Josh Billings, Steve Monsulick’s RunAground Champion, appointed Interim Nordic Ski Coach at Williams College | Sports
On Sunday afternoon, Steve Monsulick picked up another championship cup from the Josh Billings RunAground. This morning he will have a new office to set it up.
Williams College announced late Wednesday afternoon that Monsulick has been appointed interim head coach in Nordic skiing. Monsulick comes to Williams from the University of New Hampshire, where he has been an assistant Nordic coach since 2008.
Monsulick will replace Jason Lemieux, a 2001 Williams graduate who had been a head coach since 2014. Lemieux, who skied for Wahconah Regional High School in Dalton, is now the Mountain Director for Teacup Nordic, a ski area. Nordic nonprofit inside Mount Hood Reservation in Oregon.
“I think [Williams has] a pretty solid history of being competitive, and they’ve always had a good team, ”said Monsulick, in a phone interview with The Eagle. “Also, the location for skiing is quite good, being so close to Prospect Mountain (Vt.). The campus itself is just a pretty place and seems like a nice place.
“I have experience in the Berkshires, it’s a really nice area to live in. All of these things made me want to explore this option.”
At the 45th edition of The Josh Billings RunAground, the Allen Heights Veterinary quartet may have gone a bit short in an attempt to break a record set in 2017, but cyclist Josh Lipka, paddlers Tom Keefe and Ben Pigott and runner Steve Monsulick, became the first team to win five consecutive Josh titles with the same four runners.
Prior to coaching at UNH, Monsulick’s first college coaching experience was as an assistant Nordic coach at his alma mater Bates College from October 2007 to May 2008. In addition, Monsulick is a certified level coach. 100 in the United States and was a national U-16 talent. ID camp coach.
“Steve has extensive experience in the sport of Nordic skiing and knowledge of EISA and New England courses,” Williams athletic director Lisa Melendy said in a statement. “The search committee was impressed with its thoughtful approach to training and team building.”
He is widely known in Berkshire County running circles as a runner and presenter for the Allen Heights veterinary team which just won its fifth consecutive Josh on Sunday. The victory set a record, as Allen Heights was the first team to win five consecutive RunAgrounds with the same four teammates: in addition to Monsulick, cyclist Josh Lipka and paddlers Tom Keefe and Ben Pigott.
Monsulick said his teammates were unaware of Sunday work during the Josh. He told them midweek.
“It happened a bit quickly,” Monsulick said of the work at Williams. “I certainly didn’t expect Jason to leave. So this is one of those things where I heard he was leaving and saw the job posting and applied. . “
The Bates College graduate, who was also an assistant at the Maine school, coached six NCAA All-America honors skiers. Twenty-one runners won All-East honors and 42 qualified for the NCAA Championships. Monsulick has coached 11 athletes who have won carnival races, and three have won EISA Rookie of the Year honors.
Williams is a member of the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association and competes in the Division I league against schools like Boston College, Harvard, Vermont, New Hampshire and NESCAC rivals Bates, Bowdoin, Colby and Middlebury.
Lemieux accompanied Nordic skier Williams Isaac Freitas-Eagan to the 2020 NCAA Championships in Bozeman, MT. Freitas-Eagan finished 11th in the 10-kilometer freestyle, just before the NCAA closed the championship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021, Monsulick’s UNH team finished ninth at the NCAA Championships in Cannon Mountain, NH
According to the Teacup Nordic website, it works for skiers to enjoy Nordic skiing and it has served the Nordic community of Mount Hood since 1979. Lemieux will oversee a non-profit, volunteer-fueled, with trail fee and donations to help pay for grooming, maintenance and programs. Teacup Nordic operates from November to May.
“My wife and I couldn’t be happier to return to one of the most beautiful valleys in the world,” Lemieux said in a statement. “My wife grew up here, I lived here after completing my ski racing career and it is a great place to raise children. I am delighted to add power to the board initiatives that respond to the growing backcountry skiing scene in Mount Hood and collaborating with and supporting Teacup’s dedicated coaching team. “
As a runner at Williams, Lemieux has qualified four times by the NCAA.