NEW GLOUCESTER, Maine – Former University of New Hampshire Nordic skier Liz Guiney (Park City, Utah) and current Wildcat junior Annika Taylor (Truckee, Calif.) have been nominated to the 2013-14 New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA) Elite Team, while sophomore Emily Larson (Boulder, Colo.) and incoming freshman Gavin Hess (Rochester, N.Y.) have been nominated to the NENSA Development Team.
Guiney and Taylor were selected to the Elite Team in the U23 women's division, while Larson was tabbed to the junior women's team and Hess to the junior men's squad for the Development Team.
Guiney, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics earlier this month, was recently selected to the prestigious Craftsbury Green Racing Project, a non-profit organization that supports and promotes participation and excellence in lifelong sports. The two-time Wildcat Nordic team co-captain won the 2012-13 National College Men's and Women's Skiing Elite 89 award, which recognized her for reaching the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in Division I skiing while also achieving the highest academic standard among her peers. The Elite 89 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at each of the NCAA's 89 championships. Guiney, who compiled a cumulative 3.988 grade point average, earned a spot on the National Ski Coaches Association (NSCA) All-Academic Team for the fourth straight season and was the recipient of the Athletic Director's Award for Academic Excellence.
In March, the three-time member of the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) All-East Second Team competed in the NCAA Championships for the third time in her career. After missing the season's first two carnivals to compete for the United States Ski Team at the U23 World Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic (Jan. 21-27), Guiney came back with a vengeance at the Vermont Carnival, taking fourth in the 5K freestyle and fifth in the 10K classic. She capped her EISA career with a pair of team-leading sixth-place finishes at Bates (NCAA Regionals) in the 5K classic and 10K free. Guiney was ranked 10th in the region in free, classic and overall. She was tabbed to the Capital One Academic All-District Women's At-Large Team in 2010-11 and 2011-12, was a '12 NENSA Elite & Development Team nominee, won the '12 Nordic team MVP award, was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society last year and joined the Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Society last month.
Taylor was crowned the 2013 Wildcats' women's Nordic MVP after securing the team's lone berth on the All-East First Team with EISA's No. 4 ranking. Taylor garnered the EISA Female Nordic Skier of the Week honor Jan. 30 after racing to her first career victory in the Colby Carnival 15K free (Jan. 26) one day after taking second place in the 5K classic. She ignited the 'Cats to team victories in both races and amassed five top-10s during the carnival season. The two-time NSCA All-Academic Team member competed for the West at the 2012 USSA Cross Country Junior Championships in Midway, Utah. Prior to coming to UNH, Taylor captured three California Nevada Interscholastic Ski and Snowboard Federation (CNISSF) state championships (2008, '10-11) and competed for both California's Auburn Ski Club and the Far West Ski Education Association.
Larson collected a season-high 11th-place finish in the 3K prologue and a 13th-place finish in the 15K freestyle at the St. Lawrence Carnival (Jan. 18-19). She competed for the Rocky Mountain Region Junior Olympic Team before enrolling at UNH.
Hess recently signed his letter of intent to join the 'Cats this fall after competing for Rochester (N.Y.) Nordic Racing. He placed seventh in the 2013 USSA Junior Nationals freestyle sprint race after capturing first place at the New York state championships.
UNH alumni Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine; senior women), Dan Guiney (Park City, Utah; senior men) and 2013 men's Nordic co-captain and team MVP Erik Lindgren (senior men) were all tabbed as NENSA Development Team nominees, while '13 senior co-captain Anya Caldwell Bean (Wolfeboro, N.H.) and rising senior Elizabeth Izzo (Lake Placid, N.Y.) were feted as EISA qualifiers (ranked No. 6-15).
The NENSA Elite Team and Development Team exist as a program to support and facilitate the appropriate development of top athletes toward the goal of international excellence. In addition to recognition for accomplishments, the program seeks to provide incentives for athletes to seek high levels of competition. To find out more about the teams, visit www.nensa.net.
Photos courtesy Flyingpointroad.com