CASTLETON, Vt. – The coaches and student-athletes of Castleton's winter sports gathered at the Casella Theater Tuesday night to celebrate the season's achievements and honor those who led their teams over the winter months.
On behalf of Castleton University President Dave Wolk, Scott Dikeman, Dean of Administration, presented the President's Cup for Academic Excellence, awarded each season to the team with the highest cumulative grade point average. The women's Nordic ski team received the award thanks to a 3.72 cumulative GPA.
Men's Alpine Skiing
The Spartan men's alpine ski team capped off its season with a third place finish in the combined standings at the USCSA National Championships, tied with the 2014 squad for the best finish in program history. Jan Klindic earned team MVP honors after becoming the first three-time All-American at a single national championship in Spartan history. He finished third in the slalom and 11th in the giant slalom for a fourth-place overall finish.
Women's Alpine Skiing
The Castleton women's alpine ski team finished seventh in the combined standings at the USCSA Championships after placing sixth in the slalom and seventh in the giant slalom. Team MVP Linn Ljungemo became the first skier among Castleton females to claim three All-America honors at a single national championship, finishing 13th in both the slalom and giant slalom to end up ninth in the combined standings.
The Castleton men's basketball team got off to its best start in 30 years by winning nine of its first 11 games and finished tied for second in the NAC regular season standings at 11-7 as part of a 16-9 overall record. Chad Copeland adds the team MVP award to his list of honors this season, as the fifth-year senior earned First Team All-NAC and First Team All-ECAC New England after averaging 17.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
The Spartan women's basketball team won six of its first seven games of the 2016-17 season and finished 17-9 overall, including 15-3 in the league to end up in second place. Junior Amanda Beatty came on strong in the second half of the season to earn team MVP honors, as she averaged 13.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game for the year, collecting back-to-back NAC Player of the Week as well as First Team All-NAC recognition.
Men's Ice Hockey
Castleton came on strong once the calendar changed to 2017, posting a 7-1-4 record over its last 12 regular season games and earning a home game in the NEHC Tournament, where the Spartans defeated Skidmore, 7-2. Senior Bart Moran received team MVP honors after leading Castleton with 10 goals, including eight power-play goals, as he became just the ninth player in program history to appear in over 100 career games.
Women's Ice Hockey
Despite a win over UMass-Boston earlier in the season, the Spartans needed a strong finish to host a conference tournament game, and the women's ice hockey team did just that with four victories over its final five contests. Hannah Rose led Castleton with 12 goals, including nine goals in conference games, plus she earned six assists for 18 total points, collecting team MVP honors for her play.
Men's Indoor Track and Field
In its second year of existence as a varsity sport, the men's indoor track and field team continued to show its improvement, as nine new school records were established during the 2017 season. Team MVP Grandon Smith was responsible for three individual and one relay school record during the season and qualified for the Division III New England Championships in the 600-meter run.
Women's Indoor Track and Field
Seven school records fell during the 2017 season for the Castleton women's indoor track and field team as the program continued to grow in its second season of varsity competition. Ally Stearns, the team MVP, qualified for the Division III New England Championships after breaking the school record in the weight throw with an effort of 13.38 meters, coming close to that mark as she finished 14th at the championships.
Men's Nordic Skiing
With an infusion of new competitors joining with a couple of returning skiers, the Castleton men's Nordic ski team returned to the USCSA National Championships for the second straight year and finished eighth in the combined standings. Devin Perry was named the team MVP after leading the Spartans throughout the season, including a 19th-place finish in the combined standings at the national championships.
Women's Nordic Skiing
For the first time in program history, the Castleton women's Nordic ski team qualified for the USCSA National Championships and used a fifth-place finish in the classic team sprint event to finish seventh in the final team standings. Team MVP Hahnah Saroff, the lone returning skier coming into the year, continued her improvement to help the Spartans, finishing 40th in the combined individual standings at the national meet.
It was a season of firsts for the Castleton wrestling program, including first season of competition, first dual meet victory (Nov. 5 vs. Bridgewater State), first home dual meet (Nov. 16 vs. Norwich before capacity crowd), and first tournament victory (Dec. 3 at Southern Maine). Team MVP Zak Hale won 36 matches, became Castleton's first NCAA qualifier, and earned the Spartans' first victory at the NCAA Wrestling Championships.