DURHAM, N.H.  – The University of New Hampshire ski team recently held its annual team banquet in commemoration of the 2007 season and specifically honored the senior student-athletes as well as alpine head coach Kurt Simard.

The Point Champion of each discipline – Veronique Archambault-Leger (Montreal, Quebec; women’s alpine), Willie Ford (Plymouth, N.H.; men’s alpine), Sarah Wright (Wyoming, Minn.;women’s Nordic) and Rody Lageson (St. Paul, Minn.; men’s Nordic) –  earned team MVP honors.

Archambault-Leger garnered two All-America Team honors (slalom, giant slalom) and was the EISA alpine Rookie of the Year as well as league Points Champion as a freshman. She recorded a total of 14 top-10 finishes, including seven first-place efforts as well as third place in both the slalom and giant slalom at the NCAA Skiing Championships.

Ford, another freshman, competed at the NCAAs after tallying five top-10 finishes during the carnival season. His carnival highlights included a third-place finish in the slalom at the St. Michael’s Winter Carnival. Ford completed the 2007 season with an 18th place finish in the slalom at the NCAA event.

Wright qualified as an alternate for this year’s NCAA Championship. The sophomore capped a successful carnival season at the EISA Championship with 12th place in the 5K free technique and 20th in the 15K classic. She was UNH’s top finisher in six races, including a seventh-place effort in the 10K classic at the UNH Winter Carnival.

Lageson, a senior captain was UNH’s top finisher in eight races, including both the 10K free (22nd place) and 20K classic (16th) at the EISA Championship. His other 2007 highlights included a fifth-place finish in the classic sprint at the Williams Winter Carnival.

Simard, the EISA Alpine Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2006, was presented with a #1 NCAA bib in recognition of his eight years of service as head coach of the alpine program. Under his tutelage, 10 skiers garnered a total of 18 All-America Team (multiple honors in six of eight years) honors by finishing in the top 10 of an NCAA Championship. UNH sent a full allotment of six alpine skiers to the NCAAs three times during Simard’s tenure as well as five skiers four times and four skiers once. Furthermore, the Wildcats have garnered a total of 16 All-East Team honors.

The Class of 2007 included Nordic skiers Joanna Kinsman (Fryeburg, Maine), Brandy Reeves (Fairbanks, Alaska), Julianne Stemp (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) and Mandy Vincent-Lang (Anchorage, Alaska) as well as alpine skiers Meg Barnes (Amherst, N.Y.), Mindy Regii (Campton, N.H.), Spencer Cowin (Newry, Maine) and Joe Dunn (Stockbridge, Vt.).

Student-athletes who received national or regional honors were also cited for exemplary performance in the 2007 season. The NCAA All-Academic Ski Team included Archambault-Leger, Cowin, Regii, Eilleen Dent (Castorland, N.Y.), Sean McNamara (Honeoye Falls, N.Y.) and Cynthia Tessier (Rawdon, Quebec) for alpine as well Nordic skiers Kinsman, Reeves, Vincent-Lang, Marlijne Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) and Dan Demers (Adams, Mass.).

Aileen Farrell (Ottawa, Ontario) was honored alongside Archambault-Leger on the women’s slalom All-America Team. Those two student-athletes were also recognized for garnering All-East Team honors in ’07. Wright, Dunn and Tessier joined Archambault-Leger and Farrell on the All-East Team.

New Hampshire was host of the 2007 NCAA Ski Championship and finished in 11th place.
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