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Alpine ski teams kicking off season at UVM Carnival

STOWE, Vt. -- The Bates alpine ski teams open the 2013 Eastern Intercollegiate Skiing Association carnival season today with hopes high for another strong push through to NCAAs.

Bates returns two alpine skiers who have already made their NCAA Championship debuts in sophomores Avril Dunleavy (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Emily Hayes (Natick, Mass.). Dunleavy finished 23rd out of 35 competitors in the giant slalom last year at NCAAs in Montana, and took 25th place in the slalom -- in both cases, she was second-best among all women hailing from a Division III school. Hayes took 34th in the GS and 30th in the slalom, demonstrating clear promise of more good things to come.

The women's squad showed great depth of talent in 2012, beyond the two NCAA participants. Sophomores Katie Fitzpatrick (Larkspur, Calif.) ranked 15th in the East in the giant slalom, and Emily Bamford (East Melbourne, Australia), while junior Anne Rockwell (Greenville, Maine) scored for the Bobcats in several carnivals, particularly in the slalom. Senior captain Zoe Livingston (Sharon, Vt.) hopes to return from last year's mid-season injury to her previous form, which included a 12th-place showing in the GS at the 2012 UVM Carnival.

The men's team lost a pair of multi-time NCAA qualifiers to graduation in 2012, in Alex Jones '13 and Bump Heldman '12, who is now 12th-year head coach Rogan Connell's assistant coach for both squads. But an infusion of five first-year skiers looking to make a splash in Chris Bradbury (Norwich, Conn.), Cody Bullen (Newry, Maine), Jordan Cargill (Intervale, N.H.), Vince Daigle (St-Hippolyte, Quebec) and Tanner Dirstine (Boise, Idaho), will join such carnival scorers as junior captain Brent Talbott (Menlo Park, Calif.), sophomore Peter Cole (Carrabassett Valley, Maine), junior Coleman Lieb (Ray Brook, N.Y.) and senior Stefan Lyons (East Hardwick, Vt.).

Adding to the excitement for both of Bates' skiing programs this season is the fact that the Bates Carnival, slated for Feb. 22-23 at Sunday River in Newry (alpine) and Black Mountain in Rumford (Nordic), doubles this year as the NCAA East Regional Championships.