Skiing takes 6th at final carnival

The ski team placed sixth at the final carnival of 2009, the EISA Championships, hosted by Colby. Held at the infamous Sugarloaf Resort, racing got off to an interesting start in Friday’s slalom since heavy snows early in the week and very warm temperatures made for difficult conditions. Frontrunner Alex Dryoff ’10 led the way for the men, coming in fourth. In 17th, Sean Cummiskey ’12 was the second scorer, and Jim Whitledge ’09 rounded out the men’s scoring in 25th. On the women’s side, Laurel Carter ’12 skied into a solid 15th, with Emily Porter ’10 just four places back in 19th. Annie Hanson ’11 claimed the 31st spot.

With temperatures approaching 40 degrees by race time, ski selection and waxing became tricky for the nordic races on Friday. In the 10K classic race, the men’s nordic team was led by two rookies – Dimitri Luthi ’12 in 16th place and Erik Anderson ’12 in 18th place. Evan Dethier ’11 followed in 19th place just three-tenths of a second behind. The women’s nordic team was led by Kirsten Johnson ’11 in 14th place, the highest finish of the day for the nordic team. Liz Kantack ’09, a little over a minute back, was 37th, with Fiona Worcester ’09 finishing in 47th place to round out the scoring for the team.

Due to unsafe snow conditions, Saturday’s Giant Slalom (GS) was postponed to Sunday. The alpine skiers instead took to the nordic trails to cheer on their teammates, where Kirsten Johnson ’11 led the women’s team with her best result of the season, finishing ninth in the 15K freestyle race. Alice Nelson ’10 followed, 30 seconds back, in 13th place. Scoring for the team for the first time was Sarah Tory ’11 with a terrific 34th place finish. Alex Taylor ’10 led the men’s team in the 20K freestyle race, racing with the lead pack early in the race and settling in to place 12th overall. Captain Sam Kapala ’09 finished the final race of his college career in 21st, with Luthi fifteen seconds back in 23rd.

The alpine team fared better on Sunday, as the course held up to make for a great final GS event. Eric Mann ’09 once again showed his speed, placing fourth, and Dyroff skied with the consistency that has marked his season, coming in 12th. Whitledge made a statement in his farewell collegiate race, and with two solid runs found himself in 23rd – the best carnival finish of his career and enough to take third on the day for the men. The women had some excellent results as well, notably with Carter, who finished 10th, her best GS result of the year. Porter and Kelsey Levine ’10 skied into 18th and 19th respectively, and Hanson, although not scoring team points, had an excellent second run, coming in 22nd.

As the Carnival season comes to a close, the team now awaits NCAA Championships, held March 11-14 at Sunday River and Black Mountain in Maine and hosted by Bates. The Ephs will send four skiers total; the alpine team will send three athletes, Mann, Dyroff and Porter, and the nordic team will send Luthi.