Thursday, March 6, 2008

Grats to Fast Bobcat Sylvan Ellefson

SKI FAST is the mantra. I was privileged to be part of a team at Bates College which has produced All-Americans and Olympians despite being a non-scholarship DIII school competing against the big boys. It is thus with both pleasure and pride that I congratulate junior Sylvan Ellefson on his 4th-place finish yesterday in the 10k freestyle at the NCAA skiing championships in Bozeman, Montana, which yields him All-American status:

Ellefson (Vail, Colo.) covered the Bohart Ranch course in 31:20.0, fourth best out of 38 competitors. He was one of only three Americans in the top 10 and the only one from a Division III school. He wins his first All-America honors for his top-10 finish, after missing out on the honor by 0.3 seconds in the 10K Free a year ago.

"I felt great," wrote Ellefson via e-mail. "While my lungs were burning because of the altitude, my skis were fast and I felt the most fit I have in a long time. A big thanks to the coaching staff for some of the fastest skis on the course today and their support. Also to my teammates for getting me going through e-mail and phone calls throughout the week. I have the best team in the U.S."

Ellefson is Bates' first Nordic All-American since Justin Easter in 2003, and his finish is the highest for the Bobcats since 2006 U.S. Olympian Justin Freeman placed third in the 10K Classic in 1997.

"I am so thrilled for Sylvan -- what a great race for him and a great day for Bates," wrote Bates coach Becky Woods via e-mail. "I think we all knew he had it in him, especially given his recent results, but it was exciting to see it all come together here."

Ellefson won two races on the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association carnival circuit this season, becoming the first Bates skier to win an EISA race. He was named First Team All-East by the EISA and was the top-ranked skier from an Eastern college at the end of the season.


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