Ski teams shred to a familiar fifth place at Winter Carnival

It’s been a season of highs and lows for skiing. Although consistency has been the norm in the team’s results, there have been a number of fluctuations in personal results that have left some skiers frustrated one week, only to be on top of the world the next.

This weekend’s home races were no exception to that trend. The ski teams notched their fifth consecutive fifth place performance on their home turf, and had a number of excellent individual finishes on each team.

Leading the way this weekend were top ten performances from Addie Robinson ’05, Chris Frank ’05 and Ben Connard ’02, as well as a personal best 11th place finish for Hilary Hackmann ’02.

“As coaches, we aren’t surprised to see these amazing individual performances,” Nordic coach Bud Fisher said. “We see the potential for these kinds of results every day in practice.”

A number of factors led to the top results this week. “The weather was fabulous, the snow was hard and there was great support from the Williams community,” Robinson said. “It was great to have friends come watch and help out with the races.”

Friday’s giant slalom race went extremely well for the men’s alpine team on its home course at Jiminy Peak. Led by Frank, who managed a personal best fourth place finish, the Ephs landed in fourth place for the day, only nine points behind perennial powerhouse Dartmouth. Behind Frank were Pete Endres ’04 in 18th, Mark Heinrich-Wallace ’04 in 23rd and non-scorer Alex Hood ’02 in 31st. J.J. Hanley ’02 rounded out the Williams contingency with his 42nd place finish.

Saturday’s slalom race did not go quite as well for the alpine men, unfortunately. Ending the day in seventh place, the Ephs still saw excellent results from Frank, who rounded out the weekend as the highest point-scorer with a tenth place finish. Nichol followed him in 14th.

After these two, though, there was only Hanley, who ended up in 43rd and had to hike in his second run after a respectable first run. The other three skiers, Heinrich-Wallace, Endres and Hood, didn’t finish the race due to disqualifications and falls.

The women’s alpine team also had its share of frustration. The team finished the giant slalom race in ninth place on Friday. Ashley Carter ’04 was the highest finisher for the team, taking home 18th. Katie Davisson ’05 was the only other skier who didn’t fall, ending the day in 33rd. Kate Leonard ’02 lost a minute on her first run due to a fall and ended in 45th. Robinson and Kendra Totman ’05 fell on their first runs, and Brooke Kaltsas ’04, fighting a case of vertigo, didn’t race for safety reasons.

Saturday went much better for the team, though it wasn’t without its frustrations. Robinson led the way for the team with a fifth place finish. Behind her were Carter and Kaltsas, who skied in for 20th and 23rd, respectively.

Totman and Davisson ended up close together as well in 40th and 42nd, and behind them was Leonard, who had to hike on her first run and concluded the day in 47th place.

The men’s Nordic team had a great day on Friday in their ten-kilometer classical technique race at Prospect Mountain in Vermont.

The Ephs took home fourth place for the day, led by a personal best ninth place finish for Connard and equally impressive 14th and 15th place finishes for Eric Tietze ’03 and Karl Remsen ’03. Behind them were Anders Haugen ’04 in 20th place, Seth Behrends ’02 in 29th and Matt Holland ’02 in 36th.

Sunday’s three by five-kilometer relay was equally impressive. Haugen led the way for the Williams A-team, crossing the line in first place for the team during the first leg of the race. After him, Tietze did his best to keep the top pack in sight and Connard was able to stay strong, leading the team in for a fifth-place finish.

“We were really happy with the results,” Connard said. “Anders skied a great first leg and set the tone for a strong finish.” Behind the first Williams team was an equally impressive B-team that placed seventh overall and came across the line as the first B-team.

Featured on that squad was Holland, who finished in third place for the first leg; Remsen, who was able to stay with the top skiers for much of the race; and Behrends, who clinched the incredible finish for the Ephs.

The women’s Nordic team also had a great weekend in their home meet. Hilary Hackmann ’02 led the way in Friday’s ten-kilometer classical race with a personal best eleventh finish on a course she has raced on since middle school.

Erin Graham ’02 backed her up for the 18th spot and Rachel Samuelson ’04 rounded out the scorers with a speedy 24th place finish. Following Samuelson were Magali Sutton ’05 and Whitney Thompson ’04 in 26th and 27th, respectively. Rounding out the team was Sarah Torkelson ’04 in 32nd.

The women’s three by five-kilometer relay was equally impressive. The A-team placed seventh overall – it garnered fifth place points for the team. The squad of Thompson, Hackmann and Graham jumped into their position early in the race and never looked back, dominating the squads from rival Bates.

The B-team was not complete due to the absence of Sutton, who sat out of Saturday’s race in order to be well rested for a Junior Olympic qualifier on Sunday, but the finishes of Samuelson and Torkelson were impressive. Finishing only eight seconds behind their A-team counterparts, they showed the incredible depth of the women’s team.

Moving into the week before the last carnival, to be held at Middlebury, the Ephs are looking to try and translate their potential into results. At this point, many Williams skiers are hoping to qualify for the NCAA national championships in Alaska.

As of now, only Robinson and Heinrich-Wallace have secured all-but-certain placement on the team. At Middlebury, though, Nordic skiers will be able to gain points in both techniques, hopefully letting those Williams skiers who are on the bubble secure the coveted spots.

Skiers to watch for next week are Connard, Tietze, Remsen, Thompson, Graham, Hackmann, Endres, Hanley, Carter and Leonard as they try to secure a spot representing Williams in the Div. III national championships.