Bates alumni to compete in World Cup, with eyes on Torino
This weekend in Vernon, British Columbia, two Bates College alumni can go a long way toward earning spots on the U.S. Olympic Ski Team that will compete in Torino, Italy, in February.
David Chamberlain and Justin Freeman, both collegiate All-Americans and 1998 graduates of Bates, are among the elite cross-country skiers in the country, and have excellent chances of representing the United States at Torino.
The International Ski Federation (FIS) 2005 World Cup series has its lone North American stop at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre in Silver Star Provincial Park on Saturday. Along with the U.S. Championships, which will be held in Utah Jan. 3-10, the World Cup promises to be a deciding factor when the U.S. Ski Team is picked for the Olympic Games.
Chamberlain, of Bethel, Maine, and Freeman, of Andover, N.H., can help cement spots with strong performances at Saturday’s 30-kilometer Pursuit, which will have a Classic start and will switch, without a break, to Free Technique at the halfway point.
Freeman (a U.S. Ski Team member two years ago) and Chamberlain showed fine form by finishing first and second, respectively, at the 12K SuperTour Classic race on Nov. 27 at West Yellowstone, Mont.
Justin Easter, a 2003 Bates grad and collegiate All-American, who is less established on the international scene than his predecessors, but based on the promise he shows has a chance for Olympic selection. Easter had a breakthrough of sorts on Nov. 16 at the Anchorage Winterstart sprint race by finishing in sixth place among men, and will look to make a big splash at the U.S. Nationals in January.
But the World Cup and the U.S. Nationals will be where the coveted trips to Torino are likely to be earned.
“To have these guys at the top of their sport like this is very exciting,” said Bates head Nordic skiing coach Becky Woods.
After the Sovereign Lake races, the World Cup moves to the 1988 Olympic course in Canmore, Alberta, about 100 kilometers west of Calgary for races Dec. 15-18 for freestyle, mass start and team relay events.
Also of note is that Bates first-year student Sylvan Ellefson, of Vail, Colo., is vying for a spot on the U.S. Junior National Team, which will compete in Slovakia in January.