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   Date: 2/24/10 Bookmark and Share

Smith Skiers Share Background with Olympians

Top Team Member to Ski at Nationals next week

By Julie Colatrella ’12

If you’ve been watching the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, Bode Miller and Seth Wescott might be names you’ve heard. Both American athletes have scored gold medals this year. Wescott is a gold medalist in snowboardcross (he won gold as well at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy). Miller is one of the most decorated American skiers of all time, having finally won a gold medal this year in the Grand Slalom, as well as a silver and bronze medal, and two silvers at the 2002 Olympics.

Relaxing away from the slopes (left to right): Carrabassett cohorts Katharine von Herrmann, Emma Peck Coffin, and Hope Wilson.

Three skiers on Smith’s ski team are well familiar with Miller and Wescott. Emma Peck Coffin ’12, Katharine von Herrman ’11 and Hope Wilson ’13 attended Carrabassett Valley (Maine) Academy and Snowboard School, the same school from which Miller and Wescott graduated.

Carrabassett (CVA) is the premier ski academy in the country. It combines college preparatory courses with rigorous athletic training, consistently graduating top-tier skiers.

Having three CVA graduates on the Smith team has had tremendous impact, according to Steve Samolewicz, Smith ski coach.

“Whether it’s training on the hill or weight lifting, they’re pushing themselves and the rest of the team to succeed,” he said.

Though there is no one recognizable Carrabassett skiing style, Samolewicz says students from the academy know what it means to work hard—the routines required for balancing academics with athletics, and the skills and charisma to be natural leaders.

Emma Coffin on the Grand Slalom. View a 12-second video of Coffin in action.

“They’re high-level athletes that set the stage for future team members and athletes looking to come to Smith,” said Samolewicz. “Coming from Carrabassett doesn’t guarantee success, but the routine they bring is helpful to everyone on the team.”

Over all, the ski team had a very successful season, said the coach. Von Hermann is one of the top 30 skiers in the league. Coffin, who won the All Academic American Race last year, skied to fourth place over all in regional championships last week. Coffin will race in the United States Collegiate Ski Association National Championships in Sunday River, Maine, March 2 through 6.

Several ski team members have sustained injuries this season, said Samolewicz. “If it wasn’t for our injuries, we’d be doing great,” he joked.

Having high-level skiers from Carrabassett not only builds the Smith program but gives the skiers themselves a balanced student-athlete experience.

“The ski team is a group of very hard-working girls,” commented Hope Wilson. “We push ourselves to the limits and the time I spent at Carrabassett Valley Academy prepared me for that.”


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