March 15, 2010

The Middlebury ski team ended its season with a 10th place finish at the 2010 NCAA Championships hosted by the University of Colorado. Denver won the national title with 714 points, followed by Colorado (714), New Mexico (677), Utah (595) and Dartmouth (523). The Panthers finished with 270.5 points, fourth among eastern schools.

            The giant slalom event took center stage on day one of the championships, with the Panther men placing fifth overall with three racers, while the women came in 10th with two skiers in action.

            First-year racer Bryan Shpall (Englewood, Colo.) continued his impressive rookie season, earning first-team All-American honors with a fourth place finish in the GS, with a time of 1:49.28. Next for the Panthers was junior Jacob Lund (Hudson, Wis.), who came in 20th in 1:51.34 in the 31-man race. Junior Bobby Poehling (LaCrosse, Wis.) rounded out the Middlebury racers in 24th place (1:59.13) overall. The second run in the men's GS took place in a blinding snow storm.

            The women's GS qualifiers struggled a bit on day one, unable to crack the top 20 in the 35-person event. Junior Nicole Dvorak (Essex Junction, Vt.) was the top finisher in 23rd place with a combined time of 1:58.99. Her time of 56.38 on the second run was the fifth-best in the field. Junior Tasha Woodworth (Carlisle, Mass.) finished the event in 30th place, earning a combined time of 2:03.57.

            On day two, junior Patrick Johnson (Anchorage, Alaska) just missed All-American honors for the men in the 10K classical race. The junior finished the event in 11th place with a time of 30:32, third among eastern skiers. On the women's side, senior Lauren Fritz (Chugiak, Alaska) turned in a 31st place finish in the 5K classic, earning a time of 19:22.

            Poehling earned All-American honors for the men in the slalom on Friday night. The junior earned a sixth place finish with a combined time of 1:16.22. Lund had a solid race with a 12th place (1:16.75) finish, while Shpall fell during his second run.

            Dvorak came in 23rd place for the women in the slalom, finishing with a time of 1:24.33. Woodworth wasn't as fortunate, falling during her second run to finish 32nd in 1:56.63.

            Day four concluded the championship with the women's 15K freestyle race and the men's 20K events. Johnson became an All-American at the championships, earning the honor with an eighth place finish in the 20K free with a time of 49:33. Fritz competed for the women, placing 36th overall in 47:13.

• end of season