Crimson Finishes Up Season of Progress With Familiar Finish at EISAs

Wrapping up their season, Harvard Alpine and Nordic ski teams invariably finished in the ninth spot at EISA Championships this weekend. Among the fourteen other schools at Middlebury, Vt., the Crimson secured its rank for the fifth and final time this winter.

Victorious Dartmouth took the trophy with 928 total points.

Men’s Alpine saw positive results with the return of captain Matt Basilico and the consistent placements of sophomore Christopher Kinner. Harvard’s top finisher in the slalom and giant slalom, Kinner landed the 32nd position in the two downhill events. Basilico was the next Crimson athlete to cross the line in both races, skiing a single second slower than Kinner at the 39th spot in the GS.

Unable to race for the past few carnivals due to back injury, Basilico leapt into this weekend with little practice.

“We saw really good skiing from Matt Basilico given that he had been off snow for three weeks,” Alpine coach Tim Mitchell said. “He came back with essentially no training and was able to jump in quite well.”

Basilico put up a total of 28 points and Kinner contributed 43 to Harvard’s team total of 407.

Also back in action was freshman Margie Thorp, who placed 36th in the slalom.

Thorp’s return boded well for Harvard in the GS, as she finished second-fastest for the Crimson behind 48th place captain Alexandra Teng in the GS. Teng’s two runs combined for a time less than a second faster than Thorp, who finished 50th. Thorp added 32 tallies, while Teng gave 18.

As the Alpine team finished on a high note, so did the Nordic. For the cross country women’s squad, sophomore Audrey Mangan was first across the line for the Crimson in the 10K classic. Mangan earned the 29th position and 22 points with a time of 32:30.8. Freshman Alyssa Devlin finished less than seven seconds later and two spots behind, contributing 21 points.

Devlin added another 25 as she placed 23rd in the women’s 5K freestyle. Mangan and junior captain Anna Schulz landed the 31st and 44th spots, respectively, and combined to tally 39.

Co-captain Oliver Burruss had a standout performance in his last runs in a Crimson uniform. As Harvard’s first finisher in both events, Burruss earned 40 points, landing 31st in the 10K freestyle and 48th in the 15K classic.

With the goal to finish in the top 30, Burruss completed the 10K freestyle a second out with a time of 24:06.5. His relative time and placement were personal bests, only 1.5 seconds away from scoring NCAA points.

“Ollie has been not only captain last year and co-captain this year, but he has been a very big leader on the team,” Nordic coach Peter Graves said. “He has a really serious approach and he really, really loves cross country skiing. I am extremely proud of the efforts that he made and I think he’s had an incredible four-year career.

“He’s made great progress and we’ll miss him a lot.”

Also adding to the effort, junior Dave McCahill contributed a total of 34 points with his 47th and 51st place finishes. Unlike Burruss, Nable and Moore, McCahill will be one of four returning for the men’s Nordic team, along with high-placing sophomore Trevor Petach.

With its consistent season of ninth-place finishes, the Crimson ski team looks ahead with optimism. Among its goals are moving up from its consistent placement and qualifying for NCAAs in future seasons.

“I think this has been the best team depth that we’ve had since I’ve been coaching here,” Graves said. “And I think that’s a really good sign for the future.”

—Staff writer Kara T. Kelley can be reached at kkelley@fas.harvard.edu.

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