For the past 20 years, no one has seriously challenged the Dartmouth-Middlebury monopoly of Eastern Collegiate skiing. This could be the year--Harvard should be the team.
Crimson coach Dick Friedman has assembled the greatest ski team in Harvard history, and he will place all the talent on the line this weekend at the EISA Championships at Middlebury.
The EISA results are doubly important since they qualify skiers for the NCAA Championships, which will be held March 27-29, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Dartmouth remains a heavy favorite to repeat last year's Eastern triumph, largely because of its outstanding corps of jumpers. Middlebury, however, lacks its usual abundance of stars, and sub-par performance in any one of the four events could permit a Crimson upset.
Harvard boasts the top Alpine squad in the East, and possibly in the nation. Sophomore Alan Watson, who placed among the top three in the Giant Slalom at both Dartmouth and Williams, is rated among the favorites in that event. Watson's chief competition will probably come from Middlebury's Paul Reed and Dartmouth's Rick Lounsbury.
Any one of four Crimson skiers could capture the slalom title. Willie Draper, who placed fourth in the NCAA Championship last winter, has finally skied himself into shape after a disastrous start. But Draper may still have trouble catching teammates Jay O' Rear, Larry Carter, and Pete Carter, all of whom performed well this year.
In last year's EISA Championship, Harvard plummeted from third to sixth place when captain John Mitchell suffered a concussion in the Ski jump.