Courtesy Colby Sports Information
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. - Abbi Lathrop (North Conway, N.H.) saved her best for last and earned the first national championship for Colby College in skiing. Lathrop, a senior on the women's alpine team, won both runs to capture the giant slalom at the NCAA Skiing Championships at Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Lathrop is the first Colby athlete to compete against Division I schools and win a national title.
"The hill was a little rough on Monday, but I had two really good training runs on Tuesday and felt pretty confident," Lathrop said. "I had been skiing pretty well as of late and thought I could ski well. I just didn't know that skiing well would mean first place."
Lathrop took the first run in 1:07.69 and had a slight lead over Middlebury College's Megan Hughes (1:07.74) and Denver University's Florence Roujas (1:07.78). University of Vermont's Jamie Kingsbury, a rival for the past four years on the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association circuit, was a distant fourth at 1:08.08. Lathrop knew she had the meet won at the bottom of the hill when her 1:09.16 finish in the second run was posted. Roujas, who finished with a two-run total of 2:16.95, had a 1:09.17 and Lathrop just beat that time.
"My parents were still up on the hill and I didn't see them until later," Lathrop said. "My teammates, Jody Centauro and Charlie Reed, both came running at me and attacked me. We were all hugging and rolling around on the ground. Jamie Kingsbury came up and gave me a hug as well, which I thought was great sportsmanship."
Kingsbury won the giant slalom title a year ago on her home course at Stowe and Lathrop finished in second place in that race. Despite her success at the NCAA meet last year, Lathrop's best finish this year on the EISA carnival circuit was fourth at the Vermont ski carnival.
"She has skied well this year, but today she came to ski race," Colby head coach Mark Godomsky said. "It was a great hill for her because it was steep and there were lots of turns. We also got eight inches of snow this morning and they decided to do both runs on the same course. All those things helped Abbi."
Lathrop earned her fourth straight All-America honor in the giant slalom. She and twin sister, Jenny, both earned All-America honors in the slalom and giant slalom as first-year students at Colby. Jenny Lathrop left Colby after her sophomore year and made the U.S. National 'C' Ski Team.
The Colby connection does not end with Abbi and her sister. Jeff Lathrop, their father, is a member of the Colby Class of 1968 and was a ski coach at one time at Colby.
"When the two were younger it always seemed like Abbi was a little better in the giant slalom and Jenny was a little better with the slalom," Jeff Lathrop said. "They both have strengthened their weaker (events) and I'm proud of that. I've always been amazed at how much they can teach other in short periods of time."
Abbi will compete in the women's slalom on Friday and then join her sister in Alberta, Canada for a North American (Nor-Am) Championship event from March 14-17. Lathrop is the fourth Colby athlete to win an individual national championship. Todd Coffin '83, the current men's cross country and track and field coach, won the steeplechase at the outdoor track and field national meet in 1983. Jamie Brewster '00 won the hammer throw at the outdoor track and field meet in 1997, 1998 and 2000. Meanwhile, Cindy Pomerleau '97 also won in the 1997 outdoor track and field meet in the heptathlon.
Colby's 2003 women's crew won the first team championship at the College.
Women's Giant Slalom-1. Abbi Lathrop, Colby, 2:16.85; 2. Florence Roujas, DU, 2:16.95; 3. Jamie Kingsbury, UVM, 2:17.68; 4. Lucie Zikova, CU, 2:18.21; 5. Lisa Perricone, CU, 2:19.22; 6. Spela Bertoncelj, MSU, 2:20.41; 7. Kristina Repcinova, UAA, 2:20.47; 8. Stephanie Vaughan, UNH, 2:20.75; 9. Jilyne McDonald, UVM, 2:21.59; 10. Michelanne Shields, Dart., 2:21.80; 11. Leanne Smith, UNH, 2:22.46; 12. Allison Empey, UAA, 2:22.66; 13. Sydney Mikkelson, UNH, 2:24.07; 14. Mattie Ford, Midd., 2:24.69; 15. Karine Falck-Pedersen, DU, 2:25.15; 16. Zuzana Charvatova, BSU, 2:25.17; 17. Megan Papineau, Bates, 2:25.54; 18. Kristen Poehling, Midd., 2:25.60; 19. Amy Beresford, UNM, 2:26.28; 20. Erika Hogan, Utah, 2:26.69; 21. Kimberly Stephens, Utah, 2:27.26; 22. Whitney Fahy, Bates, 2:27.34; 23.Mikaela Grassl, Utah, 2:28.02; 24. Elizabeth Thompson, Bates, 2:28.63; 25.Kathrin Spendier, UNM, 2:29.98; 26. Sealy Livermore, Dart., 2:35.08; 27. Sabrina Mocellin, CU, 2:48.39; 28. Hilary McCloy, UVM, 2:51.16; 29. Jennifer Tank, DU, 3:00.88; 30. Karin Ohlin, UNM, 3:26.38; 31. Stefanie Klocker, UAA, 6:51.49. Did Not Finish-Alexandra Fucigna, Dart. (first run), Cecily Lowenthal, Will. (second run); Disqualified-Megan Hughes, Dart. (second run).