LEWISTON, Maine - Bates College is gearing up to host the 2009 NCAA Skiing Championships this March 11-14 at its two home venues - alpine competition will take place at Sunday River in Bethel, Maine, while the Nordic competition will be at Black Mountain in Rumford, Maine.
"Bates College is most pleased and proud to host the 2009 NCAA National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Skiing Championships and to partner with two of Maine’s outstanding skiing venues: Sunday River in Bethel and Black Mountain in Rumford," said Bates Director of Athletics Kevin McHugh. "Having just staged the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships this past May, we are certainly mindful of what a tremendous honor it is to host an event of this magnitude as well as of the significant impact that the Championships have on the participants, the spectators and the communities where the competitions take place. We will do everything in our power to provide the best-run championship and to exhibit the signature warmth and hospitality for which Bates College is known."
Unlike most NCAA sports, the skiing championships combine the top programs in the country, regardless of division. Therefore the finest skiers from larger insitutions such as defending champion Denver, runner-up Colorado, and 2007 champion Dartmouth will all vie for national titles with the likes of Division III schools such as Bates and Middlebury.
These will be the sixth NCAA Championships Bates has hosted, and the second in the past year, after serving as the site of the 2008 NCAA Division III Men's Tennis Championships in May. Bates has also hosted the NCAA Skiing Championships in 1999 and 1976, as well as the NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships in 1985.
With three consecutive top-15 finishes at the NCAA Skiing Championships, the host Bobcats aim to be a significant factor in all of the competitions. Among last year's highlights, Bates sent the maximum three female alpine skiers to NCAAs for the second straight year, and saw then-junior Nordic skier Sylvan Ellefson win his first All-America honors by taking fourth place in the 10K Freestyle race. Ellefson, who was making his third trip to NCAAs in as many years, was one of only three Americans in the top 10 and the only one from a Division III school.