Panther skiers excel in shortened NCAAs

PANTHER NORDIC SKIER Sophia Laukli finished second in the women’s 5-kilometer race on March 12 to help the Panthers win the event at the NCAA championships in Montana. Middlebury stood in third place overall when the meet was called off. Courtesy of NCAA Photos

PANTHER LUCIA BAILEY’S fifth-place finish in the March 11 giant slalom led three Middlebury College skiers in the top eight in the event at the NCAA championships in Montana. The Panther team overall was in third when the event was cancelled. Courtesy of NCAA Photos

BOZEMAN, Mont. — The Middlebury College ski team stood in third place after two days of racing at the NCAA skiing championships in Bozeman, Mont., last week before NCAA officials canceled the final two days of the event due to the threat posed by the novel coronavirus. 

Utah led the competition with 293 points, followed by Denver (261) and the Panthers (216) in events hosted by Montana State University.

In March 12 Nordic action the Middlebury women won the 5-kilometer freestyle event as Sophia Laukli and Alexandra Lawson earned All-American honors.  

Laukli finished in second with a time of 13:25. Lawson came in sixth in 14:05. Annika Landis took 16th place in the 40-person field with a time of 14:35.

Peter Wolter also earned All-American recognition by taking ninth in the men’s 10K freestyle race with a time of 24:40. Unfortunately his teammate, Willson Moore, was sick that day and unable to race. 

March 11 featured the men’s and women’s giant slalom races at the Bridger Bowl and saw four Panthers become All-Americans.  

All three Middlebury women earned All-American honors by placing in the top eight. Lucia Bailey led the pack, finishing the race fifth with a two-run time of 1:54.52. Ali Nullmeyer moved up five spots from her first run to place sixth, covering the course in 1:54.83. Nina Reichhelm also had a great second run, moving from 20th to eighth place with a time of 1:55.41. The women’s team placed second in the event.

Tim Gavett led the men’s squad on day one, going from ninth into a tie for sixth place in the GS, completing his two runs in 1:48.21. Erik Arvidsson took 21st, compiling a time of 1:49.68. Justin Alkier was 16th after his first trip down the hill, but failed to complete his second run.

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