CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine – A freshman on the Plymouth State University men’s ski team brought home a national championship in the giant slalom Thursday at the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) National Championships, held at Sugarloaf Mountain.
PSU freshman Josh Bedard (Laconia, N.H.) finished in first place over two GS runs among the 101 skiers to claim the national title. He is the first Plymouth State men’s skier to win a national championship since Pat McNamara earned the slalom and combined alpine individual title in 1985. Doug Karwoski also won the individual combined in 1981.
Bedard’s outstanding performance led the Panthers to a third-place finish among the 19 schools. 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, and the University of British Columbia and the University of Massachusetts Amherst rounded out the top five.
“We’ve been stronger all year in the slalom more than the GS,” said PSU veteran head coach Kim 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 (left) 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.
“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.
The championships continue on Friday and Saturday with the women’s and men’s slalom, respectively.
— 30 —