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Freshman ski stars Jay O'Rere and Alan Watson finished in the middle of an international field of 78 skiers at the National Alpine Championships held March 8, 9, and 10 at Crystal Mountain in Washington.
Racing at speeds up to 80 miles an hour in the downhill competition, Watson placed 40 with a time of 2:16. Only 0.06 seconds off Watson's time, O'Rere finished 41. Scott Henderson of Canada won the event with a time of 2:08.
In the giant slalom competition O'Rere was 30 among the 78 racers with a time of 2:34.59. Suffering from a fall, Watson captured 33rd place and completed the event with a time of 2:36.36. Rick Chaffee of the U.S. Olympic team surprised everyone by winning with a time of 2:21.67. Billy Kidd, the darling of American skiing, surprised everyone by placing only fifth.
Varsity Ski Coach Dick Friedman said, "It's to be emphasized that it's a real honor for these two to get in the race in the first place. They finished about where we would project they'd be, and this really big racing experience will make them tough to beat next year."
Slalom competition was the last event of the Championship, and neither of Harvard's entries placed. Watson was eliminated for missing a gate, one of a series of poles that mark the course, and O'Rere did not finish. Rick Chaffee, rated tenth among international slalom skiers, took first place.
Watson and O'Rere were selected by the Eastern Ski Association as two of the East's five representatives. They flew to Washington on Tuesday, March 5. After training for one day they skied the non-stop downhill qualification race on Thursday.
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