March 6, 2004

Brown Skiers Place Fourth In Slalom and Tenth In Giant Slalom At Nationals

March 6, 2004

Sugarloaf, ME - The Brown ski team completed the 2004 season with fourth and tenth place finishes in the slalom and giant slalom at the USCSA National Championships in Sugarloaf, ME. The Bears faced very challenging course conditions in both races but held their ground as four garnered All-American honors.

In the giant slalom, which was filled with many blind turns and steep pitches, high winds challenged visibility. Brown showed its resilience and after the first run, was positioned in second place.

The Bears did, however, suffer some setbacks. Freshman sensation Kelly O'Hear along with fellow freshman Janet Marley-Mauzy both fell in their first runs, costing them many seconds. Sophomore Stephanie Breakstone stepped up and skied a tremendous first run to keep Brown in the hunt for the National Title.

Going into the second run, the Bears had no margin of error as only three times would count. Freshman Nina DiBona came through with a solid run, putting her in the tenth spot overall to earn All-American status. Breakstone repeated her steadfast, strong skiing and secured a 19th overall finish as she too received All-American honors. Sophomore Hilary Swaffield came into the course skiing strong and fast, but the tough course conditions caused her to slide on her hip and hike. Refusing to give up, Swaffield finished the course.

Snow, sleet, freezing rain and winds plagued the women's slalom. To make matters worse, fog began to creep its way down the hill throughout the day. With four years under her belt, Bears' captain Molly Sheinberg was set for her final race of her Brown career. Coming off an injury in the fall, Sheinburg skied tremendously given the difficult course set, extremely challenging steep pitches and tough visibility. Despite bobbling in the first run, O'Hear dominated second run with the fifth fastest time placing her in eighth overall.

In her first run, DiBona was easily skiing her best slalom of the season, but unfortunately had a fall and hike placing in 74th. Not to be discouraged, DiBona came out strong in her second run and flew into the finish with the eighth fastest second run time.

Swaffield skied two very solid, aggressive runs. Her strong skiing earned her a 16th overall finish. Marley-Mauzy made the greatest leap for the Bears. Starting in 91st position, she attacked the hill and course from start to finish moving her into a 23rd overall finish. Swaffield and O'Hear earned All-American status in slalom for their overall finishes.

"This team proved themselves to be contenders on the national level," said Head Coach Karen Finocchio. "Unfortunately they took some risks and things did not fall in their favor. That's skiing racing though."

"It takes two runs of every race and each run is different. I could not be more pleased with the efforts that I saw from this team. I have to keep reminding myself that they are young still. They still have a lot more time to develop. If they are already skiing this well, I cannot wait to see what next year will hold," added Finocchio.

"This team would not have gotten this far if it were not for Molly Sheinberg's leadership," said Finocchio of her team captain. "With the onset of the season, Sheinberg was not certain that she would be able to ski. She committed herself to hours of physical therapy in the fall and come January she was skiing. She suffered a small setback midseason that again took her off the ski hill. While personally frustrated, Sheinberg led this squad to an incredible season. She showed exceptional maturity while having to watch from the sidelines. It was her perseverance and commitment to this squad that were crucial for its success. As she graduates, there is no doubt her shoes will be difficult to fill."

Overall results from the 2004 USCSA National Championships will be announced tonight. Complete results will be available at a later date.