The Middlebury College nordic ski team was busy in the New Year, with athletes competing at the 2008 U.S. Cross Country Championships hosted by Michigan Tech in Houghton, Michigan. The races took place from January 1-6, with 16 Middlebury men and women competing. The Panthers finished second in the combined College Cup, their best finish in school history.
Junior Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.) was among the nation's best at the races, finishing fourth overall (3rd among Americans) in the sprint race, earning him a spot on the U.S. Under-23 team. His impressive finish saw him defeat two former U.S. National Champions and in the race.
On the women's side, first-year skier Alexa Turzian (Hailey, Idaho) was Middlebury's top performer. The rookie, who is already a member of the U.S. Ski Team, finished 13th in the skate and 14th in the classical to earn a spot on the U.S. World Junior Team.
The two will compete in the U23 / World Junior Championships in Wisla, Poland beginning January 29. Middlebury's assistant nordic coach Patty Ross was also named as a coach for the U.S. Team at the upcoming World Championships.
Also turning in some impressive performances was Middlebury rookie Patrick Johnson (Anchorage, Alaska), who is the U.S.'s first alternate on the World Junior squad.