Skiing took fifth place in the Williams Carnival with 562 points, paced by a strong third-place finish by the men’s Nordic team. Personal bests from several Eph skiers resulted in the team’s best carnival finish this season.
The Nordic events took place on Friday and Saturday in Lake Placid, N.Y. on a 2.5k loop and had the novel format of a pursuit start. In the men’s race, the new format led to outstanding results for the Ephs on both days. On Saturday, the team packed five skiers into the top 17, all of whom finished within 20 seconds of one another. First for Williams was Eli Hoenig ’17, who posted the fourth-fastest time of the day, 13:44 – only 12 seconds behind Fabian Stocek of Dartmouth. Hoenig used a strong second run to move his cumulative time from 11th to fifth for the weekend. Joining Hoenig in the top ten was Jack Schrupp ’18, who finished in 13:47.2 to come in sixth on the day and seventh for the carnival. Braden Becker ’19 also moved up, claiming 11th with a time of 14:07. Jordan Fields ’17 crossed the line with the 13th fastest time of the day and was 10th overall. Nick Gardner ’19 finished in 20th place overall, with his first ever top ten-finish in the race on Friday in a time of 24:52.9. Evan Carr ’19 rounded out the scoring, coming in 26th for the day and 15th for the weekend. The strong races by the men led to 210 points and an impressive third place finish.
The women, on the other hand, came in sixth with 132 points. Hannah Benson ’17 had the best finish for the Ephs, posting the 17th-fastest time and moving into 17th overall after coming in 23rd on Friday. Hannah Cole ’17, who came in 20th on the first day of racing, had the 23rd fastest time on the second to finish in 19th for the weekend, while Olivia Meyerson ’16 ultimately finished in 34th place overall to round out the scoring.
At the Berkshire East Mountain Resort, the alpine team competed in slalom. While the UVM women claimed victory in 1:55.73, Hannah Hunsaker ’19 continued to shine, coming in ninth with a total time of 1:59.60. Gibson Donnan ’19 and Grace Merriman ’19 continued their streak of exceptional weekends at their first home carnival, coming in 21st and 24th, respectively, with cumulative times of 2:04.08 and 2:05.18, leading the women to fourth place. In the giant slalom, Dartmouth skier Foreste Peterson won with a combined time of 1:34.88, while the top Eph finisher was Hunsaker, who claimed 20th place in 1:38.16.
Finishing in sixth place with 73 points, the men’s alpine team was led once again by Bryan Bailey ’19, who placed the best of any Ephs skier for the day. Bailey, turned in a first run of 57.35, which was the seventh fastest of the entire field and, in his second run, he managed to finish fast enough to claim fourth place. Bailey’s total time of 2:00.34 was less than a second back from Middlebury skier Colin Hayes’s winning time. The next Williams finisher was Stockton Troyer ’19, who turned in a time of 2:04.25 to put him solidly in 27th place. Co-captain Marc Talbott ’18 came in 31st for the Ephs.
Bailey was again the first Eph to cross the finish line in the giant slalom at Jiminy Peak, ultimately coming in 31st with a cumulative time of 1:35.87.
The team is deeply satisfied with its performance at its home carnival. “Racing at your home carnival always brings a high level of excitement, even if the race venue is three hours from campus. Right from the gun you could see the urgency and energy of the entire field as they were able to race side by side with their competitors over such a short distance. Our team skied aggressively and gutsy and scored a ton of team points,” said Head Coach Jason Lemieux ’01.
The 2016 EISA Carnival season will continue with regionals next week at the Middlebury Carnival, where skiers will have their last opportunities to qualify for NCAAs in Steamboat, Colo.