Eliza Hawkins Wins National Championships as UMass Ski Teams Conclude Season
March 11, 2006
SUGARLOAF, Maine - Sophomore Eliza Hawkins (Shelburne, Mass.) finished second in the giant slalom and fifth in the slalom, which was good enough to place her first overall at the USCSA National Championships, which began on Wednesday, March 8 and concluded Saturday March 11, in Sugarloaf, Maine. Hawkins performance earned her a trip to the upcoming U.S. Championships, where she will be competing against the best American skiers, including those who just competed in the Winter Olympics in Torino. As a team, the Minutewomen finished eighth in the giant slalom and fifth in the slalom. Eliza's brother, the defending men's USCSA Nationals champion junior Rush Hawkins (Shelburne, Mass.), was unable to repeat as the champion and posted a pair of top ten finishes. The men finished fifth in the giant slalom and sixth in the slalom.
Hawkins finished her runs in the women's giant slalom in a total time of 2:17.90, just .12 seconds shy of first place, to finish second to Martina Hulten of Sierra Nevada College, an experienced World Cup skier.
Despite Eliza Hawkins great run, the day was not all well for the Minutewomen. Seniors Shaleigne Collins (North Reading, Mass.) and Erica Mains (Hudson, Mass.) both failed to finish. However, senior Lisbet Rauh (Princeton, Mass.) posted a top-25 finish, finishing 22nd in 2:25.97. Freshman Amanda Lea (Fairfield, Conn.) rounded out the top three for the team, finishing in 61st in 2:47.24.
Hawkins took fifth in the slalom on Friday, finishing in 1:55.72. Shaleigne Collins finished in 19th place in 2:03.12 and Erica Mains finished in 25th place in 2:05.74 to give the Minutewomen a fifth place finish.
As both the winner and the fastest American woman at the event, Hawkins earned a spot in the U.S. Championships, which begin on Saturday, March 25. Her brother Rush attended this event last year when he claimed the national title.
Rush Hawkins placed eighth in 2:10.56 in the men's giant slalom on Thursday after making a costly mistake at the bottom of the track on his first run. Sophomore Jason Small (Shelburne Falls, Mass.) and Freshman Alex Zahoruiko (North Andover, Mass.) also finished in the top three for the Minutemen, finishing in 16th (2:14.05) and 25th (2:19.44) respectively. Senior Patrick Hofer (New Canaan, Conn.), had a solid run as well, finishing in 26th in 2:19.60.
Hawkins finished in the bottom half of the top ten again on Saturday in the men's slalom. Senior Pat Bachant (Hubbardston, Mass.) and Alex Zahoruiko rounded out the top three for UMass. Rush Hawkins was unable to repeat the remarkable feat of sweeping both the giant slalom and slalom. Hawkins became the first American in over a decade to complete a sweep at Nationals when he claimed both races last year. Hawkins went on to compete in the U.S. Nationals against notable skiers such as Bode Miller.
This event concludes the 2006 season for the UMass ski teams. The season is not over for Eliza Hawkins, though. She will be returning to Sugarloaf, Maine for the U.S. Championships which will begin on Saturday March 25, and conclude on March 30. Hawkins will be competing against Julia Mancuso, who won the gold medal in the giant slalom at the Winter Olympics in Torino.
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