Nordic impresses as skiing finishes fifth at EISA Regional Championship

Last weekend, skiing finished fifth overall at the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) Regional Championship, its final collegiate carnival of the season.

Hosted by Bates, the carnival began Friday at Black Mountain and Sunday River. Battling soft snow and unusually warm temperatures, Nordic competed in the men’s 10k and women’s 5k individual start classic races.

The men, who have been at or near the top of the EISA all season, showed up in top form and placed five racers in the top 12. Early on, Braden Becker ’17 posted the top split, just ahead of co-captain Eli Hoenig ’17.

As the race wore on, however, Hoenig clawed back. He went on to claim the victory in 28:56, becoming the first Eph in history to win an EISA Nordic race. Becker notched second, his best-ever EISA finish.

Hoenig’s dominant performance led the men to their fifth win of the season, in which they scored 134 points.

In the women’s race, Sonya Jampel ’19 led the Ephs with a 14th-place finish, her personal best. Close behind was Carmen Bango ’20 in 16th and Ingrid Thyr ’20 in 17th. The trio of underclassmen contributed to a team score of 79 points, earning the Ephs fifth.

The Alpine competition began with the giant slalom; however, the races were stopped after one run due to adverse track conditions.

The men had two scorers: co-captain Marc Talbott ’18 in 19th and Bryan Bailey ’19 in 28th. On the women’s side, co-captain Hannah Hunsaker ’19 took 15th, followed by Gibson Donnan ’19 in 41st and Makena Jones ’18 in 58th. In the team standings, the women took ninth, and the men were 10th.

The action continued Saturday. In the men’s 20k mass start competition, the men put the entire team in the top 20, with two men making the podium for the second day in a row. Jordan Fields ’17 raced to the best finish of his career, landing in second. He was followed by Hoenig in third, Becker in seventh, Nick Gardner ’19 in ninth, Jack Schrupp ’18 in 15th and Luke Costley ’17 in 20th.

Though the men finished second to Dartmouth in the race, Saturday was one of Nordic’s most successful performances in its history. The women had an incredible showing as well, finishing the day in fourth. Bango led the way in 12th and was followed by Hannah Cole ’17 in 14th and co-captain Hannah Benson ’17 in 15th.

Tough conditions again made the races a grueling test,  and Nordic Head Coach Jason Lemieux ’01, the EISA Nordic Coach of the Year for the second straight season, was proud of how his team rose to the challenge.

“Our team performed phenomenally,” he said. “Their desire, commitment and effort on the race course turned a lot of heads this season.”

Moreover, Alpine put together some remarkable performances despite the tough conditions. In the men’s slalom, Charlie Harrison ’18 and Bailey placed 11th and 12th, respectively. On the women’s side, Clara Hathorne ’20, Donnan and Jones finished 36th, 40th and 43rd, respectively, putting the women in 12th on the day.

Nordic will send Becker, Fields and Hoenig to the NCAA Championship, which will be in Jackson, N.H. from March 8-11. Hunsaker will compete for Alpine, as she and Hoenig will look to win All-American honors for the second straight year.

Nordic graduates Benson, Cole, Costley, Fields, Hoenig, Hans Halvorsen ’17 and Tsaina Mahlen ’17, and Alpine graduates Charlie Shells ’17.