Ski team sends two to nationals

Alex Wagner

Assistant Sports Editor

Although they maintain a fairly low profile on campus, the members of the club ski team are a successful group of athletes, including snowboarders Josh Leighton ’14 and Sam Wilkins ’12, who qualified for the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) National Championships.

In the regional competition in Snowshoe, W. Va., Wilkins finished first for male boarders and Leighton in third, qualifying both of them for the National Championships, which began on Monday and end tomorrow in Sunday River, Maine.

“Josh and I qualified for the national snowboarding slopestyle competition by shredding the gnar harder than the other grommets while maintaining an unlimited amount of steez,” Wilkins said.

Many other Bison skiers and snowboarders have seen success on the slopes this year as well, giving the Orange and Blue their most successful season in four years. The women’s alpine team placed third in the conference while the men’s alpine team placed fourth, qualifying them both for the regional competition. Alex Cooperstone ’15 came in eighth place for male skiers and Caroline Price ’15 came in fourth for female boarders.

Despite their success, the skiers tend not to receive as much attention as other sports.

“We tend to go under the radar as we are always travelling,” said Dale Bishop ’12, president of the ski team.  “We travel every weekend to mountains in Maryland, New York, the Poconos, Southwest Pennsylvania and West Virginia.”

The Bison compete in the Allegheny Conference against schools such as Villanova, West Virginia, Navy, West Chester, Davis and Elkins and Penn State. The men’s and women’s alpine teams compete in giant slalom and slalom while the snowboard team competes in giant slalom, slopestyle and boarderX.

In addition to performing well on the slopes, the ski team prides itself on having a good time together and building strong bonds.

“Our team is extremely close and has a deep passion for what we are able to do. Our ability to spend a couple weekends away from campus and from the social norms of Bucknell has fostered a unique bond within our team,” Bishop said.

Even though this season is over for much of the team, Wilkins and Leighton look to bring a great end to their successful season by performing well in the USCSA National Championships.

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