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The Harvard ski team has kept a low profile. Many people have wondered if there are skiers at Harvard who actually race competitively.
Stop wondering because the Crimson ski team is tops in the Ivy League after Dartmouth. There is one problem, however; the teams don't compete in the Ivy League.
Instead, there are divisions in the northeast. Divisions are changed from year to year depending upon a team's standing the previous year.
After sliding out of Division I during the '74-'75 season, the Crimson rebounded, finishing at the top of Division II. This year, because of a change in NCAA regulations. Harvard is in a position to send three or four skiers to the national championships in Colorado in the spring.
The competitive ski season is just beginning. The Harvard squad tuned up for the biggies in February by wumping Boston College at Blue Hill last Wednesday.
For the next month, the members of Division I get together each weekend for races. Perennial powers in the league, Vermont, Dartmouth, Williams and Middlebury, are the hosts at the weekend carnivals. Dartmouth's festival has grown larger than its skiing event. It is now famous for its snow sculpture.
The whole season comes down to the Middlebury meet, which determines who is good enough to go to Colorado. Previously, team standing qualified racers for the trip, but new regulations provide for the-top 20 individual racers to go. Harvard usually places three or four racers in this category.
Dartmouth, Middlebury and Vermont are big draws for high school skiers. These schools have traditionally given scholarship preference to skiers. According to Harvard alpine captain Peter Anton, many of their skiers are Can-Amcaliber, which is only a step below the World Cup circuit.
Harvard coach Dave Hubbard has somewhat slimmer pickings, but his skiers are no slouches by any means. Five must be chosen for the carnival teams and there is strong competition for two of the spots.
Captain Anton seems certain to make the cut along with Eric Jewett and Sophomore Alan Hale. Bob Kelly, Bruce Ballantine, Tim Hofer and Phil Duff are the leading candidates for the other positions.
Jewett and Hale consistently finished in the top five in last year's Division II races, with Jewett taking the division championship in the slalom and giant slalom.
The weekend meets prior to Middlebury allow the racers to work on their point totals, which are similar to golf handicaps.
The Middlebury meet will also determine the divisional composition for the next ski season. Anton is cautiously optimistic. "I think we can send some skiers to the nationals, and the team is ready to challenge St. Lawrence, Bates and New England College in the team standings. The top three are just about untouchable," he said.
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