CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine — Freshman Josh Bedard finished first in the giant slalom Thursday, March 9 at the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) National Championships, held at Sugarloaf Mountain. Bedard, of Laconia, placed first among 98 skiers during two giant slalom races to claim the national title. He is the first Plymouth State men’s skier to win a national championship since Doug Karwoski earned the combined alpine individual title in 1981.
Bedard’s outstanding performance led the PSU men’s ski team to a third-place finish among the 19 schools at the championship. Defending champion Sierra Nevada College won the team title, while Rocky Mountain College was runner-up. PSU was the top Eastern team in third place, followed by the University of British Columbia in fourth place and the University of Massachusetts Amherst in fifth.
The team’s performance on the giant slalom delighted PSU veteran head coach Kim Bownes.
“We’ve been stronger all year in the slalom more than the GS,” said Bownes, “So I thought we had a chance to win a race this year, but I didn’t think it would be in the GS. Josh is a really good slalom skier, and he’s been working on his GS all year, so it was thrilling to see him win.”
Bedard was one of four Panther skiers to finish in the top 25 on Thursday. Sophomore Jason Hey (Northboro, Mass.) earned Second Team All-America honors with a 13th place, while senior Topher Harlow (North Conway, N.H.) placed 21st and classmate Skip Bartlett (Silver Lake, N.H.) finished 23rd. Senior Chad Demetry (Francestown, N.H.), who has been the most consistent skier on the team all season, fell and did not finish.
Bownes also praised the Panthers’ teamwork and persistence, which led to outstanding individual and team performances.
“In the second run, our guys really held it together,” said Bownes. “They really skied as a team.”
The Panthers qualified for this year’s USCSA National Championships by finishing in a tie for first at the Eastern Regional Championships last month at Waterville Valley.
Plymouth State University (PSU) is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students. PSU offers 42 majors and 62 minors in programs that include education, business, humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. The College of Graduate Studies offers coursework that promotes research, best practices and reflection in locations on- and off-campus as well as online. For non-traditional students, PSU’s Frost School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers working professionals opportunities to pursue an undergraduate degree by attending classes in the evenings, weekends and online. Located in a beautiful New England setting, Plymouth State University has been recognized as one of the “Best in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review.