Men's Nordic Relay Team Finishes Third at Nationals
The Paul Smith's College Nordic Ski Team completed an incredibly successful season on Saturday at the United States College Ski Association (USCSA) Nationals held at Devil's Thumb Ranch, in Tabernash, CO (just outside Winter Park, CO).
The men's 3 X 5Km relay team, consisting of seniors Stefan Bibb and Dean Rinehart, as well as freshman, Matt Piper teamed together to finish in third place with a time of 53:29.4. This is an incredible team performance, even more so when considering that the week's competition has taken place with a base elevation of 8,500 feet! Stefan and Dean both skied 5K classic (in parallel tracks). Stefan Bibb skied incredibly well finishing his 5K classic leg in 17:27, tagging Dean with Paul Smith's College in second place, with eventual winner, the University of Wyoming a mere second behind.
The ski conditions quickly changed from very icy to a steady snowfall, so the klister used by the teams was creating challenges for each of the middle man for each team as they were again skiing classical. Dean skied what turned out to be the race of his life - he has only been Nordic skiing for three years - most of the other collegiate competitors have been ski racing for well over a decade - with Dean tagging Matt Piper in fourth place with a time of 19:52.
Matt had finished in 11th place on Friday in the 15K freestyle race (one position out of Second Team All-American status), and skied the final relay leg with everything he had. He overtook the final skier from Whitman College and nearly caught the anchorman from St. Olaf (Minnesota) to assure the Paul Smith's College Bobcat men a 3rd place finish, as well as a team spot on the podium. The University of Wyoming won, with St. Olaf taking second. This third place finish for the Paul Smith's College Bobcat skiers is incredible for Eastern skiing as well as for Paul Smith's College, as the week at Devil's Thumb was truly challenging for most of the top skiers from the Northeast.
This is such incredible news from our skiers, and after such an up and down week of dealing with altitude (lack of oxygen), the icy conditions, and a series of unusual set backs and near misses. Stefan Bibb had two top five finishes as a junior in Rumford, Maine in 2008, and his best individual performance this year was a 12th place finish in the 8.5K classic event held earlier in the week.
Paul Smith's College Women’s Team Results: This was the first time Paul Smith's College has had a women's team qualify for Nationals since 1990, when the collegiate skiers won both the NJCAA men's and women's Nordic ski titles. It was awesome to have Dana Miller return for her senior year to nationals, and to be joined by junior Jessie Gardner and sophomore Kirsten Domas. The women’s skiers from Paul Smith's College finished in seventh in the 3 X 5km relay, while consistently finishing in 20 – 30th positions in the individual races earlier in the week. As a team, the Paul Smith's College women’s team finished ranked seventh at Nationals.
Melinda McAleese: Another PSC connection - Melinda McAleese (daughter of Ginny and Bob McAleese) is a senior attending Cornell University. Melinda appears to be the lone Eastern US skier who has excelled at the altitude of Devil's Thumb, having won both the 1.5 sprint as well as the 8.5 classic race the following day - becoming a two-time National Champion! Melinda followed these two wins with a seventh place finish in the 15 k freestyle event to earn Second Team All – American. These individual results enabled Melinda to finish the season ranked number one at USCSA Nationals. This is an incredible achievement, and following the results of the remaining outstanding Eastern skiers through the week - this seems all the more impressive. Melinda
To see the results from this week's ski races, place consider going to the following website: http://www.uscsa.com/index.php?page=results-3