Skiing combines for 5th at Bates

Skiing ended its regular season with a combined fifth-place finish this weekend at the Eastern Collegiate Championships hosted by Bates. UVM took home the victory in the carnival, soundly defeating Dartmouth.

The carnival opened with the slalom on Saturday. Men’s alpine struggled on the day despite solid runs from co-captains Jeff Putnam ’11 and Alex Reeves ’11 in the slalom. Both men finished in the top 30: Putnam skied to 23rd and Reeves finished in 27th. Whitney Mikell ’12 also scored for the Ephs, ending in 42nd after two runs. The men finished eighth on the day.

Captain Annie Hanson ’11 led the women in the slalom as she qualified in the top 30 for her second run. The mark was her best result of the season. Scoring for the team were Geordie Lonza ’13 in fourth, Laurel Carter ’12 in eighth and rookie Shannon Campbell ’14 in 13th. The women’s team finished the day in second overall on the strength of these runs, beating Dartmouth by a slim two-point margin.

The men turned in a fifth-place result in the 10k skate despite the difficulty presented by the powdery snow. Co-captain Evan Dethier ’11 proved his dominance with a 10th-place result. Dimitri Luethi ’12 skied to 17th, conserving energy for the mass-start classic race the following day. Co-captain Keith Kantack ’11 raced to 27th, and Mark Johnson ’11 followed closely in 28th. Isaac Hoenig ’14 ended the race in 35th, and Phil Tosteson ’13 fought to 40th in the event.

The women also raced the 5k skate Saturday, as Holly Whitney ’12 led the Ephs with a career-best finish of 27th. Captain Sarah Tory ’11, who previously qualified for NCAAs in the event, struggled through difficult conditions to place 29th. Kirsten Johnson ’11 rounded out the scoring in 41st. Maddy Wendt ’11, Christina Knapp ’12 and Hannah Hausman ’12 struggled Saturday, falling to 45th, 46th and 48th, respectively, as the team finished eighth overall.

Sunday held the giant slalom for the alpine men and women. Putnam took his final collegiate race to heart and had a fantastic first run, finishing in 19th place and leading the Ephs as they turned to the second run. Alex Jerred ’14 used a blistering second run to charge into 19th. His teammates followed his lead, as Putnam turned in  20th and Sean Cummiskey ’12 raced to 22nd. The alpine men finished the day in sixth place.
The women’s team raced well Sunday, seeking to send Hanson out in style in her final carnival. “We have trained with the motto for the past two years of ‘last one, best one,’” Hanson said, “and everyone for sure skied that way.” After the first run, the women were in second place as a team. Lonza was in first after her blazing first run, which put her 0.6 seconds ahead of the field. She held on to first after her second run, giving her a victory in the final race of the season before NCAAs. Carter finished in 11th and Campbell followed her in 18th. The women finished third on the day.

The men’s mass-start 20k classic race was first for the nordic racers on Sunday. Classic standout Luethi stayed with the lead group throughout the race. He finished the race in third, just 12 seconds out of first place, which was claimed by Dartmouth’s Eric Packer. Kantack redeemed his disappointing result from Saturday with a ninth-place finish. Mark Johnson had his best classic race this year, finishing 16th overall. The Eph needed to finish in at least 16th to qualify for NCAA finals, but UNH’s Harrison Harb tied him for the final qualification spot. The tie was settled by comparing each skier’s best result in the season. Unfortunately, Harb’s finish outweighed Mark Johnson’s, which sent the UNH skier to NCAAs.
Mark Johnson was proud of his race but disappointed by the tiebreak situation. “I’m just happy that I was able to come out and compete with those guys,” he said. “It’s disappointing that I came through in a classic race and was still unable to see the benefits, but I’ll have other opportunities to do well in the future.”

Hoenig turned in a season best result with his 23rd-place finish, and Dethier was close behind in 28th. Tosteson struggled to 38th-place in the event. The men finished in third overall on the day.

Kirsten Johnson led the women’s charge in the 20k, ending her run in 20th. The result was her second best of the season. Tory followed her in 29th, and Whitney rounded out the Ephs’ scoring in 31st. Knapp also turned in a solid result, finishing close behind in 32nd. Wendt and Hausman continued to struggle this weekend, placing 45th and 51st respectively as the Ephs skated into sixth.

The combined fifth-place result was a fitting end to the regular season as the team says farewell to several exceptional skiers: Hanson, Putnam, Reeves, Dethier, Kantack, Tory, Wendt, Mark Johnson and Kristen Johnson will graduate this year. The alpine team qualified a full contingent of three women for NCAAs: Lonza, Carter and Annie Leiter ’13 will compete in the championships in two weeks. The nordic team will send Luethi, Kantack and Tory to NCAAs, which will be hosted by UVM March 9-12.