Skiing takes 4th in home carnival

This weekend’s alpine and nordic races, a centerpiece of the Winter Carnival tradition, took place at Jiminy Peak and Prospect Mountain, the home venues for the Williams team. The Ephs, however, stepped up their game for their only home meet of the season, pulling themselves above what has become the season standard of fifth to place fourth overall. Dartmouth won the carnival by a two-point margin over UVM.

Friday was the giant slalom race for the alpine men and women, and high winds made the day challenging for all competitors. The men came up a little short of expectations, sitting in seventh at the end of the race day, but still showed nice results. Adam Carman ’10 moved up from 63rd place after his first run into 18th overall after a dynamic and impressive second run, his best finish this year. Alex Reeves ’11 was the team’s second scorer in 23rd, and Sean Cummiskey ’12 finished just behind in 26th.

The women, meanwhile, had an outstanding giant slalom race, led by Emily Porter ’10, who fought her way into second overall for the best finish of her career. “It’s great to get this result here at Jiminy, at the Williams Carnival … after four years, you develop a relationship with the hill, a certain level of comfort, and that allows you to relax a bit and just go after it,” Porter said. “I didn’t really know what to expect, but I went out there with the right mentality and it worked out.”

Captain Kelsey Levine ’10 also skied very well, finishing 11th overall, while Geordie Lonza ’13 rounded out the top three in 17th. The three top-20 results were enough to place the alpine women in second at the end of the GS day.

On Saturday, Alex Dyroff ’10 led Williams in the men’s slalom, placing 16th overall. Chris Nocek ’13 skied two solid runs and finished in 21st, while Jeff Putnam ’11 was the third scorer in 23rd. The day’s results held the men steady at seventh place.

The women had another exceptional day, with Laurel Carter ’12 leading the way in sixth. Lonza skied a career-best slalom race to land in ninth on the day to continue a notably strong rookie season, while Porter rounded out the women’s score for the day with her 17th place result, which put the women in fourth for the slalom with 92 points.

Meanwhile, at Prospect Mountain, nordic was supporting the alpine team’s strong finishes this weekend. The nordic men continued a strong season with a fifth place performance in the 10 kilometer skate race. Dimitri Luthi ’12 skied into a season-best result at fourth, with Keith Kantack ’11 coming in ninth in what marked the second consecutive top-10 finish for both Ephs. Evan Dethier ’11 powered into 17th to yield a team total of 96 points, just 16 points off the win.

A third place result in the 5 kilometer classic demonstrated the women’s dominance on their home mountain. Captain Alice Nelson ’10 had her best race of the year, placing solidly in fifth. Close behind was Kirsten Johnson ’11 in eighth place. Christina Knapp ’13 posted a career-best result at 24th. Dartmouth’s Ida Sargent won the race en route to Dartmouth’s overall weekend victory.

On Saturday, the home snow on Prospect Mountain proved to be enough to get Williams over the fifth place barrier that has faced them all season. The men’s nordic team, hauling 101 points on its second day of competition, placed third in the 10 kilometer skate race. The team put two in the top five – a season first – with Luthi in fourth and captain Alex Taylor ’10 in fifth. Dethier rounded out the Ephs’ scoring in 21st. Luthi and Taylor’s strong results give them valuable NCAA qualifying points going into the EISA championships.

The nordic women faltered on Saturday, unable to keep up the momentum from their stellar third place finish on Friday. Sarah Tory ’11 was the team’s top scorer, placing 16th for her second straight top-20 finish this season. Nelson came in 19th, with Johnson finishing in 25th. This gave the women 72 points on the day, good enough for fifth place.

“[The weekend’s] results speak for the effort and passion our team has for ski racing,” Nordic Head Coach Bud Fisher said.

Taylor seemed unsuprised by the strong team performance at the home carnival. “As expected, we carried our momentum from Dartmouth into our home carnival,” he said when asked about the Ephs’ exceptionally strong weekend.

Now the team looks to continue this momentum even further into the EISA championships, the regional collegiate championships, this weekend at the Middlebury Snow Bowl. If Williams races well at EISAs, the team and possibly individual racers will qualify for the NCAA finals in Steamboat, Colo., on March 10-13. NCAA participants are selected based on individual and team performances, and while season results can give individual skiers an advantage in start position, the selections will be entirely determined by this upcoming weekend’s championship race.

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