Ski team takes fifth at Williams Carnival

This weekend, the EISA ski circuit came to Williams College for the Williams Winter Carnival. Thanks to all the student volunteers, the races ran smoothly both Friday and Saturday despite strong winds and temperatures hovering around zero. The ski teams fought the weather and finished fifth overall for the weekend.

The alpine races started off on Friday morning with the women skiing the tight, twisty Giant Slalom (GS) course set by Assistant Coach Espen Cedell. The women skied to second place on the first run in their home course, with five of the skiers in the top sixteen, putting themselves in great position to strike in the second run. Cecily Low-enthal ’06 had the best first run for Williams, skiing the course in an eighth place 1:04.17.

The second run for the women’s alpine saw the emergence of a few problems. Two of the top skiers, Lowenthal and Ashley Carter ’04, lost a ski in a rut and did not finish the run. Due to the depth of the team, however, this did not phase the women, who still placed three skiers in the top 15 for a fifth place finish only two points away from third place. Addie Robinson ’05 led the Williams finishers with a 10th place and a combined time of 2:09.36. Following closely behind her were captain Kate Leonard ’03 in 13th place and Rebekah Levin ’03 in 15th place.

On Saturday in another GS race, the women bettered their fifth place finish by skiing to an improved third place. Opening the scoring for the Eph’s was Lowenthal in 10th place with a combined time of 2:02.67. Closing out the scoring top three were Levine in 14th place and Robinson in 15th. “The women’s third in the GS was one of their better events of the season,” Head Coach Ed Grees said. “It included four of those who missed last year’s season due to injury, a tribute to their determination and the efforts of our Sports Medicine department.”

“It was good skiing all around for all the women, even the forerunners, who had some lovely Valentine’s lingerie on over their GS suits,” Leonard said. “Hopefully this last carnival we can up the ante and bring it all back together for at least one last second place finish in the GS.”

The men’s alpine followed the women both Friday and Saturday skiing to fifth place on Friday, lead by a ninth place finish from Mark Heinrich-Wallace ’04 with a time of 2:02.77. “It was a solid weekend for us,” said Heinrich-Wallace, “but we can do much better when we all ski fast on the same day.”

Finishing out the top three on Friday for the Ephs were Chris Frank ’05 in 13th and Michael Smith ’06 in 25th. On Saturday, the men dropped back to 6th after a good showing by Colby College put them in the top five. Leading the way again for the second day was Heinrich-Wallace moving up to eighth with a combined time of 1:53.24. Rounding out the top three were Frank in 16th and captain Peter Endres ’04 in 26th. “Our hill was in absolutely perfect condition this weekend,” said Endres. “After 130 racers, there was barely a rut in the course.”

The Nordic races were held up at Prospect Mountain in Vermont. The women’s team, after a strong first place finish two weekends ago, a win by the relay team, and another individual win by captain, Mel Scheefer ’03, rested four of the top six skiers in anticipation of the final carnival and nationals.

Due to the depth of the team, the underclasswomen were able to step up and still finish sixth in the 10-km freestyle on Friday, and fifth in the classic relay on Saturday.

Leading the charge for the Ephs was Gillian Sowden ’06 with a season’s best eighth place finish, skiing the course in 34:18.0 seconds. Following Sowden was another season’s best finish by Mary Iaculli ’06, skiing in at 21st place in a time of 35:54.0. Finishing off the top three was Jen Abraham ’05 in 29th place with a time of 36:38.1.

On Saturday, the women fielded two fast relay teams despite the fact that four of the skiers were sitting the weekend out. The two teams ended up in sixth and eighth, showing the incredible depth of women’s nordic this year.

The men’s nordic once again had a solid pack in the twenties but just couldn’t push the pack higher in the results. On Friday, the men were lead by Anders Haugen ’04 finishing 18th in a time of 28:51.6. Following closely behind, staying on his feet and posting his best finish of the year was Dylan Watts ’06 with 19th place in a time of 29:00.5. Peter Leonard ’04 in 22nd closed the scoring for the Ephs. On Saturday in the relay, the men again skied in a close pack.

The two relay teams finished within 20 seconds of each other in sixth and eighth place the second school to get both relay teams in. “I was happy with how people skied in general on Saturday,” said Head Coach Paul Stone. “I thought people skied tough; we just didn’t get the breaks or breakthrough performances which would have moved us into better contention.”