Nordic Team Boasts Several All-East Honors; Johnson is Coach of the Year

(L-R): Cate Brams and head coach Andrew Johnson
(L-R): Cate Brams and head coach Andrew Johnson

Five members of the nordic ski team were recently recognized with All-East honors from the EISA. Senior Cate Brams (Belmont, Mass.) was named to the first team, while classmate Katie Feldman (Ketchum, Idaho) earned second-team honors. On the men's side, senior Adam Luban (Syracuse, N.Y.), junior Sam Wood (Harpswell, Maine) and first-year racer Peter Wolter (Hailey, Idaho) were all named to the second team. In addition, Wolter was deemed the EISA Rookie of the Year, while head coach Andrew Johnson earned EISA Coach of the Year honors. Long-time Middlebury assistant coach Patty Ross was also recognized with the EISA Service Award.

Brams is ranked fifth overall in the east, holding down the third spot in the classic and seventh in freestyle. She has been consistent all season long, placing in the top 11 during 10 of 11 events this season. Her best finishes of the season came in the 5K classical races, where she placed second at both St. Michael's and Williams. At the Middlebury Carnival, Brams took home fifth-place honors in the 5K classic and 15K freestyle events.

Feldman has also been a consistent finisher for the Panthers this season with eight top-10 finishes. Her top placing of sixth came on four different occasions this winter, including in the 15K freestyle race at the Middlebury Carnival. She is ranked eighth overall in the east, holding the eighth spot in the freestyle and ninth in the classic.

The Middlebury men are ranked sixth (Wolter), seventh (Wood) and eighth (Luban) in the east. Wolter's rookie season has been impressive with six top-10 finishes. His best effort of the year came at St. Michael's, where he finished second overall in the 15K free in just his third collegiate race. Wolter followed that up with a third-place effort in the 10K classic the following weekend at Vermont. In the eastern rankings, he is seventh in the free and eighth in the classic.

Wood steadily improved all season long, culminating in a win during the 10K classic race at Williams. He garnered six top-10 efforts this year, including sixth in the 15K free at St. Michael's. He is ranked fifth in the classical and 14th in the freestyle in the east.

Luban's best weekend of the year came at Vermont, where he placed second in the 20K free and sixth in the 10K classic. He ended the season with a fifth-place effort in the 20K free on his home course at Rikert. Luban is ranked fourth in the free and 12th in the classic with five top-10 finishes this season.

Johnson earns EISA Coach of the Year honors after leading the Panther nordic squad to its most impressive season since 2006, when it qualified a full squad for the NCAAs. With relatively little turnover from last year's squad, Johnson and assistant coach Kate Barton led the team to some impressive finishes, including a win in the men's 10K race at Williams. Johnson is now in his fifth season, as the former Panther skier and two-time U.S. Olympian came to Middlebury from the University of Vermont, where he served as an assistant coach for three years, helping the Catamounts to the 2012 NCAA title.

Long-time Middlebury assistant nordic coach Patty Ross earned the EISA Service Award, for her 29 years of work with the organization and the Panther nordic program. Ross transitioned into a new administrative role at Middlebury in the fall of 2016. During her time, she coached 18 Panthers who achieved All-American status. Three of her former skiers, Garrott Kuzzy '06, Simi Hamilton '09, and current head Nordic coach Andrew Johnson, represented the United States in the Olympic Games.