Knights alpine ski team advances to USCSA Nationals with solid showing at Eastern Regionals
Monday, February 27, 2012 - 11:54 pm

Carrabassett Valley, ME - Each team took separate paths to get there, but both the Clarkson University Men's and Women's Alpine Ski teams extended its season after impressive performances at the USCSA Eastern Regionals this weekend held at Sugarloaf Mountain.

Both the Golden Knights' men and women finished second overall to advance to the USCSA National Championships which will be held next week at Sunday River, ME. Clarkson's women were steady, taking second place with the best performance of the season in the giant slalom on Saturday and followed that up with a third place showing in the slalom on Sunday. The Golden Knights' men stumbled out of the gate in the giant slalom, finishing sixth overall, but recovered to dominate the competition on Sunday with three of the top four skiers in the slalom event.

Tough conditions limited Saturday's giant slalom to one run, but the Knights' women were up to task without the benefit of any kind of mistakes. Senior Sophie LeBlanc (Cumberland, ME) tied for second by finishing her one run in 56.43 seconds. Classmate Jill Clevenger (LaGrangeville, NY) came in ninth in 57.24, and Mycala Stebbins (Canandaigua, NY) rounded out the scoring for the Knights by taking 23rd overall in 1:01.84. Clarkson's other two skiers also did well, as freshman Hailey Gilmore (Woodbury, CT) took 27th in 1:02.99 and sophomore Sarah Shafer (Petoskey, ME) came in 34th with a time of 1:03.92.

On Sunday, Clarkson's top three skiers were bunched closer together, but all performed well. Shafer jumped up to ninth with a time of 1:28.03 and Clevenger was one spot behind in 1:28.19. LeBlanc closed out Clarkson's scoring with 1:30.68, while Gilmore took 42nd in 1:52.47. Stebbins did not finish her first run, and didn't start her second.

The giant slalom's initial run wasn't kind to the Golden Knights, who cruised through the USCSA MacConnell Divison during the regular season. JP Phaneuf (Montreal, QUE) was the top performer, taking 10th in 55.73 seconds, while sophomore Christian Perryman (West Lebanon, NY) came in 20th in 57.49. Bill O'Connor (Mahopac, NY) palced three spots after Perryman in 57.76 seconds to conclude the scoring for Clarkson. Cedrik Proteau-Dubois (Ste-Adele, QUE) came in 46th and John Bennett (Queensbury, NY) did not finish the run.

For the hiccups that occurred on Saturday, Clarkson was in a tough position, needing a top performance to advance to the USCSA National Championships. Fortunately, the Knights were ready and dominated the scoring, as Phaneuf finished his first run with the top time and then took second in his final run to win first overall in 1:21.73. Proteau-Dubois returned to form by placing third overall in 1:23.83, and O'Connor came in fourth in 1:23.86, beating his teammate for the top spot in the second run. Perryman's performance would have been enough to advance the Knights even if one of the top three had faltered, as he came in 16th in 1:28.30. David Simon (Montvale, NJ) was 53rd in his first run, but didn't finish his second chance down the hill.