LEWISTON — The Bates College alpine and Nordic ski teams learned Tuesday that a pair of Bobcat downhill skiers from Maine will make their NCAA Collegiate Skiing Championship debuts this year, as the field for the championships were announced.
Bates sophomore Bump Heldman of Auburn and junior Ben Manter of Vassalboro and will both make their first trip to NCAAs, to be hosted by the University of Colorado in Steamboat Springs, Colo., after each posted his best carnival season to date. Junior Nordic skier Natalie Ruppertsberger of Plainfield, N.H. will also represent Bates in her second straight trip to NCAAs, which take place March 10-13.
Heldman makes his first trip to NCAAs after narrowly missing the cut in 2009. A former member of the U.S. Junior Olympic team, he finished the EISA circuit ranked 19th overall in the EISA’s NCAA Qualifiers List. His best efforts included a fifth-place showing in the slalom at Dartmouth and a tie for 10th place in the slalom the following week at Williams.
Manter made an impressive leap in his performance from last season to this one — he finished the 2009 season ranked 34th on the EISA’s NCAA Qualifiers list, but vaulted to No. 17 in 2010. His year has included two top-10 finishes: eighth in the slalom at St. Michael’s, and sixth in the slalom the following week at the University of Vermont. He was also 11th in the slalom at the Dartmouth Carnival.
Manter and Heldman will be joined by their teammate on the Bates Nordic women’s ski team, Ruppertsberger, who returns to NCAAs for the second straight year. Ruppertsberger followed up her excellent 2009 carnival season with an even better one in 2010, and she picked up Second Team All-East honors today from the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association.
Ruppertsberger finished the carnival season ranked 10th among collegiate skiers in the EISA’s point system. Out of 10 individual (non-relay) carnival races on the season, she posted six top-10 finishes, including fifth place in the Classical Technique races in consecutive weeks at Vermont and Dartmouth. Ruppertsberger will look to improve upon her solid outing at NCAAs last year, hosted by Bates, in which she finished 22nd in the Classical race and 29th in the Freestyle.