Five members of the Middlebury College ski team were honored when the EISA (Eastern Intercollegiate Skiing Association) announced its post-season awards. Senior David Donaldson (Toronto, Ont.) won the Podiumwear Leader Bib award as the top alpine racer in the giant slalom this season. Panther alpine assistant coach Abby Copeland was named the EISA Alpine Coach of the Year.
Donaldson also earned a spot on the first-team All-East squad, with senior teammate Andrew McNealus (Woodstock, Vt.). Earning second-team honors was junior Hig Roberts (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) and sophomore Mary Sackbauer (Vail. Colo.). On the nordic side, junior Ben Lustgarten (Burlington, Vt.) and sophomore Annie Pokorny (Spokane, Wash.) both earned first-team honors.
Donaldson dominated the giant slalom event this carnival season, winning five of the six events. He won the first four races of the season, before earning a third place finish at the Middlebury Carnival. The senior came back strong at the EISA Championships at Bates, taking home the top spot once again. He also had a solid season in the slalom, earning a win at St. Lawrence and a second place finish at Colby.
McNealus earned three third place finishes this season, including the slalom event at the Middlebury Carnival. His other top finishes were in the GS races at St. Lawrence and Dartmouth.
Roberts has improved his finishes all season, winning the slalom at the EISA Championships last weekend. He owns six top 10 finishes with five of them coming in the top six. At the Middlebury carnival, Roberts placed fourth in both the slalom and giant slalom races.
Sackbauer represented the women’s alpine racers on the second team with five top eight finishes in her last five races. Her best finish of the season was at the Middlebury Carnival where she placed second in the GS event. She was fifth in the GS at Dartmouth, while placing seventh in both events at the EISA’s.
Pokorny, the EISA rookie of the year in ’12, earns a spot on the first team. Pokorny opened the year with a win in the 5K free race at UVM, before taking home the title in the same event at the Middlebury Carnival. She also boast three second place finishes, most recently in the 5K classic at the EISA Championships.
Lustgarten was also a first-team selection for the Panther men. He earned a victory in the 10K classic race at Colby this season with top 10 finishes in 11 of 12 events. Seven of those finishes were in the top five, including third places finishes in the 10K classic at UVM, 20K free at Colby and 10K classic at the EISA Championships.
Copeland is now in her third season as the assistant alpine skiing coach at Middlebury. The honor, usually bestowed upon a head coach, is an impressive one for Copeland, who is heavily involved with the success of the men’s and women’s alpine teams at Middlebury. Her racers this year have earned seven wins with five additional podium appearances.
She has been recognized by her colleagues for not only her coaching abilities, but her willingness to go the extra mile during the carnival season. Copeland makes extra efforts with setting courses for EISA carnivals and FIS events, while also performing referee and other officials duties on a regular basis. Those attributes as well as her ability to coach skiing have earned her recognition from the other college coaches in the east.
Copeland is a graduate of St. Lawrence University where she competed on both the field hockey and ski teams during her four years as an undergraduate. After earning her degree in Fine Arts in ’06, Copeland completed her master’s in education in May of ’09.
Members of the ski team were also honored when the U.S. Collegiate Skiing Coaches Association announced its All Academic Awards. To be honored, an athlete must have a 3.5 GPA in the fall semester and have competed in the NCAA Regional Championship. Bryan Shpall, Roberts and Kara Shaw earned the honor from the alpine team.