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Skiing places third at Nationals

The ski team finished in third place at the USCSA National Championships — best among East Coast teams — on March 1-6 at Sunday River Resort in Newry, Maine.

"It's by far the best finish we've had since I've been on the team," said captain Krista Consiglio '11. "It's better than winning Regionals or our division."

It was the best finish for the Bears since the 2004-05 season, when the Bears claimed second place, according to Head Coach Mike LeBlanc.

"The level of competition just went up quickly" in the past few years, LeBlanc said. "The fact that we've fought our way back up to the top is incredible."

And given the team's performances this season, a third-place finish at Nationals was even more impressive. In the ECSC MacConnell Division, the Bears came in fourth place and at Regionals managed only a fifth-place finish overall.

"It's saying something to go to Regionals and get fifth and then go to Nationals and get third," LeBlanc said. "This was the first time in a while that the team has just gone out and executed like they can."

In giant slalom, the Bears raced out to a strong start and finished third. Consiglio led the team with an 11th-place finish. Her teammates followed close behind — Kia Mosenthal '12 finished in 14th and Emily Simmons '12 came in 16th.

However, it was the team's fourth-place finish in slalom that clinched third for the Bears overall. It was one of the Bears' best finishes in slalom all season.

"That was definitely a big shock to all of us," Consiglio said. "It was really, really close between all the teams. The difference between second and sixth was only a few hundredths of a second."

"All the girls finished with clean runs," LeBlanc said. "That's only happened once all season. They were relaxed and confident."

Consiglio and Mosenthal were the Bears' top performers in both slalom and giant slalom — and they both won All-America Honors for each event.

Only Westminster College and Sierra Nevada College placed higher than the Bears. Both teams "recruit European skiers who are very fast" and "have access to snow all the time because they go to school in the mountains," Consiglio said.

"It's just really big to beat these teams from Europe," LeBlanc said. Our team "has to travel for two hours in one day to train, and they sometimes only train for one day a week. If people could see what these girls did, how they're so incredibly strong. It's just mind-boggling."


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