Plymouth State and Colby-Sawyer join EISA
USCSA alpine powerhouses make leap to the NCAA circuit BY BRYCE HUBNER
Plymouth State Juniors Parker Spear and Marina Ryberg will lead the Panthers into battle on the EISA/NCAA circuit in 2012.
BOB STORY; GILL TALBOT
After decades of dominating alpine proceedings in the Eastern Collegiate
Ski Conference (ECSC), part of the United States Collegiate Ski & Snowboard
Association (USCSA), both Plymouth Sate University and Colby-Sawyer College have joined NCAA’s Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA).
The New Hampshire colleges, having long been USCSA varsity teams, cemented the transitions early this summer and both will begin competing on the
EISA circuit in January 2012.
“The move came about because a handful of other institutions on the USCSA
circuit in our region dropped varsity skiing and began competing as club programs in recent years,” says Kim Bownes, Plymouth State’s former alpine
coach and now the associate athletics director. “USCSA is an amazing organization and it has been great for us, but we decided that we really wanted to
keep ski racing [as a varsity sport here], and we felt that the best way to do
that was to compete against similar programs in EISA.”
Colby Sawyer’s head coach, Garrett Lashar, a former standout USCSA athlete at Plymouth State, has been at the helm of the college’s team for five
years. He says that the philosophy and the direction of CSC’s program have
long been geared toward making it competitive with the EISA ranks, and feels
the move is an extension of that progression.
“We’ve strived to be competitive with those programs for years,” Lashar says.
“And the timing to move to EISA and the NCAA circuit was perfect: CSC and
Plymouth are very similar to one another in terms of how strong we’ve been
in USCSA, so it’s really nice to have made the move at the same
time so that neither team got left behind.”
Lashar says he knows that competing among the established
EISA powers will bring challenges, but adds that they’re challeng-
es he and his team are very much looking forward to embracing.
“Obviously the ski team is excited about the move and we’re
excited about the challenges,” Lashar says. “But it goes way be-
yond that. Everyone from the president of the college to the rest
of the student body has been tremendously supportive. This is
a chance for our school to compete against some of the best
collegiate ski racers in the world while joining [an athletic affilia-
tion that includes storied programs] like Vermont and Dartmouth.
From our perspective, it’s all upside.”