Skiing takes fifth at final regular season event of the year

The alpine and Nordic ski teams took fifth place at the St. Lawrence Carnival last weekend, the teams’s final regular season event, taking to the slopes and the trails at the 1932 and 1980 Olympic venues in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Races began Friday afternoon with the men’s giant slalom. Christoph Lentz ’15 raced to a career-best second-place finish. Lentz posted two blistering times of 1:06.00 and 1:03.07 for a total of 2:09.07, beating out a tight field to claim his silver-place podium finish behind UVM’s St-Germain. Lentz’s efforts were key to the Ephs success, as were those of Charles Harrison ’18 who clocked in 2:12.68 for 27th place, co-captain Victor Major ’15 who took 34th in 2:14.07 and co-captain Carson Houle ’15 in 39th.

The women were led by captain Sarah Cottrill ’15, who also came out near the top of a handful of very tight skiers. Cottrill posted a first run time of 1:08.99 and a second run of 1:05.16 to put her in 11th overall. Her elapsed time of 2:14.15 was less than a second out of the top 10. Lara Lathrop ’18 and Gabrielle Markel ’17 rounded out the scorers for the women’s alpine team, coming in 40th and 41st, respectively.

The Nordic races also saw some very tight times on a notoriously difficult course. The men placed three scorers in the top 15 to take third overall for the day. First for the Ephs was Jordan Fields ’17. Fields took his first five-kilometer lap out hard, clocking in at 12th on the split and ended up in 11th with a time of 29:16.2. Fields, captain Will Wicherski ’15 and Eli Hoenig ’17 all skied remarkably similar races. Wicherski was 12th in 29:17.5 and Hoenig was 13th in 29:18.9. Vanya Rybkin ’15 had a great day as well, coming in 17th with a total time of 29:37, as did Jack Schrupp ’18 who took 23rd in 30:05.1.

In the women’s 5k, a share of strong performances put the women in sixth overall. Hannah Cole ’17 continued her streak of top 10 performances, posting a time of 16:43 to take ninth overall. Tsaina Mahlen ’17 also finished in the top 15, finishing in 16:59.7, only four seconds out of 11th and beating out a cluster of skiers who were all within three seconds of her time. Hannah Benson ’17 posted a time of 17:21.1 to take 29th while Olivia Meyerson ’16 was 32nd in 17:26.6.

On Saturday,  the Williams ski teams improved upon their Friday performances and put up some of their top times of the season.

For women’s alpine, Cottrill skied the slalom course in times of 58.09 and 59.85 for an elapsed time of 1:57.94, good for 18th place. This strong performance allowed the women to take ninth for the day.

For men’s alpine, Houle clocked his slalom first run in an impressive 56.08 seconds, the 10th fastest in the field. His second run of 57.58 seconds was 18th in the field and enough to place him in 13th overall with a total time of 1:53.66. Also in the top 20 for the day were Lentz in 17th and Harrison in 20th.

The women’s Nordic team, which raced a 15-kilometer mass start classic race, finished in sixth for the day. Cole led the women’s team, crossing the finish line in 12th in 55:37.0, Joining Cole in the top 20 were Mahlen and Meyerson in 17th and 18th, respectively. All three scoring members contributed to the women’s sixth place finish.

The men, who skied a 20-kilometer version of the race, also put three skiers in the top 20 and four in the top 30, ensuring they retained their commanding third-place team score. Wicherski was the first of the Ephs to cross the finish line, coming in 13th in just over an hour. Joining Wicherski in the top 20 were Schrupp and Hoeing.

With the carnival season coming to a close, four Ephs will be returning to Lake Placid to compete the NCAA Div. I National Championships. These events will occur the week of March 15th with the Nordic events culminating on Wednesday and Friday and the alpine races on Thursday and Saturday.

“The last carnival went well, with multiple personal bests and many strong races,” Wicherski said. “It was a great opportunity to test ourselves on the same course that Nationals will be held on in two weeks. Both men and women had strong races despite some mishaps in the mass start.  Men’s Nordic placed third both days behind Div. I powerhouses Darthmouth and UVM, and women’s Nordic was in the thick of things all weekend. As a combined team we were fourth, the first Div. III school, and it honestly reflects how strong our program is in a Div. I sport.”

“We cemented our place as consistent contenders and we had many outstanding individual performances,” he continued. “In my four years this year has been the most fun, both in terms of the team atmosphere and the racing quality of our team.”

At the NCAA Championships, Wicherski will represent Williams for men’s Nordic along with Hoenig while Cole will represent the women. Lentz will represent men’s alpine. These four have earned their spots through races that consistently ranked them in the top of their fields in the Eastern Region, and they now have the opportunity to race against the rest of the nation.