DURHAM, N.H.  – The University of New Hampshire ski team have the opportunity to race at home not once but twice in the 2007 season, as the Wildcats are host of the Wildcat Carnival on Jan. 26-27 as well as the NCAA Ski Championship from March 7-10 in Cory Schwartz’s 22nd season as coordinator and head coach of the Nordic squad.
    UNH recorded the highest team score in the giant slalom at the 2006 NCAA Ski Championship to lead the event after one day of competition, and the Wildcats’ ninth-place finish marked the team’s highest since 2002, when they were also ninth.
    Sophomore Sean McNamara (Honeoye Falls, N.Y.) earned All-America status in both the slalom and giant slalom at last year’s NCAAs. Senior Joe Dunn (Stockbridge, Vt.) earned All-America honors in the slalom and Joanna Kinsman (Fryeburg, Maine) was an NCAA competitor in the Nordic events for the ‘Cats.
    McNamara was a two-time All-America selection and the top point scorer for the men’s alpine squad as a rookie in 2006. He raced to a fifth-place finish in both the slalom and giant slalom races at the NCAA Championship. He was named to the All-East Second Team after placing fourth in the slalom and eighth in the giant slalom at the EISA Championship and also garnered All-Academic Ski Team honors.
    Dunn placed sixth in the slalom as well as 19th in the giant slalom at the 2006 NCAAs, which marked his third time competing in the national championship event; he placed 14th in the 2003 slalom and 21st in the giant slalom that year and also competed in 2004. Dunn excelled in slalom last season. He started the year with fourth place at Colby, also took fourth at Williams and recorded two other top-10 finishes in that event.
    Kinsman, a senior and second-year captain, was UNH’s only Nordic representative at the 2006 NCAA Ski Championship, where she placed 31st in the 5K classic and 37th in the free technique, and was the team’s top point scorer in the carnival season by consistently placing in the top 20. Her 2006 season highlights included a pair of strong performances at the EISA Championship, where she was 11th in the 5K classic and 15th in the 15K free.
    In addition to Kinsman, Heather Zimmerman (Bethel, Maine), Sarah Wright (Wyoming, Minn.), Mandy Vincent-Lang (Anchorage, Alaska), Emily Eastman (Intervale, N.H.) and Brandy Reeves (Fairbanks, Alaska) all earned points for the UNH women’s Nordic team in last year’s carnival season.
    Eastman is a junior captain whose 2006 highlights included 27th place in 15K free race, which earned points for the ‘Cats, and 20th in 5K classic at the Dartmouth Classic. She also placed 35th in the 10K free at the Williams Carnival.
    Reeves, a senior and two-time All-Academic Team selection, pointed for UNH with 27th place in the 5K classic at the UVM Carnival. Vincent-Lang, another senior and All-Academic Team honoree, earned points for the ‘Cats at the EISA Championship with 30th place in the 5K classic race. In the carnival season, her highlights included 21st place at the UVM 5K classic and 30th at the Williams 10K free.
    Zimmerman capped her 2006 season with a strong performance in the 15K free technique at the EISA Championship, where the junior took 19th place. She pointed in every carnival last season and that included 10th place in the 15K free at Colby.
    Wright, a sophomore, placed ninth in the 15K free technique race at last year’s EISA Championship. She also pointed in the 5K classic race at the EISAs with 25th place and was one of the team’s top three finishers at every carnival. Prior to the EISA meet, her best finish was 18th place in the St. Lawrence 5K classic.
    The men’s Nordic team will be led by senior captain Rody Lageson (St. Paul, Minn.) and sophomores Shane MacDowell (Peru, Mass.) and Daniel Lewis (Jackson, Wyo.).
    Lageson pointed for New Hampshire in both Nordic events at the 2005 Eastern Championships and in four of seven races during that carnival season. MacDowell and Lewis were two of the most consistent point scorers for UNH in ’06. The former pointed in both the 20K free (24th place) and 10K classic (28th) at the EISA Championship and the latter was one of the team’s top three finishers in the 10K classic at that event. MacDowell finished as high as sixth place (Colby; classic race) while Lewis’ top performance was 13th place at the UVM 10K classic.
    Two other top returning skiers are 2006 All-Academic Ski Team selections Tim Baucom (Walpole, N.H.) and Andrew Morehouse (North Creek, N.Y.). both of whom are also sophomores. Baucom was one of UNH’s top finishers in the 20K free at the EISA Championship while Morehouse’s season highlight was 17th place in the Williams 10K free.
    New Hampshire’s alpine teams are led by eighth-year coach Kurt Simard, who has named EISA Alpine Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year – and third time overall – in 2006. Although five of the six 2006 NCAA participants do not return to this year’s squad, a number of talented skiers return to the slopes to make the ‘Cats a formidable force.
    The women’s squad lost Sydney Mikkelson and Stephanie Vaughan to graduation, as well as Leanne Smith to a year of training with the U.S. Ski Team. But junior Ashley Ladd (Plymouth, N.H.) was a 2006 NCAA qualifier as a consistent point qualifier in the carnival season. She placed seventh in the slalom at the Colby Carnival and earned 12th place in that event at both Williams and Dartmouth.
    Two of the other top returning skiers are Mindy Regii (Campton, N.H.) and Eileen Dent (Castorland, N.Y.). Regii, a senior captain, factored into the team scoring in both races at the 2006 Vermont Carnival with 14th place in the giant slalom and 15th place in the slalom. Her other highlights from last season included 19th place in the giant slalom at Dartmouth. Dent’s carnival season was highlighted by a 17th-place finish in the slalom at St. Lawrence.
    The men’s alpine squad lost David Koop and John Martz, but McNamara will headline a strong contingent. Senior captain Spencer Cowin (Newry, Maine) is part of that group. His 2006 highlights included a pair of 14th-place finishes – in the slalom at Dartmouth as well as in the giant slalom at St. Lawrence.
    Randall Bloom (Norwalk, Conn.) and Michael Cremeno (Pembroke, N.H.) were 2006 NCAA qualifiers. Bloom recorded a top-10 finish at the EISA Championship with sixth place in the giant slalom, and he pointed in every carnival. He had three other top-10 finishes, including fourth place in the giant slalom at both Dartmouth and St. Lawrence. Cremeno also excelled in the giant slalom. He finished third at Dartmouth and fourth at Williams.
    New Hampshire opens the 2007 season this weekend (Jan. 19-20) at St. Michael’s. The UNH Carnival and NCAA Ski Championship will be held at the Attitash and Jackson XC venues in New Hampshire.
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