NCAA Skiing Championships, Dartmouth College
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March 6: Strong giant slalom showing moves Utah to top of team standings at NCAA Skiing Championships

March 5: New Mexico leads after one day of NCAA Skiing Championships


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DARTMOUTH TO HOST NCAA SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS MARCH 5-8

Contact: Rick Adams
(603) 646-2286

The nation's finest collegiate ski racers converge on Dartmouth March 5-8 for the 2003 NCAA Skiing Men's and Women's National Collegiate Championships. Nearly 150 student-athletes from more than 20 colleges and universities will compete in Alpine and cross country events at the Dartmouth Skiway in Lyme and at the Dartmouth Cross Country Ski Center at Oak Hill in Hanover.

This year marks the first time Dartmouth has hosted the Championships since 1978, when Alpine races were held at Cannon Mountain in northern New Hampshire and cross country races were held at Hanover Country Club. The selection of Dartmouth as the host for the Championships was made by the NCAA Skiing Committee last March, after the conclusion of the 2002 Championships in Anchorage, Alaska.

"We're excited and very proud to have been selected as hosts for the Championships,"says tournament committee chair and women's cross country ski coach Cami Cardenali. "Dartmouth has a long history as one of the nation's top ski programs, and the Championships' return to Hanover is long overdue."

Logistical arrangements have been in the works since 2000, when Dartmouth originally submitted a bid to host the 2001 Championships but lost out to Middlebury College. Since then, accommodations for the teams and facilities for meetings, receptions and banquets have been organized by the Hanover Inn, which will also serve as race headquarters. Improvements have been made to the race trails at the Skiway and at Oak Hill; perhaps the biggest facilities improvement has been the completion and dedication of the McLane Family Lodge at the Skiway in 2001. A host of volunteers have been organized to work on-site during the Championships, and marketing, promotion and media relations efforts have been underway since last summer.

"For me, the greatest part about hosting the Championships has been the number and caliber of people who have come forward from both inside and outside the Dartmouth community to help," noted Cardenali. "This is primarily a volunteer effort and, because of the good work of so many people, it is on track to be the best Championships ever."

Meanwhile, the biggest and most important ingredient for the Championships has been one that has been totally out of the hands of the organizers: snow. But the major winter storms of late December and early January, combined with favorable snowmaking conditions, have laid concerns about the race courses to rest.

"We've worried about snow since day one," says Dartmouth Director of Skiing and men's cross country coach Ruff Patterson, "but we're in the middle of the greatest winter since I've moved east. We're not so worried about it now."

Qualifiers for the Championships will be announced in late February, at the conclusion of the collegiate race season. The Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Associaion, the Central Collegiate Ski Association and the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association are all scheduled to hold their conference championships the weekend of Feb. 27-28; the NCAA will announce the Championships qualifiers after those races.

Among the anticipated competitors this year is Dartmouth's defending NCAA men's slalom champion Roger Brown '04, who took the slalom title last year at Anchorage. Brown is just the latest in a long Green line of NCAA champions, dating back to Chiharu Igaya '57, who won three individual titles at the 1955 Championships and who won six NCAA championships in his stellar career. Since 1954, Dartmouth skiers have notched 28 NCAA individual titles and more than 100 All America selections. Dartmouth has won two NCAA team championships, the last coming in 1976.

The teams will arrive in Hanover on the weekend of March 1-2, A parade of athletes and coaches around the Dartmouth Green will take place Monday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Championships banquet in Alumni Hall of the Hopkins Center.

Three days of training lead up to the Championships' opening event, the men's 10-kilometer and women's 5-kilometer freestyle cross country race on Wednesday, March 5. The race schedule also includes men's and women's giant slalom on Thursday, March 6; men's 20-kilometer and women's 15-kilometer classical cross country mass-start races in which all the competitors leave the starting line simultaneously on Friday, March 7; and the men's and women's slalom on Saturday, March 8. Cross country racing at Oak Hill begins at 9 a.m. on Wednesday and Friday; Alpine racing at the Skiway begins at 9:30 on Thursday and Saturday.

Shuttle bus service to the race venues will be available for spectators. For more information on the Championships, including schedules and results, go to the official NCAA Ski Championships Web site, www.dartmouth.edu/~ncaaski/

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