Rebecca Nadler earned her spot in Harvard skiing history this weekend, winning the giant slalom and becoming the first woman to ever win a collegiate alpine race for the Crimson in EISA competition. Riding Nadler’s performance, Harvard placed ninth overall at the Williams Carnival held Friday through Saturday. The Nordic competition took place in Craftsbury, Vt., while the alpine skiers squared off at Jiminy Peak in Hancock, Mass.
Nadler was able to beat out her competition in the giant slalom by more than a full second, finishing with a time of 1:47.73. Not only did the sophomore alpine skier win the entire event, but she also won both the first and second runs, ending her string of second-place finishes in the giant slalom.
“That’s been my goal for a really long time,” Nadler said. “And to cross the finish line with people cheering and to know that I’d done it was probably one of the happiest days of my life.”
“The fact that Becca won both runs is absolutely incredible,” said Crimson alpine coach Tim Mitchell. “To hear the comments from the other coaches on the side of the hill when she came by, they were like, ‘That’s the win’. They didn’t even need to watch her ski all the way down because she was clearly just that much better on the day.”
Nadler now leads in the giant slalom and overall points for the EISA going into regional championships.
“It was an exceptional achievement, but I’m really not shocked or surprised,” Mitchell said. “She’s that good of a skier, and it’s awesome to see her start to realize that.”
“My team has been awesome.” Nadler said. “We’ve all been working so hard, [and] I was so happy that they were so happy for me. It really meant a lot to have their support.”
Junior Catherine Sheils placed 30th in the giant slalom at 1:55.19. Senior Caroline McHugh and freshman Elizabeth Strong followed up in 37th and 40th place, respectively.
Nadler continued her success over the weekend by finishing in third place in the women’s slalom with a time of 1:37.15.
“I’m generally much stronger in giant slalom, so to have a podium finish in slalom was really awesome.” Nadler said. “I was not expecting that, but again, I think I was just trying to carry over from giant slalom and ski with confidence there too.”
Coming in fourth place overall, the Harvard women’s alpine team was only nine points out of second place but suffered a setback in the slalom when Sheils—one of the Crimson’s top slalom skiers—hit a rut in the course.
“Fourth is great, but we still have those feelings of shades of what could have been,” Mitchell said.
The Harvard men’s alpine team has had to work with a small roster all season but faced an even greater challenge with senior Andrew Spielvogel and sophomore Ian Anderson out for the weekend with shoulder injuries. Senior Kevin McNamara was alone in representing the Crimson in the men’s alpine races and did not qualify for the giant slalom.
Due to a lack of snow, only one of the Nordic races—the men’s 10k classic—took place this weekend. In the event, sophomore Chris Stock had his best result in his collegiate career, finishing in 28:14.2 for a 16th-place finish.
“I’ve been working with my coaches on getting an efficient stride, and this particular course had quite a bit of striding, so I was able to ski fairly well,” Stock said.
“[Chris has] been consistently around 20th all year, so it’s nice to see him moving up at the end of the season.” said Harvard Nordic coach Chris City ’94. “I was pleased with the way he’s skied. It’s a tough field.”
Sophomore Tanner Wiegand earned 61st in the 10k standings with a mark of 31:08.2 and was closely followed by senior teammate Torin O’Brien, who landed in 66th place with his time of 31:53.6.
Junior Alena Tofte continued to have strong results for the Crimson, placing 10th in the women’s 10k classic with a time of 32:18.7. Coming in at 34:02.1, junior Esther Kennedy took 29th.
“It wasn’t necessarily our deepest performance, but I thought it was at the top end,” City said. “It’s nice to see people skiing fast as they were going into the last weekend of the regular season.”
Coming off Nadler’s historic weekend, Harvard will compete in the Middlebury Carnival, which also doubles as the EISA regional championships, next weekend.
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FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR, RUNNER-UP, FEMALE BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR, RUNNER-UP: Rebecca Nadler