Women's XC Skiers Second at Nationals

News Release Date:
Thursday, March 11, 2010

WALLA WALLA, Wash. – For the second time in as many years, the Whitman College women’s cross country ski team finished its season just shy of an overall national championship.

Competing at Black Mountain near Rumford, Maine, the Whitman women were within striking distance of a national crown heading into last Saturday’s final event, the 3x5-kilometer relay.

     Eloise Zimbelman

With Whitman trailing only St. Olaf’s College in the overall team scoring, the trio of Paige Devlin, Kira Peterson and Eloise Zimbelman finished second in the relay to overtake the Oles, who placed fourth in the final event.

Unfortunately for Whitman, the University of Wyoming won the relay, which vaulted the Cowgirls all the way from third to first in the final point standings.

Wyoming captured its second straight overall national title with 64 points, edging Whitman by a single point. St. Olaf’s slipped to third with 78 points while Clarkson University was fourth with 164 points.

        Paige Devlin

Devlin, a junior, skied the first relay leg for Whitman, finishing second with a time of 17:19.8. With the course cut after the first run, times dropped on the second leg and Peterson kept the Missionaries in second place with a time of 16:14.4.

Zimbelman, a junior, anchored the relay for Whitman and blistered the course with a time of 15:02.2 – the third best time of the day.

Whitman finished second with a total time of 48:36.5. Wyoming was first in 46:59.3.

Clarkson was third (51:51.3) and St. Olaf’s fourth (53.51.9). St. Olaf’s fell more than eight minutes off the lead after the first leg, which proved to be an insurmountable deficit even though its second and third skiers posted the day’s two best times.

A fourth Whitman skier, sophomore Aurora Bowers, also competed, skiing the anchor leg for a trio of athletes from different schools. They finished in fifth place, unofficially, with a time of 55:02.1.

     Kira Peterson

By finishing second in the relay, Devlin, Peterson and Zimbelman earned USCSA First-Team All-American honors. Based on their week-long performances, Devlin and Zimbelman also nabbed first-team honors in the individual combined scoring.

Saturday’s climactic finish in the relay event was preceded by Friday’s 15-kilometer classic race.

St. Olaf’s Emma Lee won the race in 49:07.3, but Devlin was second for Whitman in 50:30.3 while Zimbelman was fourth in 51:05.9. Bowers (13th, 55:25.2) and Peterson (18th, 58:42.2) also skied well for Whitman.

St. Olaf’s was first in the classic team scoring with Whitman taking second. Both Devlin and Zimbelman reaped First-Team All-America honors for their individual classic performances.

Earlier in last week’s competition, Zimbelman also picked off first-team honors by placing second in the 1.4-kilometer classic sprint and third in the 8.5-kilometer freestyle.

Devlin, who made the All-America First Team in the freestyle by placing fifth, posted a sixth-place showing in the sprint to add second-team recognition in that event.

Bowers finished fourth in the sprint event to earn Second-Team All-America honors.

Zimbelman also was named to Academic All-America Second Team. That honors goes to skiers who have cumulative grade point averages between 3.5 and 3.79.

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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; holden@whitman.edu