Minutewomen look to nationals

By Jeffrey Engman, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts women’s ski team avoided the snow storm that whitened the Northeast on Monday, as it headed to the slopes of Winter Park, Co., for the USCNA National Championships, which begin Tuesday, March 3.

UMass coach Skip Fox expressed via e-mail that he hopes his team’s good fortune will continue as the Minutewomen compete in both the giant slalom and the slalom events.

‘For things to go well at this level, there is always a bit of luck, or fate or the stars lining up to make things happen. The ladies have to ski fast and finish, it’s that simple,’ Fox said.

The Minutewomen were able to do just that last weekend, when they earned their trip out west by finishing fifth in the ESCSA Regionals. The team was able to place three skiers in the top 15 on both Saturday and Sunday en route to its top-five finish.

Captain Emily Shilletto gained experience last year, when she competed in the giant slalom at Nationals in 2008. This year she leads a UMass squad that has been without top skier Ashley Hawes since Jan. 25.

Sophomores Jaime Taloumis, Abby Nolan and Amy Gifford have grown into key contributors. This came to fruition last weekend as each were able to place in the top 20.

Although the Minutemen failed to qualify as a team last weekend, they will still be represented by one member of their team this week in Winter Park.

After finishing seventh in both the giant slalom and the slalom in last week’s Regionals, senior Alex Zahoruiko will race this week as an individual.

The Nationals will conclude on March 7.

Jeffrey Engmann can be reached at [email protected]