BABSON PARK, Mass.—Following a historic 2018 campaign that featured two of the best finishes in program history at the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) National Championships, the Babson College men's and women's alpine ski teams will look to continue their tradition of success in 2019.
WHAT'S OLD IS NEW
A fixture within the program since the 1980s, Joe Harty begins his fourth stint as the Beavers' head coach in 2019. Harty, who last was in charge of the program in 2011, led the women to three straight division titles and their first national championship appearance in school history in 1991. The 1989 USCSA Eastern Division Coach of the Year also guided the men to a trio of national championship berths and helped them finish sixth in 2006.
RISING TO THE TOP
The Babson men reached the USCSA National Championships for the 11th year in a row last winter and nearly left Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, N.Y., with the program's first national title. Following a fifth-place finish in the giant slalom, the Beavers won the slalom by four one-hundredths of a second to force a four-way tie atop the combined standings with Castleton, Rocky Mountain and Sierra Nevada. Despite officially coming in fourth, the result was the second highest in school history behind 2013's third-place showing.
After going nearly two decades without qualifying for nationals as a team, the Babson women have become one of the top programs in the east as well as an emerging national contender with three straight top-five finishes at USCSA nationals. Following a breakthrough 2016 campaign that concluded with a fourth-place showing at nationals, the Beavers have recorded two straight runner-up finishes in the MacConnell Division, tied for second at last year's regional championships, and posted the best result in program history by coming in fourth at nationals in 2018.
The lone returners from last year's squad, senior Olivia Burwell (Manchester Center, Vt.) and junior Elizabeth Baer (Salt Lake City, Utah) will be counted on by Harty to help the Babson women contend in the MacConnell Division. Burwell posted six top-20 finishes in 14 races last winter and came in 18th in the league standings. A four-time All-American, Baer boasts back-to-back top-five finishes in the MacConnell Division standings and came in eighth in the slalom and ninth in the GS at nationals in 2018.
Junior Jack Blanchard (Dover, Mass.) and MacIntyre Henderson (Park City, Utah) are looking to repeat their superb 2018 results that led to both men finishing on the podium when the combined standings were announced at the USCSA National Championships. Blanchard placed second in the slalom, tied for the fourth in the GS and was second in the combined standings to earn three All-America awards in Lake Placid. Henderson was third in the combined standings, is one of just two six-time All-Americans in program history, and is the only skier in program annals to collect three All-America honors in two separate seasons.
Juniors Sean Robinson (Reno, Nev.) and Eli Wolfson (Woodland Hills, Calif.) are both looking to build upon a number of strong performances last winter. Robinson, who is a two-time All-MacConnell Division selection, recorded a trio of top-10 finishes and came in 13th in the slalom at nationals. Wolfson registered five of his seven top-25 results in the giant slalom and placed 45th in the GS in his USCSA National Championships debut last March.
FAMILIAR STOPS ON REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
In addition to their opening carnival at Okemo, the Beavers and their MacConnell Division competitors will return to Pat's Peak, Whiteface, West Mountain and Proctor Ski Area during their five-week regular season.
THE ROAD TO NATIONALS
The USCSA Eastern Regional Championships return to Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley, Maine, for the first time since 2014 in late February. Should Babson finish in the top five it would qualify for the national championships in Jackson Hole, Wyo.