Jan. 15, 2004
With a number three preseason national ranking, the Brown University ski team enters the 2004 campaign with a great deal of promise. This year's squad possesses not only talent but also depth with the return of senior Molly Sheinberg (Woddcliff Lake, NJ) and sophomores Caitlin Stanton (Hanover, NH), Stephanie Breakstone (Sparta, NJ), Hilary Swaffield (Wolfeboro, NH) and Casey Schwarz (Portsmouth, NH).
"This year's team has the most talent and depth that Brown skiing has ever seen. Their athletic talent combined with their teamwork, dedication and attitude places them at the top of their game," says fourth-year Head Coach Karen Finocchio.
The Bears are fresh off a fourth place finish at the USCSA Championships as well as their record-breaking performance at the ECSC Regional Championships last season. Brown had four top ten finishers in the slalom to earn a second place finish, setting a new school record. In addition, Brown was the only team in the Region to place all every squad member in the top 20 overall.
Finocchio has even higher hopes for her team as they have set a new level of standards for the upcoming season. "This squad understands just how talented they are. The next step is guiding this talent towards their highest goal of standing on the podium at Nationals."
The Bears leadership begins with Sheinberg, who will captain this year's team. Despite coming off an injury, she has not missed a step in the off-season. Finocchio feels Sheinberg's dedication and commitment to the team will be what takes the Bears towards a National Title. At the Regional Championships one year ago, Sheinberg led the way for Brown tying for fifth place with teammate Adrienne Jones '03. She was one of the Bears most consistent skiers as she placed in the top three among Brown finishers on a regular basis throughout the season.
Brown's other returnees will be crucial parts to the team's success as well. All four returning sophomores had valuable freshmen campaigns last season, gaining considerable experience at the college level. Both Swaffield and Stanton were top 20 slalom finishers at Regionals. Swaffield capped off the season by being named a Second Team All-American in the women's alpine individual combined, the slalom and the giant slalom. She also earned First Team Academic All-American honors.
Breakstone had an impressive 13th place finish in the giant slalom at the Regional Championships and was an Honorable Mention Academic All-American as well. Schwartz also saw time on the slopes in her first year with the Bears.
"All of our returning skiers perform tremendously on individual basis. It is the blending of their individual abilities into a cohesive unit that creates this strong, dynamic team," says Finocchio. The Bears will welcome five newcomers this season. Kelly O'Hear (Lewiston, NY) and Janet Marley-Mauzy (Westport, CT) are seasoned and mature competitors as they both come to Brown from strong junior development programs.
Nina DiBona (Waterville Valley, NH) has followed in the footsteps of her two older sisters, Elizabeth and Doria, as she joins the Brown squad this season. Elizabeth and Doria were two of the best skiers in Brown history. "Drawing from her sisters' experience, along with her own talent level, Nina will be a strong contributor for the team," says Finocchio.
Also joining the 2004 squad is junior Tara Tunney (New York, NY), sophomore Jamie Johnson (North Kingstown, RI) and freshman Shefali Lall (New York, NY). Tunney and Lall possess strong skills that will excel throughout the season, adding even more depth to the team says Finocchio. While not new to skiing or Brown athletics, Johnson is a valuable addition to this year's squad as well. Johnson also plays soccer for the Bears as a midfielder/forward.
"I have a great feeling about this team. The momentum is building in the right direction," adds Finocchio. "This squad is filled with great kids who also happen to be great skiers. I am honored to be coaching these athletes."
Brown will open up the 2004 season at the UMass/Smith Carnival in Berkshire East, MA on Jan. 17.