Traveling west to the 89th annual Williams Carnival, Harvard skiing ended the weekend in the ninth spot—a familiar finish for the Alpine and Nordic teams. The Crimson earned ninth for the fourth time in as many competitions this season, notching its ninth consecutive ninth-place result since 2006.
Another team in a rhythm, Dartmouth secured its fourth carnival victory this winter, edging out Middlebury by a mere nine points with a final of 616. Harvard totaled 187, ahead of St. Michael’s College and Bowdoin College.
Competing outside of the Ivy League, the Crimson faces experienced New England squads in the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association, making the climb out of ninth place a tough one.
“We’re racing in the most difficult league in the country,” Alpine coach Tim Mitchell said. “Whoever wins the EISA is generally either first or second in the nation. It’s far deeper than any other sport that Harvard competes in terms of the strength of the league. It would be like Harvard football competing against Michigan and Notre Dame.”
“We’re closing the gap,” Nordic coach Peter Graves said. “We’re working our way up against schools that have had ski programs for more than a century and are incredibly strong.”
The Williams Carnival introduced a 3x3 relay race, a challenge the Crimson faced for the first time this season. For the women, the relay event ended well as captain Anna Schulz, sophomore Audrey Mangan and freshman Alyssa Devlin placed 13th among 20 teams, gaining 38 points. The dynamic trio’s combined time of 35:18.1 was only six seconds behind 12th place Colby College.
Individually, these three earned their own successes in the 5K freestyle. Finishing 34th, Devlin was the Crimson’s top placer in the event, with Mangan a few seconds and two places behind. Schulz finished right after Mangan at the 37th position. The three high finishes boosted Harvard’s total tally by 30 points.
The men’s 10K freestyle saw strong performances, as sophomore Trevor Petach finished 41st, barely beating out teammate and junior Dave McCahill, who was a short .5 seconds behind in the 42nd spot. The high placements and close finishes added 13 points for the Crimson.
The men’s relay, however, was not as favorable, as the pair of three-person teams landed the 19th and 20th positions.
For women’s Alpine, captain Alexandra Teng finished first in both events, with a 37th place finish in the slalom and 44th in the giant slalom, racking in 16 points.
“Teng was absolutely fantastic this weekend,” Mitchell said. “She had by far the best results of her life and I could not be more happy for her. She really made a break through here.”
On the men’s side, freshman Brad Alvarez’s standout performance in the slalom placed him in 32nd position. In the Giant Slalom, sophomore Christopher Kinner was Harvard’s highest placement, landing the 38th spot with a combined time of 1:46.48. Although Kinner’s performance proves impressive, his standings are not reflective of his potential.
“Chris Kinner has been skiing unbelievably all year long,” Mitchell said. “He just gets unlucky and catches an edge wrong, something completely freak by chance and it kind of takes him out, but he is one of the fastest skiers in the league. He’s just got to do it consistently. I think he could be top 10 pretty easily.”
The Alpine team put forth fewer skiers than usual, as captain Matt Basilico and high-performing freshman Margie Thorp were both sidelined due to injuries.
This coming weekend, the Crimson hopes to field a full team for the final races of the season at the Middlebury Carnival, which doubles as the EISA Eastern Championships.
—Staff writer Kara T. Kelley can be reached at email@example.com.