Bianco makes it to NCAAs

Former Wolves standout also gains all-conference honors at Colby

by Tom Coombe
Erin Bianco finished her collegiate skiing career on the sport’s grandest stage.
The Ely graduate was 13th in the freestyle and 18th in the classic race at the NCAA Skiing Championships, held last weekend at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah.
Bianco, a former state champion while competing for Ely’s Nordic Wolves, is in her senior season at Colby, located in Waterville, Maine.
In a competition that combines NCAA skiers from all divisions, Bianco helped Colby, a Division III school, to a ninth-place finish overall and second among Division III schools.
On March 12, she was 13th in the 15-kilometer freestyle race, finishing in 39:47.5.
Two days earlier, Bianco finished a 5K classic event in 14:32.4, good enough for 18th overall.
“My mindset was to ski with confidence and finish with nothing left in the tank,” said Bianco, “We had great wax which was helpful on such a hilly course. The atmosphere is competitive but exciting and made for such a fun day.”
Bianco was making her second appearance at the NCAA event. She also qualified in 2020, although that event was cut short midway through because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The NCAA bid came on the heels of a stellar senior season for Bianco, who competed on the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association circuit during the winter.
At the last carnival, Bianco was recognized as a member of the All-East Second Team. The top five skiers from the conference are named to the first team, while the next five make the second squad. Bianco was ranked sixth.
Out of the 11 regular season races she competed in this winter, Bianco raced to a top-10 finish nine times and landed in the top-5 five times. She found herself on the third step of the podium in the Classic races at UVM and UNH, and ranked fourth in the conference in the Classic discipline.
The five athletes ranked ahead of Bianco on the combined event EISA list all belong to Division I schools.
Bianco graduated from Ely in 2017, when she won the state, single-class individual championship in Nordic skiing. That finish helped the Wolves win the state team title that year as well.
She was a six-time state meet qualifier and earned All-State status her freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years.
At Colby, Bianco is following in the footsteps of her older sister Amy, who was on the ski team there and graduated in 2017.