Nick Morse has the honor of becoming the first skier to be inducted into the Keene State College Alumni-Athletic Hall of Fame. “It’s a big thrill for me,” said Morse. “When I heard the news I was shocked and excited. You’re reminded that you had something to contribute to the College’s recognition and it’s a nice thing to look back on and appreciate.”
But that’s not the only first for the Stockbridge, Mass., native who was, and will be the only men’s athlete to represent Keene State in the Division I Alpine National Championships, not only once, but twice.
A four-year member of the KSC ski team (1988 to 1991), the only Owl squad to compete at the Division I level during the regular season, Morse joined the ski squad almost by accident. Although he had been ski racing since the age of eight, he came to Keene State to try out for the soccer team. When that didn’t work out, Morse decided to check out the ski team and quickly became one of the team’s top competitors.
Racing against many skiers, including several who had competed for the U.S. Ski Team, didn’t seem to bother Morse, who had gone up against top competition growing up. He thrived on the challenge of going up against the best and was a great model for the rest of his teammates.
“Nick’s work ethic was second to none and he encouraged others to strive for higher standards, ” said Amy Cantlin Cohen ’90, a former teammate and coach of Morse. “His focus and never-say-die attitude was what enabled him to edge out tough competition so he could race at the nationals.”
Securing enough points to qualify for the nationals with several top-ten finishes; Morse went on to represent KSC at the 1989 nationals in Park City, Utah and the 1991 championship that took place in Stowe, VT. He did Keene State proud by posting top-20 finishes at both competitions.
“Coming from a small school enabled me to be a big fish in a small pond,” said Morse. “It also allowed me the opportunity to excel in the sport and get a good starting place. The later you start the ruts get bigger.
Morse had few ruts throughout his KSC career on and off the slopes. He was not only a fierce competitor and team leader, but also a good student.
Graduating in 1991 with a degree in management, Morse presently works for an asset management company in New York City. Morse, who lives in the city along with his wife Faryl and daughter Olivia, said he was disappointed to hear about the demise of the ski program at the College, but still retains great memories of competing for Keene State.
“I am very appreciative that the opportunity to ski at Keene State was available to me, Morse said. “It was a major part of my college life and the rest of the team as well.”