at 1:41.62.

The Big Green were at a disadvantage in the men’s alpine with just two skiers competing while 10 other schools had three. Yet on the strength of those second runs by Black and Morse, Dartmouth finished tied for eighth in the event with 51 points, just four points shy of sixth.

The mass-start Nordic freestyle races tomorrow will conclude the NCAA Championships. The women will begin their 15K race at the Rikert Nordic Center at 10 a.m., while the men will launch their 20K at noon.