St. Lawrence University sophomore Nordic skier Austin Meng put the finishing touches on a breakout EISA Carnival season on Saturday, finishing in 11th place in the 15K Freestyle completion at the 2013 NCAA Regional Championships hosted by Bates College. With his finish, Meng has qualified for the 2013 NCAA Championships to be held on March 6-9 at Middlebury College.
Meng raced the men's 15k Free in 38:19.2 for his second-best finish of his collegiate career and his sixth top-20 of the year.
"Austin had a great race today, and I'm really excited for him to be advancing to NCAA's," said St. Lawrence head coach Ethan Townsend. "He will gain valuable experience as a sophomore and compete against the best in the nation."
Meng's finish helped the St. Lawrence men's Nordic team to sixth place in the team standings, with Will Frielinghaus picking up 25th place and rookie Kyle Curry ending his season on a high note, coming in 31st, his season-best finish.
James McCatherin (61st) and Reed Likly (63rd) also raced for the Saints in the 15K Free.
Senior Kelsey Nichols also put a charge into her race on Saturday, as she posted her second career top-20, closing in 19th position in the women's 10K Free. The Pownal, ME native clocked in at 30:10.2 to earn 23.0 points, but narrowly missed a bid of her own to the NCAA Championships.
"I'm happy for Kelsey and proud of the way she competed today," added Coach Townsend. "She's been a great leader for our team and she really raced well in her last event."
Nichols joined with first-year students Cassidy Cichowicz and Sienna Searles in scoring for St. Lawrence, as the trio combined for 52.0 points and seventh place. Cichowicz was 35th overall while Searles followed in 40th.
Kate Mulcahy (43rd), Erin Perryman (55th) and Melanie Swick (60th) rounded out the Saints' line-up in the women's freestyle competition.
The University of Vermont earned the women's team title on Saturday, while Dartmouth picked up the men's victory. Mary O'Connell of Dartmouth was the individual champion on the women's side, while UVM's Scott Patterson claimed the men's event.