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Seven Bobcats qualify for NCAA Skiing Championships

John Canney '11 made a strong final push at East Regionals to qualify for his first appearance in the National Collegiate Skiing Championships. (File photo by Lincoln Benedict '09)









INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Skiing Committee announced the 74 men and 74 women selected to participate in the 2011 National Collegiate Men's and Women's Skiing Championships, and six of them are Bates College students.

Four members of the Bates men's alpine team qualified, so the Bobcats will send the maximum number of three competitors: senior John Canney (North Clarendon, Vt.), junior Bump Heldman (Auburn, Maine) and senior Ben Manter (Vassalboro, Maine). Also qualifying for NCAAs was Bates junior Alex Jones (Whitehouse Station, N.J.).

Canney, Heldman and Manter will be joined from the Bates women's alpine team by senior Micaela Holland (Belmont, Mass.). The Bates women's Nordic team, meanwhile, will send two representatives in seniors Kirsten Gill (Jackson, N.H.) and Natalie Ruppertsberger (Plainfield, N.H.).

It will be the third career NCAA appearance for both Holland and Ruppertsberger. Heldman and Manter are both making their second straight NCAA Championship, while Canney and Gill will go for the first time. It is also Jones' first time qualifying for nationals.

NCAAs are to be held March 9-12, at the Stowe Mountain Resort and Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. The championships will be hosted by the University of Vermont.

Participants are selected on a regional basis from two designated regions for Alpine skiing (East and West Regions) and three designated regions for Nordic skiing (Central, East and West Regions). Bids are awarded to regions using a formula determined by the skiing committee. A maximum of 12 student-athletes (three per gender per discipline) may participate from an institution.

Nordic events will be held March 9 and 11 at Trapp Family Lodge. The men’s 10-kilometer and women’s five-kilometer freestyle cross-country races will be conducted March 9. The women’s 15-kilometer and men’s 20-kilometer classical races will be held March 11.

Alpine events will run March 10 and 12 at Stowe Mountain Resort. The men’s and women’s giant slaloms will be held March 10, with the men’s and women’s slaloms conducted March 12.

This year’s skiing championships will be webcast live on NCAA.com. In addition, highlights of the skiing championships will be shown on CBS at 1 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 30.

Canney made a late surge into the field with his career-best performances at the East Region Championships at Sunday River over the weekend, coming in 11th in the slalom on Saturday and 12th in the giant slalom on Sunday. Heldman and Manter have been consistently strong throughout the carnival season, though Heldman had a final flourish, taking fifth place on Saturday and a career-best fourth place on Sunday in the GS. Holland is one of only seven women from a Division III institution to be selected for the NCAA alpine competition.

Ruppertsberger is making her third straight trip to NCAAs after another outstanding carnival season. She finished in the top 10 in all five of her classic technique races on the year, while Gill excelled particularly in the freestyle races, including a fourth-place showing in the 5K Freestyle at the Dartmouth Carnival.