Nine members of the Middlebury community competed in the FISU World University Games in Lake Placid, N.Y. from Jan. 12 to 22.
The winter edition of the FISU World University Games is an event held every two years that allows student athletes to represent their country and compete in winter sports while also incorporating educational and cultural events into the games. The University Games allow student athletes to compete in winter sports that the NCAA may not host competitions in, such as figure skating, speed skating and curling.
In figure skating, Ting Cui ’25.5 represented the U.S. In the women’s figure skating event, Cui came in 18th place during the short program part of the event, but withdrew from the competition before the free skate part of the event. Cui is still overall grateful for the experience.
“It was the experience of a lifetime competing at the University Games, beginning with the opening ceremonies and athlete oath and ending with a performance in front of the most supportive home crowd,” Cui said.
Of the nine Panthers that represented Middlebury this year, four of them were members of the alpine ski team. Sophia Tozzi ’26 and Nico Richeda ’26 represented the U.S., Mika-Anne Reha ’25 represented Canada and Michel Macedo ’23 represented Brazil.
Middlebury’s alpine skiers did well. Richeda finished 32nd out of 90 competitors in the men’s slalom. Reha finished 15th out of 74 competitors in the women’s slalom and 31st out of 80 competitors in the women’s giant slalom. Finally, Tozzi finished 19th in the women’s slalom and 26th in the women’s giant slalom.
Middlebury alumni were also part of the contingency of Panthers competing at the University Games. Maddie Leidt ’22 and Alexis Ryan ’22, who were crucial parts of the Middlebury women’s ice hockey team’s National Championship last year, played for the U.S. women’s ice hockey teams at the University Games. Emily McNamara ’07, who is now the head women’s ice hockey coach at Hamilton College, served as an assistant coach for the U.S. women’s ice hockey team. The U.S. women’s ice hockey team ended up placing fifth overall, and Leidt led the tournament in points, with four goals and eight assists.
The U.S. men’s ice hockey team also included members of the Panther community. Middlebury’s assistant men’s ice hockey coach Jack Ceglarski served as an assistant coach for the U.S. men's ice hockey team, and Bill Beaney, Middlebury’s current men’s golf coach and former men’s ice hockey coach, worked as the General Manager for the U.S. men’s ice hockey team. The U.S. men’s team finished second in the tournament after losing the gold medal game to Canada.
For many of these athletes, this is hopefully just the beginning of their careers competing on a global stage.“I’m planning on competing [in figure skating] all through my four years at Middlebury,” Cui said. “Hopefully, I’ll get some more opportunities to compete at international competitions in the future.”