SKI TEAM TO COMPETE AT NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS THIS WEEK
WILLIE FORD

NCAA Championship Page

Alpine course preview
Nordic course preview

DURHAM, N.H. – Led by All-East First Team honorees Willie Ford (Plymouth, N.H.) and Sean McNamara (Honeoye Falls, N.Y.), the University of New Hampshire ski team will have a full alpine contingent and seven student-athletes overall competing at the 2009 National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Skiing Championships. The event, hosted by Bates College, will be held March 11-14 at Sunday River (Bethel, Maine) and Black Mountain (Rumford, Maine).

Ford and McNamara will be joined in the alpine competition by All-East Second Team selections Michael Cremeno (Pembroke, N.H.), Veronique Archambault-Leger (Verdun, Quebec) and Aileen Farrell (Ottawa, Ontario), as well as Cynthia Tessier (Rawdon, Quebec). Sarah Wright (Wyoming, Minn.) will be the lone Wildcats’ competitor in the Nordic events.

 

SARAH WRIGHT

The 2009 season is coming full circle for these ‘Cats, who opened the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) season Jan. 23-24 at the Bates Winter Carnival. Ford, McNamara and Archambault-Leger all raced to a pair of top-10 finishes at that event. Ford skied to second place in the giant slalom and seventh in the slalom while McNamara was fourth in the SL and eighth in the GS; Archambault-Leger finished fourth in the slalom and fifth in the giant slalom.

Farrell raced to seventh place in the slalom and 12th in the GS at Bates, while Tessier placed 19th in the slalom and 26th in the giant slalom that weekend. Cremeno’s weekend was highlighted by a 13th-place finish in the giant slalom. Wright, meanwhile, took seventh in the 15K freestyle and 23rd in the 5K classic.

Ford, the East’s second seed in the giant slalom and third seed in the slalom, recorded three first-place finishes in 2009 and that included a sweep of the slalom and giant slalom at the Dartmouth Carnival. He had previously won the giant slalom at the UNH Carnival. Ford recorded eight other top-10 finishes, including five in the top-5. His other highlights included the aforementioned second place in the Bates giant slalom and third place in the UNH slalom. He ended the Eastern circuit with sixth place in the giant slalom and eighth in the slalom at the EISA Regional Championships.

This will be Ford’s third consecutive trip to the NCAAs. He finished 11th in last year’s slalom following an 18th-place finish in that event in ’07.

McNamara, who garnered All-America accolades in ’06 and ’08, capped the Eastern carnivals by winning the giant slalom and finishing second in the slalom at the EISA Regional Championships. He finished in the top 10 in all 12 races this season with 10 top-5 finishes overall. McNamara was the top ’Cat in six of 12 races and that included both Middlebury Carnival events in which he was second overall in the SL and third in the GS. He also earned second place in the UVM slalom and UNH giant slalom.

McNamara, the second seed out of the East in the slalom and fourth in the GS, is making his fourth NCAA championship appearance in as many years. He garnered All-America status last year with a 10th-place finish in the giant slalom; he also took 13th in the slalom. In 2007, he placed 12th in the slalom. As a freshman, McNamara was a two-time All-America honoree for finishing fifth in both disciplines.

Cremeno, who also skied at the 2008 NCAAs, tallied five top-10 finishes in ’09. He finished third overall in the slalom at the Easterns. He had also took third place in the giant slalom at the UNH Carnival and was the top ‘Cat with second place overall in the giant slalom at Vermont. Cremeno’s other highlights included sixth place in the GS at Middlebury and seventh place in that discipline at Dartmouth; he was the second-fastest UNH skier in both races. He is the fifth seed out of the East in the giant slalom.

Archambault-Leger, a two-time All-American, finished in the top-5 six times during the ’09 carnival season and was the top ‘Cat in all six of those races. In the opener at Bates, Archambault-Leger took fourth place in the slalom and fifth place in the giant slalom. The following week at UNH, she placed third overall in the slalom. That was her highest placing of the season; she also took third in the giant slalom at UVM.

As a freshman in 2007, Archambault-Leger finished third in both the slalom and giant slalom at the NCAA championships. Last year, she was 13th in the slalom. This week, she is the fifth seed out of the East in the slalom and eighth in the giant slalom.

Farrell finished in the top-10 in 11 of 12 races during the Eastern carnival circuit and finished no lower than 12th place this season. She was the top UNH skier in six of 12 events and that included both the giant slalom and slalom at the EISA Regional Championships with sixth- and ninth-place finishes, respectively. Farrell raced to a second-place finish in the UNH giant slalom and took eighth place that weekend in the slalom. She was more consistent in the slalom with finishes of seventh (twice), eighth (twice) and ninth (twice) but had higher marks of fourth and sixth place in the GS.

Farrell has skied to All-America status each of her first two years as a Wildcat. Last year, she placed sixth in the slalom. In ’07, she was seventh in the slalom and also placed 14th in the giant slalom.  At this year’s NCAAs, Farrell is the East’s sixth seed in the giant slalom and 11th seed in the slalom.

Tessier recorded a pair of top-10 finishes in the 2009 circuit. The highlight of her season was the UNH Carnival, where she placed third in the giant slalom and 11th in the slalom. The following week, Tessier was 10th in the slalom at Vermont. She tooke 11th in the GS at Dartmouth as well as 15th in the slalom that weekend. Tessier wrapped up the Eastern portion of the year with 12th in the giant slalom and 14th in the slalom at the EISAs.

Tessier also competed at the NCAAs as a freshman in 2007, and she was 21st in the slalom competition. This year, she enters the NCAA Championship as the East’s 12th seed in the giant slalom and 17th seed in the slalom.

Wright, who competed at last year’s NCAAs and was 25th in the 5K free, has had a particularly strong 2009 season in the freestyle races and is the eighth seed out of the East. She duplicated her seventh-place finish from Bates’ 15K free in subsequent weeks at UNH (10K free) and Vermont (5K free). She then finished eighth in the 10K free at Dartmouth and, most recently at the Eastern Regional Championships, placed sixth in the 15K free. Wright also tallied top-20 finishes in classic races at UNH (eighth), Middlebury (16th) and Easterns (16th).

Alpine events will run March 11 and 13 at Sunday River. The men’s and women’s giant slalom will be held on the opening day of competition and the men’s and women’s slalom will be conducted March 13.

Nordic events are scheduled for March 12 and 14 at Black Mountain. The men’s 10-kilometer and women’s 5K classical races will be March 12. The men’s and women’s 15K freestyle races conclude the four-day competition.

UNH has finished in 11th place overall in each of the last two NCAA championships.

 

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