Skiing races to 5th at Dartmouth

Skiing competed in the Dartmouth Carnival on Friday and Saturday, with alpine and nordic combining for a fifth-place overall finish. UVM claimed first place, while host school Dartmouth took second.

Women’s alpine garnered fourth in Friday’s giant slalom. Geordie Lonza ’13 placed third overall to boost the women above the competition, with teammates Shannon Campbell ’14 and Laurel Carter ’12 supporting her in 18th and 19th place, respectively. Dartmouth’s Courtney Hammond took the top spot, while UVM claimed first in the team competition.

“We had a fantastic carnival on the women’s side at Dartmouth,” alpine Head Coach Ed Grees said. “Geordie Lonza was third in the giant slalom for her first carnival podium!” He cited Lonza’s performance, as well as those of teammates Campbell and Carter, as instrumental in “[giving] the ladies their best giant slalom of the year.”

The men claimed eighth on Friday behind a first-place UVM squad. Co-captain Jeff Putnam ’11 came in first for the Ephs in 24th place, while Alex Jerred ’14 and co-captain Alex Reeves ’11 raced to 32nd and 36th, respectively.
“The men had a solid performance,” Grees said. “They had to struggle with later start positions in soft snow but fought hard to get five finishes each day.”

The women gave it their all in the 5k but did not finish as well as they may have hoped. Captain Sarah Tory ’11 was the top finisher in 17th, finishing about a minute slower than the eventual winner from UVM. Kirsten Johnson ’11 was the next finisher in 28th, and Hannah Hausman ’12 followed in 31st. Maddy Wendt ’11 and Holly Whitney ’12 finished close together, placing 36th and 37th, respectively.

Friday’s nordic races were contested on a 5k loop, which the women skied once and the men completed twice. The men continued their streak of strong performances with a third-place combined score on the day, trailing only perennial powerhouses Dartmouth and UVM. Dimitri Luethi ’12 led the way in seventh, proving his ability to compete in skate races as well as classic races. Co-captain Keith Kantack ’11 followed in 11th, just 20 seconds behind Luethi. Mark Johnson ’11 turned in a solid performance, finishing right after Kantack to take 12th. The efforts of Luethi, Kantack and Mark Johnson put Williams comfortably ahead of Middlebury and St. Lawrence, the closest challengers in men’s team scores.

In addition to their top three scorers, the men benefited from their depth. Phil Tosteson ’13 had a career-high performance with his 15th-place finish, marking his first top-15 result in a collegiate race. Rookie Isaac Hoenig ’14 in 27th and co-captain Evan Dethier ’11 in 30th rounded out the men’s results.

On Saturday, both men’s and women’s alpine competed in the slalom race. The women claimed an impressive third-place team finish behind Carter’s blisteringly fast day. Carter turned in another strong performance to finish fourth overall. Lonza took fifth just behind her teammate, while Campbell claimed 19th. While the women did not bring home a first-place finish to equal last weekend’s, their result indicates the team’s consistency and strength.

The men held strong in eighth place on Saturday, battling through the course for a 27th-place finish from Putnam, 30th for Reeves and 31st for Jerred. UVM took top honors for the day in both the men’s and women’s slalom races.

Saturday’s 15k mass-start classic race was also difficult for the nordic women. Tory once again led the charge skiing to 19th, followed by teammates Kirsten Johnson in 29th and Whitney in 33rd. Christina Knapp ’13 followed in 34th and Hausman rounded out the Williams finishers in 36th.

The 20k men’s race on Saturday was held in changing conditions, causing the race to take over an hour to complete. Luethi led the men in 11th place, but described his race as “disappointing,” citing wax troubles due to the unstable conditions. Fellow Eph Kantack finished in 15th, followed by Mark Johnson in 19th and Dethier – who appeared to return to form after illness in the beginning of the season – in 20th. Hoenig turned in his best performance this year in 22nd, finishing just 10 seconds out of the top 20.

After a physically draining performance on Friday, Tosteson managed to break the top 30, finishing 29th. The men’s team score was narrowly beaten by a solid performance from Middlebury, which placed Williams in fourth overall.

The team will compete in one more regular season carnival at Middlebury this weekend before looking to NCAA Regionals at Bates on Feb. 26-27.

“We have two more races prior to the NCAAs in March,” Grees said. “The [alpine] women need to maintain their focus and keep the fire in their eyes glowing. The men need to put what they do every day in training on the race hill. If this happens, we will see a lot of success over the next weeks.”