Men's Relay Finishes 3rd at Nationals - 2009-03-09
I received a cell phone call from Coach Cameron Lewis from Devil's Thumb Ranch, the site of the USCSA Nationals (Collegiate skiing) Saturday afternoon, while I was in Vermont with the PSC Striders attending a snowshoe race.
Cameron was quite excited to announce that our men's relay team, consisting of seniors Stefan Bibb and Dean Rinehart, as well as freshman, Matt Piper teamed together to finish in third place. 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, and tagged Dean with Paul Smith's College in third place. 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. 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.
Following the results on the USCSA's National website has been a challenge this year, as the data entry has been incredibly slow compared to last year, when the finish times appeared within seconds of an athlete's finish... The relay team's times and actual results still have yet to appear on the web, but I intend to get this information to the local press and to the campus community.
This was the first time Paul Smith's College has had a women's team qualify for Nationals since 1989, when we won both the NJCAA men's and women's nordic ski titles. It is awesome to have Dana Miller return for her senior year to nationals, and to be joined by junior Jessie Gardner and sophomore Kirsten Domas.
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! This is an incredible achievement, and following the results of the remaining outstanding Eastern skiers through the week - this seems all the more impressive.
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 Maybe the relay results will be posted soon, and you can see Paul Smith's College men's team in the top three.
Our nordic skiers have been delayed in Chicago at least four additional hours this afternoon due to stormy weather, so I anticipate the following students will be out of sorts tomorrow in classes: