By Erin Eschels
While many were celebrating Valentine’s weekend, the MSU Alpine Ski and Snowboard Teams traveled nine hours to Marquette Mountain on Friday, Feb. 12 to compete in the Mid-West Regionals competition. Thanks to the Men’s and Women’s Ski Team finishing in first place, as well as a first place finish by the Women’s Snowboard Team and a second place Men’s Snowboard Team at Divisionals the previous week, all four teams received berths to compete for the Regional championships in the Upper Peninsula.
Competitors faced temperatures down to -15 degrees for seven different events over the course of two days. However to the collegiate racers, it was worth it to have the opportunity to compete for the last three spots needed for the annual United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) National Championships.
Unlike regular season races for MSU Alpine, over 20 colleges around the Mid-West were represented at the competition, including Big Ten schools, Michigan, Ohio State, Minnesota, and Northwestern. To qualify for Nationals, a team must land on the podium in one of the top three spots for their respective events.
Michigan State took home three team trophies and that opportunity to race on a national level. MSU Men’s skiing and snowboarding both placed in the competitive top three, and Women’s snowboarding won overall, led by the GS, slope style, and boarder cross champion, Kelsey Mcgorisk.
“I'm stoked we qualified as a team. It's way more fun sharing the experience of being up on the podium with teammates because you know you couldn't have done it without them,” said Mcgorisk.
The senior is used to the national stage since she raced boarder cross out west with Team Utah, a pre-Olympic team through USSA. This year will also mark her third appearance in the USCSA national championships.
“I have high expectations for nationals, especially with men's ski qualifying for the first time in years. I'm beyond excited,” said Mcgorisk. “We're ready to bring home some more hardware.”
Normally in the western mountains, this year the national championships will be hosted out east in Lake Placid, New York. Over 500 athletes will compete in 27 different alpine, snowboard, freestyle, and Nordic events. The Michigan State qualifiers will use their spring break to travel to the east coast for the weeklong competition beginning on Tuesday, March 8.
All the events from the 2016 national championships will be broadcasted online, and a complete schedule of events can be found on the USCSA website: www.USCSA.com