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Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
First NCAA team title for the College in 31 years
BARTLETT, NH – Good things come to those who wait.
After a 31-year NCAA team title drought, Dartmouth won the 2007 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Skiing Championships here Saturday, marking the first NCAA team title for the College since 1976.
The Big Green had solid performances across the board from its men’s and women’s Alpine and cross country teams, besting the University of Denver by 50 points. In the final team standings, the Big Green stood atop the heap with 698 points; Denver was second with 648; Colorado, the 2006 champion, was third with 592.
“Just awesome … great. I can’t think of any other way to put it,” said Director of Skiing Cami Thompson. “I’m so proud of every single one of them. We knew coming in to [the Championships] that there was an outside chance we could do it, and every single one of them performed as well as they possibly could.”
The championship capped an unprecedented undefeated season in which the Big Green won all six Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association carnivals, including the Eastern championship at Middlebury on Feb. 24. Dartmouth’s win was the first ski title since 1976, when the championship was split with Colorado, and the first outright title since 1958. It was also the first time an Eastern school has taken the NCAA ski crown since Vermont won in 1994.
It was a quiet dominance by the Green, which for the first time in five years did not win an individual title. But Dartmouth placed all of its racers in the top 20 of seven of the eight races contested, building up valuable team points and widening the margin against Western powers Denver and Colorado.
Dartmouth’s cross country team, the strongest and deepest in years, was the foundation for the success. The entire women’s team, including senior Sara Studebaker (Boise, ID), and juniors Susan Dunklee (Barton, VT) and Elsa Sargent (Orleans, VT) placed in the top 10 of the women’s 5-kilometer race, with Sargent in seventh, Studebaker in eighth and Dunklee in 10th. In the women’s 15-kilometer classical event two days later, Dunklee finished seventh, Studebaker 11th and Sargent 12th.
“Skiing is the type of sport where you have some good days and some bad days, and it was just amazing that it all came together,” said Dunklee. “One of my goals going into the season was to win a carnival, and I had a ton of seconds but no wins. But this makes up for it for sure.”
The men’s squad, meanwhile, held their own against the Western schools. In the men’s 10-kilometer freestyle, junior Ben True (N. Yarmouth, ME) took eighth place. Senior Mike Sinnott (Sun Valley, ID) was 18th; sophomore Glenn Randall (Collbran, CO) was 23rd. After what they considered a “disappointing” performance in the freestyle, the men turned it over in the 20-kilometer classical race, with True in fourth, Sinnott in eighth and Randall in 17th. True held the lead after three of four laps, but couldn’t quite hold on for a podium finish. “I was just trying to ski,” he said after the race. “I did a great job of getting a clean start … so we went right to the front and took control of ourselves, which is nice to be able to do. And then we just went from there.”
In Alpine racing, more solid results as senior Evan Weiss (Kenmore, WA) and junior Michelanne Shields (Colorado Springs, CO) posted top-10 finishes in giant slalom, with Weiss finishing second in the men’s race and Shields ninth in the women’s run. Weiss, junior David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO), senior Lindsay Mann (Bedford, MA) and Shields all finished in the top 10 in slalom: Chodounsky was second and Weiss eighth; Mann was fourth and Shields 10th.
For Mann, the last Dartmouth racer down the hill on Saturday, the final race of her collegiate career sealed the deal on Dartmouth’s championship.
“This is my last race,” said Mann at the finish line, “and [women’s Alpine coach] Christine [Booker] told me to just go for it and have fun.”
As one streak began, another ended for the Green. Dartmouth had taken the past five consecutive NCAA men’s slalom titles, dating back to 2002. But the streak ended when Denver’s Adam Cole edged junior Dave Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) by four-100ths of a second to take the crown.
“That’s not a bad trade,” said men’s alpine coach Peter Dodge ’78 of losing the slalom streak but winning the overall title. “Dave lost by four-hundredths. Brad Wall won by one-hundredth back in 2003, so we’ve gotten our share of close ones. We’ll just start another streak, and Dave’s got another year.”
In all, Dartmouth skiers earned a stunning 13 All America nods. With the top-10 finishers in each event named All America, the Dartmouth tally included Weiss and Shields in slalom and giant slalom; Chodounsky and Mann in slalom; True and Dunklee in classical and freestyle cross country; Sinnott in classical cross country; and Studebaker and Sargent in freestyle cross country.
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