Skiing powers to 5th at Dartmouth

The nordic and alpine ski teams drove up to Hanover, Vt., this weekend for the Dartmouth Carnival. Hosts Darmouth won the carnival, while the Williams alpine and nordic teams finished fifth in their sections, combining to a fifth place overall team finish.

Both the men’s and women’s alpine teams fared well in Friday’s slalom. The women were led by Emily Porter ’10, who finished in 11th. Geordie Lonza ’13 ended up in 17th and Hannah Mangham ’12 scored her first team points at 24th. On the men’s side, it was Chris Nocek ’13 in the front in 19th, with Jeff Putnam ’11 and Sean Cummiskey ’12 just behind in 20th and 21st.

The giant slalom course on Saturday proved challenging for the men. Sean Cummiskey ’12 was the first Williams scorer in 28th. Adam Carman ’10, making a comeback after two years of injury, finished in 30th, and Alex Dyroff ’10 rounded out the point-scorers in 33rd. Fortunately, the women had a much better day: Notably, Lonza finished in eighth overall. Kelsey Levine ’10 placed 23rd and Emily Porter finished in 36th position.

The men’s nordic team had a strong showing on Friday, with three Ephs finishing in the top 15, including two in the top 10, a feat that has not occurred in recent team memory. Leading was Keith Kantack ’11, who skied to a career best finish in eighth. Just behind Kantack was Dimitri Luthi ’12 in ninth. Completing the scoring was Evan Dethier ’11, tying his season high with a 14th place finish. The men’s field spaced out over the 20 kilometers, with the top 20 spanning almost four minutes.

The women’s nordic team fared about as well as their alpine counterparts, struggling to rack up the points and eventually finishing ninth in the 15 km classic. Normally a top finisher, Kirsten Johnson ’11 sat out the race, still feeling the ill effects of sickness. Without Johnson, captain Alice Nelson ’10 was lonely in the front of the field, finishing in 18th as the team’s only skier in the top 30. Christina Knapp ’13 skied to 32nd place, a career best, while Sarah Tory ’11 finished 41st to round out the team score. The 15 km mass start race yielded a far-ranging set of results, with over three minutes separating the top 20.

The nordic men benefitted from their depth on Saturday, finishing fifth in the day’s race in spite of the absence of Kantack, Friday’s fastest Eph, who was out due to sickness. Luthi skied the opening 5 km of the relay, staying with the leaders until Dartmouth and Middlebury broke off towards the front. In the second leg, Dethier stuck close to the chase pack. In the final leg, St. Lawrence broke away, but captain Alex Taylor ’10 was able to hold onto fifth place for the Ephs. Because each school can only score one team and Middlebury placed two teams ahead of Williams, Williams moved to fourth in the points allocation for the day.

The highlight of the day was the nordic women’s rebound from Friday’s forgettable showing. The team rallied to a fourth place finish in Saturday’s 3×5 km freestyle relay. Nelson skied a strong first leg, tagging off in third. Tory kept even with Bates and University of New Hampshire before tagging off to Johnson in a pack of places third through fifth. Johnson was passed by Vermont, but impressively bested Bates and UNH. Though they were the fourth team to finish, the women receive third place points because the first two teams were Dartmouth squads.

“[Saturday] is an indication of what we can achieve if we all race our best,” Nelson said.

Alpine Assistant Coach Eirik Buraas commented on the team’s weekend, citing unfamiliar course conditions as the Ephs’ main obstacle. “It’s hard dealing with a hill like Dartmouth, which is so different [from] what we are training on every day,” Buraas said. “[But] everyone is skiing well, and when we get on the home hill, the results will show that.”

Both teams hold high expectations for next week as the cornerstone of Winter Carnival returns home. Alpine events will be at Jiminy Peak, while nordic will be on Prospect Mountain.

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