Fields sweeps Easterns; women, men both finish strong

RIPTON, Vt. -- Safe to say that Colby College Nordic skier Zane Fields is ready for the NCAA Division I Skiing Championships after winning the men's 20-kilometer freestyle mass start at the Eastern Championships on Saturday at the Rikert Touring Center.

Call it a clean sweep of the Eastern Championships for Fields. He won the 10K  classical race on Friday and now has six Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) victories this season.
 
The Colby women had four skiers in the top 30, including Skylar Tupper at 18th.
 
Fields (pictured) heads to the NCAA meet in Steamboat Springs, Colo., for races on March 8 and 10. He heads to nationals ranked first among men's Nordic skiers in the EISA.
 
"It’s impossible to know what will happen at nationals, especially having to compete at altitude with no time to adjust. Zane obviously has high goals and he has shown he can compete with the best," Colby head coach Tracey Cote said. "Our strategy is to continue to train hard and hope he stays healthy. His season has been historical and very magical for Colby skiing." 
 
The latest win for Fields came in 46 minutes, 6.3 seconds and was more than 11 seconds faster than runner-up Braden Becker (46:17.9) of Williams College. Fields was in first place after all five laps.
 
Fields' performance helped the Colby men to a second straight top-five team Eastern Championships performance. The Mules placed fifth with 88 points, beating both Bowdoin and Bates. Colby was fourth in Friday's race.
 
Ian Liphart took 26th place for the men in 49:33.4, Scott Harrison placed 35th in 50:26.7, Sam Sinkler was 37th in 50:59.4, and Foss Kerker finished 38th with a 51:24.3.
 
The Colby women also placed fifth with 69 points, holding off Bowdoin (65). 
 
Tupper had a time of 42:23.8 and teammate Claire Waichler was a place behind in 19th at 42:27.7. Kirsten Miller took 26th for the Mules in 43:05.3 and Marin Coletta came in 27th with a 43:16.8.
 
"I'm super excited about our women’s team as it was a great team performance. A career best for Skylar and four women in the top 30 is always a great day," Cote said. "Kirsten Miller and Marin Coletta both were in a crash at the start and basically skied back into the race from last place. This is a young women’s team that is going to be really fun to watch over the next couple of years."