Bak, Paciotti Post Best-Ever Finishes

Thursday, Feb 21, 2008

Whitman's Tim Bak and Lucia Paciotti posted their best-ever college finishes in the giant slalom Thursday as the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association (RMISA) hosted an additional qualifying event for the NCAA national championships.

Bak, a freshman, placed 27th in the men's event while Paciotti, a sophomore was 28th on the women's side.

Thursday's events were held in part to compensate for giant slalom races held in poor weather conditions earlier this month at the Western State Invitational in Colorado. "It made sense to have make-up races today since all of the teams are here anyway, training for the regional championships on Friday and Saturday," Whitman alpine coach Tom Olson said.

No team scores were kept, but an additional day of competition was "especially helpful for the young skiers on our team," Olson said. "Our skiers aren't in a position to qualify for nationals, but both Tim and Lucia lowered their U.S. Ski Association point profiles, which helps lower their start positions in later races."

Paciotti in particular dropped her point profile. "She came into the race with an 88 point profile, but her results today were 63," Olson said. "That's a signicant drop for Lucia. Tim went from 60 to 51, which isn't quite as significant, but it's good anytime you can lower your points."

Bak, who finished his two runs in 1:42.74, missed breaking into the top 20 by about one second. Paciotti's time in the women's event was 1:41.43.

First-year skier Liza Allen and sophomore Emily Baker were next in line for the Whitman women, placing 33rd and 34th, respectively, with times of 1:45.25 and 1:47.09. Sophomore Allison Rood was 38th in 1:52.92.

Freshman John David Davidson, the only other competitor for the Whitman men, finished 38th in 1:57.40.

Winners of the two events were the University of Nevada-Reno's Katie Lyons, who posted a time of 1:36.74, and the University of Denver's Seppi Stiegler, who was first for the men in 1:39.31.

This weekend's alpine regional championships, which start with giant slalom races Friday, mark the end of the RMISA regular season. Montana State is hosting the events.