March 27, 2010

Bates' Manter earns a rare distinction

Ben Manter of Vassalboro is only the 10th skier in school history to achieve All-America status.

By Rachel Lenzi rlenzi@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

A clean run in slalom is most ideal for competitive skiers.

But two clean runs?

That's a sublime feat. And Ben Manter was one of a few skiers fortunate enough to do so at a pivotal point in the season.

At the NCAA skiing championship, held March 10-13 in Steamboat Springs, Colo., Manter, a junior at Bates College, became the only Mainer to earn All-America status when he finished 10th in slalom.

"I'd been skiing consistently for most of the year, but it's not something you can bank on, getting two clean slalom runs there," said Manter, a Vassalboro native who had a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 16.70 seconds.

Bates teammate Bump Heldman said he wasn't surprised by Manter's ability to execute two quality runs.

"Ben is a very consistent skier," said Heldman. "He has very good form, he's very balanced on his skis, and on that hill you had to be on top of your skis on every turn.

"The hill never gave you a chance to relax. And Ben's very good at handling that."

Manter is Bates' first All-American men's Alpine skier since 2001, when Kyle Hildebrand was sixth in giant slalom and second in slalom. He's the 10th skiing All-American in school history, including Nordic events.

Manter was one of three Maine collegians who earned second-team All-America honors in men's slalom, joining Colby's Vince Lebrun-Fortin and Josh Kernan.

Lebrun-Fortin, a Montreal resident, placed seventh to earn his fourth All-America designation in three years, while Kernan, of Shelburne, N.H., became an All-American for the third time by finishing ninth.

Joining Manter and Heldman, an Auburn resident, at the national championships were Colby's Lucy Garrec of Freeport, Wellesley's Clare Egan of Cape Elizabeth, Dartmouth's Nils Koons of Sidney and St. Lawrence's Ben Knowles of Cumberland.

Koons, who competed in the 10-kilometer classical and 20-kilometer freestyle events, helped Dartmouth finish fifth in the 22-team field. Denver won the NCAA title, scoring 785.5 points in eight events.

Knowles was 13th in the 20K freestyle.

"There were guys there who you grew up with, and it's fun to be at the next level with everyone you know being there," Manter said.

Unlike other NCAA championships, the skiing championships combine skiers from Divisions I, II and III, and also include members of the national and Olympic teams. Leif Haugen, the winner of the men's giant slalom, competes for the University of Denver but represented Norway at the Vancouver Olympics.

"There's some really, really good guys there who are from around the world," Manter said. "There's tons of people there who've been on national teams, and the competition is very, very steep."

 

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

rlenzi@pressherald.com

 

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