QUEENSBURY, N.Y. – Racing two slalom races on Saturday and a giant slalom on Sunday, the Castleton University women's alpine ski team recorded three first-place finishes in competition at West Mountain.
Beginning with Saturday's original slalom, Li Aunes recorded her first collegiate victory, crossing the line in 1:48.73. Topping the podium by more than four seconds, Aunes used the momentum she established to pick up another first-place finish in the evening slalom.
Behind Aunes, Castleton took home the top team prize through all four runs of the slalom. During the day, the Spartans collected a near-eight second victory with a combined time of 5:46.33, beating out the University of Connecticut and Babson. Meanwhile, later on in the shortened sprint edition of the slalom – run as a makeup to the postponed Okemo event earlier in the year --, Castleton picked up the win by over 17 seconds (4:43.83).
Kylie Mackie and Sabrina Easton rounded out the scoring Spartans during the day. Mackie placed fourth overall behind a 1:53.92, while Easton notched a career-best 2:02.01 in ninth. Making noise in the top 20 racers, Ellie Frischmon (2:03.68), Lauren Reck (2:05.40), Megan O'Shea (2:06.22) and Kirsten Kruk (2:09.07) were within six seconds of each other.
Following Aunes (1:20.36) second win of the day and of her collegiate career, Mackie raced to a 1:21.70 split to claim third overall. The latter was just 18-hundredths of a second behind the runner-up finisher from UConn. Continually helping the Spartan cause, Linn Ljungemo finished just outside the money in fourth but did more than enough to help the team clinch first.
Behind Ljungemo, Kirsten Kruk, Frischmon, O'Shea and Houston all raced the evening runs with splits inside the top 15 with Houston tallying a career-best time.
Competing in the giant slalom on Sunday, Castleton completed the weekend sweep, this time by four seconds. Ljungemo captured a first-place tie, while Mackie and Kruk took fourth and sixth. Rounding out the top 10 skiers, Aunes continued her impressive and strong weekend with a 2:17.70 combined time.
Castleton returns to action at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday as it participates in a couple of FISU-sanctioned slalom events at Proctor Academy in New Hampshire.
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