PRESQUE ISLE, Me (WAGM) - The University of Maine Presque Isle men's nordic ski team made history on Friday. The Owls placed third in the Eastern Collegiate Championships in Rumford. The Owls finished behind Dartmouth and Williams and were the top Maine school to finish. That is quite an accomplishment for the Owls who had just three racers compete and all three had to have a top notch race
(Joey Bard):"We had UMPI's first ever podium. Connor Hrynuk of Boonville New York finished third. John Paluszek of Farmington New Hampshire in 11th and and Presque Isle's own Jason Bartly nearly cracked the top thirty finishing in 32nd. Those results were good enough for a third place finish overall that is also an UMPI first."
Connor Hrynuk a Sophomore from Boonville New York finished on the podium with a third place finish.The race also helped him qualify for the Junior Nationals this weekend in Lake Placid.
(Connor Hrynuk):" It really meant a lot to get on the podium for UMPI since they had never been there. I think I knew I could do it but I dont' think I thought I could quite do it. I think my mind was not all there and my body was and they connected somehwere on the trail."
John Paluszek of Farmington New Hampshire says the team worked well together and that Bard nailed the wax and should get some credit for the Owls success
(John Paluszek):I think everything just worked together. Joey Bard is an amazing coach. He hit the wax he is an amazing wax tech as well. Everything came together he just gave us a pep talk of our life before the race. We knew that it was going to be a painful race and we would have to put everything into it and it just clicked and we came in third."
Jason Bartley a freshman from Presque Isle says the team felt some pressure knowing there were just three of them to score and that all three would have to ski well. He says it is a great feeling to be a part of Owls history
(Jason Bartley):"I had no idea it hasn't sunk in yet. It is just one of those things where everyone has said before that everything came together for all of us."
Bard says the team got better as the year went on and they just had to stay focused and stay positive.
Bard:" It was a little bit of a slow start to the season and it can wreak havoc on a mind. Especially when you come into the season and you have high hopes and high goals. We have been continuing to progress week in and week in and I couldn't have asked for more from these athletes."