Sugar Bowl Academy alumni to ski in National Collegiate Championships |

Sugar Bowl Academy alumni to ski in National Collegiate Championships

Provided to the Sun Sugar Bowl Academy 2008 graduate Matt Richardson's giant slalom performance at Steamboat Springs last week helped win Rocky Mountain College's men's ski team the title of regional champions and qualify for the national competition.

Sugar Bowl Academy 2008 graduates Abby Gould and Matt Richardson qualified to compete at the National Championships for the United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) in Winter Park, Colo., from March 3 through 7.

Richardson is the youngest member of the Alpine ski racing team for Rocky Mountain College of Billings, Montana, where he is a freshman studying sports management.

Richardson helped Rocky win the Western Region title last weekend in Steamboat Springs, Colo., defeating 14 schools such as the University of Colorado, University of Washington, Montana State, University of Oregon and Denver University.

The Rocky Mountain College men’s team, which has won four of the last five regional championships, claimed the national championship in 2005 and 2007, and were the national runners-up in 2006. Last year they placed fourth in the nation.

Abby Gould earned the right to compete at the national championship based on a strong individual performance, though her UCLA team failed to receive a qualifying position. Gould won three Southern California Conference races earlier this season and placed fifth and third in the Far West Regional qualifying slalom and GS events at Diamond Peak on Feb. 21-22.

A total of 20 college teams from across the United States qualify for nationals through their regional qualifiers. A partial list of teams qualifying from other regions includes Penn State, Cornell, Boston College, University of Minnesota and Northern Michigan. The top qualifying teams from the Far West are Sierra Nevada College of Incline Village and the Stanford University women’s team.

According to USCSA, in excess of 178 colleges from coast to coast field some 4,700 men and women, Alpine, cross country and snowboarding athletes in more than 200 race events annually.

Competition takes place across three progressive tiers. Conference qualifiers determine the participants at the six USCSA Regional Championships. Regional qualifiers go on to the annual U.S. Collegiate Skiing and Snowboard Championships, the showcase event in college ski and snowboard competition.

Team performance is emphasized within the USCSA, a departure form the typical individual or world cup scoring format in skiing. Teams field five racers with the top three performances being used for the team score.

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