FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BATES SENDS FIVE SKIERS TO NATIONALS; HILDEBRAND NAMED ALL-EAST
LEWISTON, Maine Ð After this weekend's Eastern Intercollegiate Skiing Association (EISA) Championships at Middlebury, Vt., five Bates College skiers qualified for the NCAA National Collegiate Skiing Championships, hosted by the University of Utah March 8-11 at the Park City and Soldier Hollow Ski Centers.
The Bobcat men's alpine team will be led by sophomore Kyle Hildebrand of Waitsfield, Vt. Hildebrand was the only Bates skier to be named to the All-East team at the EISA Awards Banquet for his fifth-place finish in the giant slalom and 11th in the slalom. Hildebrand was the Bobcats' top male skier all season, posting five top-10 finishes, including the first individual race victory in school history when he captured the slalom at the University of New Hampshire Carnival, Jan. 28. Hildebrand, who placed seventh in the slalom at the Bates-hosted NCAA championships a year ago, will try to become the first Bobcat alpine skier to win multiple All-America awards.
Bates will be sending a full three-person contingent to the NCAAs for the first time with the women's alpine ski team. Sophomore Jaime Berrian of Waitsfield, Vt.; junior Janel Ippolito of Rumford Point, Maine; and first-year skier Kim Rogers of Charlestown, Mass., helped the Bobcats to their first-ever team victory in a single event earlier this season when Bates finished in a three-way tie for first in the giant slalom at the Saint Lawrence University Carnival, Jan. 23.
Rogers was Bates' most consistent skier of the year, never finishing below 16th place in any race. She boasted five top-10 finishes this season, including third place in the GS at the Williams Carnival, Feb. 19, and fifth place finishes in that event at St. Lawrence and the University of Vermont.
Co-captain Ippolito will be the only Bates woman making a return trip to the NCAAs this year. This year, Ippolito finished among the top 20 in every race, saving her best performance for Middlebury, where she placed seventh in the slalom, clinching her berth in the NCAAs. Her only other top 10 performance was an eighth-place finish in the giant slalom at Vermont. Last season, Ippolito placed 21st in the nation in both the slalom and the GS at the national championships at Sunday River in Newry.
Berrian had the team's single best performance of the season at Saint Lawrence, finishing fourth overall. She was injured for much of the rest of the season, but had two finishes in the top 30 at Middlebury.
"I am very excited about this year's team," said head alpine coach Ric Mackey. "With Kyle's experience and the depth on the women's side, I think we have a chance to do very well in Utah."
The Bobcats will also send one Nordic skier to the NCAA championships, first-year performer Justin Easter of Jay, Maine. In 11 races this season, Easter had nine top 25 finishes. Needing his best performance of the season at Middlebury to qualify for the NCAAs, Easter turned in a 15th-place finish in the 20K classical event with a time of 58:34.3, just making the postseason by four seconds. This will be the second NCAA Championship appearance for Easter, who helped the Bates' men's cross country team to a 10th place finish in the fall. He is also a three-time Maine state class C champion in both classical and freestyle skiing.
"This was an impressive performance by Justin," said Bates head Nordic coach Becky Woods '89. "He performed well under pressure in the past and this was no different. This should give Justin a lot of confidence heading into nationals."