Middlebury will travel to Utah for the NCAA Skiing Championships from March 5-8. The University of Utah will serve as the host school for the event for the fifth time after the Panthers hosted in ’13. The alpine portion of the meet will be held at Park City Mountain Resort and the nordic races will be held at Soldier Hollow Resort. Middlebury finished third in four of six carnivals this season, including the EISA Championships on February 21-22 in Vermont.
Action begins on Wednesday, March 5th with the men’s and women giant slalom events at 10:45 a.m. EST. Nordic racing starts on Thursday with the women’s 5K classic at 12:00 p.m. EST, followed by the men’s 10K classic at 2:00 p.m. EST. Action returns to Park City on Friday with the men’s and women’s slalom races beginning at 11:00 a.m. EST. The final day of the championship will feature the men’s 20K free mass start at Soldier Hollow at 12:00 p.m. EST, followed by the women’s 15K freestyle event at 2:00 p.m. EST.
Senior Hig Roberts (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) has been the most consistent performer this season for the alpine squad. He is now a four-team All-East selection, earning All-American honors in each of the last two seasons. Roberts got off to a slow start this season with three DNF’s before coming on strong. He finished in the top five in eight of nine races, placing eighth in the other. He enjoyed three victories in the final three giant slalom races of the season, earning victories at Dartmouth, Williams and his home mountain. He earned third-place finishes in both the slalom and GS at UNH this season, placing third in the slalom at UVM.
McKenna is a second-team All-East member while recently being named the EISA Men’s Alpine Rookie of the Year. He earned four top-five and seven top-10 finishes during the ’14 carnival season. The rookie earned a season-best third-place finish in the GS at Colby, while placing fifth in the same event at both UVM and Williams.
Senior Nick Bailey (Boise, Idaho) completes the Middlebury men’s alpine representatives. He enjoyed three top-10 finishes this season, including a fifth-place effort in the slalom at the Middlebury Carnival. The previous week, he finished 10th in both the slalom and GS at Williams.
On the women’s side, junior Yina Moe-Lange (Sammamish, Wash.) will represent the squad. The second-team All-East honoree finished the carnival circuit with six top-10 finishes. Her season-best finish came at UNH, where she placed second in the slalom. She opened the year with a fourth-place effort in the GS at UVM, placing seventh in the slalom at Colby.
On the nordic side, senior Ben Lustgarten (Burlington, Vt.) is a three-time All-East selection. An All-American a year ago, Lustgarten picked up a win in the 10K classic race this season at the Middlebury Carnival. He opened the season by placing second in the 10K classic and third in the 15K free race at Colby. Lustgarten missed three carnivals while competing at the U23 World Championships before returning last weekend to Middlebury. Unfortunately, Lustgarten suffered an injury in the 20K free at the Middlebury Carnival and is unlikely to compete at the NCAAs.
Juniors Heather Mooney (Peru, Vt.) and Stella Holt (Whitefish, Mont.) will race for the Panther women. Mooney was a second-team All-East selection for the women this season. Eight top-10 finishes were on her resume in ’14, including a season-best fifth-place effort in the 10K free at Colby. She also earned a pair of sixth-place finishes in 5K races at Dartmouth and Williams.
Holt finished in the top 10 six times this season, including a season-best fourth-place finish in the 5K free race at UVM. Her other top individual finish was in the same event at UNH, where she finished ninth overall.