The William’s ski teams traveled to New Hampshire last weekend to race in the carnival hosted by The University of New Hampshire.
Bolstered by a strong third place finish from the Nordic women in the 15k classic and a fourth place finish from the downhill women in the Giant Slalom, the ski team took fifth place overall, as Dartmouth barely edged out the University of Vermont for first place.
Due to the distance of the races, 15k for the women and 20k for the men, only one Nordic race was held. This caused the points earned in each race to be doubled, increasing the importance of the race. The Nordic women answered the challenge, finishing in third place only slightly off their previous first place finish in Ottawa.
Finishing first for Williams and fourth place overall with a time of 50:03.4 was captain Melody Scheefer ’03. Scheefer posted another top five finish after winning both races in Ottawa two weeks ago.
Following shortly behind Scheefer for Williams was Elise Henson ’06 with a sixth place time of 50:17.2 seconds. Henson just edged out the seventh place skier, capturing sixth place by a mere 1.2 seconds.
Closing out the scoring for the Ephs was Gillian Sowden ’06 in 18th place, skiing the 15-kilometer course in 51:54.2.
“The course was long,” Sowden said. “It had some good climbs and a fair amount of double poling.”
In the open race, Amelia Bishop ’06 finished first with a time of 51:55.1, which would have put her in 19th place overall, but due to the limit of six skiers per school she was scored in the open division.
“This is the most talented and easygoing group of first year women we’ve had in decades,” Scheefer said. “With a young team like this we don’t focus on results, we just go ski with a relaxed mind-set and the good placing comes naturally.”
The men’s side saw some carnage and broken equipment as the Williams skiers posted a sixth place finish in the long 20-k classic. Captain Eric Tietze ’03 led the scoring, finishing in 20th place in a time of 58:36.1. “Tietze skied a solid race,” Head Coach Paul Stone said, “despite skiing 18k on a broken ski.”
Following closely on Tietze’s heels was Anders Haugen ’04, skiing the course in 58:37.8, which carried him to 21st place. Rounding out the scoring for the Ephs was Tim Stickney ’04, in 24th place with a time of 58:44.9.
“I thought the men skied much better on the whole than we did last week,” Stickney said. “It was a good step in the right direction for us heading into the next few weeks.”
The men had a pack of skiers place in the twenties and hope to move this pack up in future races and improve their scoring.
Moving to Attitash, where the Alpine team raced, the men skied to a sixth place finish both Friday and Saturday. The women posted a fourth place in the Giant Slalom on Friday and a fifth place in the Slalom on Saturday.
Leading the Williams men’s Alpine in both races was captain Peter Endres ’04 with a 15th place in the GS, 2:26.45,Â and 16th in the Slalom, 1:33.53. Mark Heinrich-Wallace ’04 placed second for Williams Friday and Saturday with a 20th in the GS, 2:28.88, and 21st in the Slalom,Â 1:34.12.
“The snow was soft for the GS,” Heinrich-Wallace said. “The course didn’t hold up very well, especially in the second run.”
Jason Epstein ’05 finished third for the Ephs in Friday’s GS in 21st place overall, with a time of 2:30.07. Chris Frank ’05 finished third for Williams in the Slalom at 22nd in 1:34.22Â after losing his ski in a rut during the GS, while running in eighth place.
The men’s downhill has potential, but the team just may not have clicked yet this season.
“When we all put it together on the same day,” Endres said, “we are definitely capable of moving up into the top three.”
Friday saw the Williams women’s alpine team also attack the Giant Slalom. Leading the charge for the Ephs was Cecily Lowenthal ’06, skiing a 2:31.91Â to put her into 8th place, her top finish so far this year. Closely behind Lowenthal was Captain Kate Leonard ’03, whose 10th place in 2:32.76Â added points to the Williams score. Addie Robinson ’05, skiing at 16th place and 2:35.22, finished the scoring for the Ephs. “The GS was the best showing for the Williams women in at least a year,” Leonard said.
Saturday’s Slalom saw the women drop back to fifth place. Robinson finished in the lead for the Ephs with a seventh place and a time of 1:45.08. Next up for Williams was Ashley Carter ’04 who finished in 16th place with a time of 1:47.96. Rounding off the top three was Laura Cavin ’05 in 19th place with a time of 1:49.16.