Skiing powers to 5th at Middlebury Carnival

Both the nordic and alpine teams competed in the Middlebury Carnival, in which the squads combined for fifth overall. UVM took home first place.

Due to a cancelled giant slalom at the Dartmouth Carnival on Feb. 8-9, the alpine competitors hoping to qualify for NCAAs raced an unprecedented third day on Sunday to make up for the missed race. Weather proved to be an obstacle in the giant slalom again. Intense winds shut down the chairlift, so the athletes had to be carried up to the top of the racecourse in Snowcats, the machines used for grooming the trails.

“The wind played a huge factor in the race, making it incredibly unfair for people who were hit by big gusts of wind in their runs,” women’s alpine captain Geordie Lonza ’13 said. “I think all of us definitely felt hindered by the wind and having to be taken to the start in a Snowcat, as it threw off our routines.”

On Saturday, Will Wicherski ’15 led the nordic men for the second day with a seventh-place finish in the 20k race in 46:36.9. Kalle Jahn ’14 showed an impressive performance, finishing 24th in 49:15.5. Wicherski and Jahn’s performances helped anchor the team in fourth place for the race by earning 74 points.

For the women, Olivia Meyerson ’16 had the top finish for the second consecutive race, finishing in 18th place with a time of 42:58. Christina Knapp ’13 was close behind, skiing the 15k race in 43:39 to help the women to seventh place as a team.

The alpine half of the team once again skied strong races in the giant slalom on Saturday. Lonza kept up her momentum from the day before with a strong fourth-place finish. Her two-run total time, 2:10.69, was only .09 of a second off the podium. Lonza was joined in the top 30 by Annie Leiter ’13, who had her best finish of the season in 11th with a two-run total time of 2:12.22, and Sarah Cottrill ’15, who came in 26th. The women collected enough points to keep them solidly in fourth place with 87 points.

Although the men did not quite match their success from Day One, they were led by Chris Nocek ’13 in the top 30 with a 27th-place finish. The next two finishers for Williams were Victor Major ’15 in 36th and Dylan Thomas ’15 in 38th.

On Friday, the first day of carnival competition, Wicherski led the men’s nordic squad in the 10k classic race with the top finish of the day in fourth place. He rounded the course in 26:13, which is the top finish of the year for any Eph. Vanya Rybkin ’15, Ian Nesbitt ’13, Phil Tosteson ’13 and Isaac Hoenig ’14, all finished in the top 30 to put the men fourth overall in the race.

Meyerson and Knapp had the top finishes for the women at 15th and 24th place, respectively. Meyerson rounded the 5k course in 17:00.5, while Knapp completed her race in 17:24.5.

“The races this weekend were on the trails that NCAAs are going to be on, so it was fun to get to know that course,” women’s nordic co-captian Elena Luethi ’15 said.

The alpine women took to the slopes on Friday with great snow conditions and great weather. The highlight of the day occurred when Lonza took her first individual win of the season. Coming in second after her first run, Lonza laid down the fastest time on her second run, conquering the course in a two-run total time of 1:39.64 that earned her the win. The rest of the women also had strong results, with top 30 finishes from Leiter in 24th and Shannon Campbell ’14 in 26th. The women held an impressive fourth-place team result as races came to a close on Friday.

On the men’s side, Major came in 16th, closely followed by Nocek in 24th and Carson Houle ’15 in 35th. The men finished with 55 points, putting them in eighth place as a team at the end of Friday.

Both squads head to the Bates Carnival this weekend to compete in NCAA Regional Championships.