While a few members of the Harvard ski team will be back on the very same hill at Middlebury less than three weeks from now at NCAA Championships, most of the skiers enjoyed their last races of the carnival season at the Breadloaf and Snow Bowl.
This weekend marked the last regular season races, as the team now looks ahead to the EISA Championships and NCAA Championships in the weeks to come.
On the Nordic side, freshman Emily Hanna led the Crimson women for the first day, finishing 35th overall with a time of 17:36. Junior Chris Stock paced the men, placing 16th with a time of 27:16, keeping his hopes of an NCAA berth alive with the result.
“Friday was our best classic result of the year and one of the best days we’ve had as a team this season,” Harvard Nordic coach Chris City said. “Saturday’s race was less good. We had a couple of people get injured and one person who was sick, so we were a little short-handed.”
Two other Crimson women finished in the top 50 on Friday, with freshman Annie Harvieux and senior Alena Tofte—who was returning from an injury—placing 41st and 42nd, respectively.
Saturday proved to be more of a challenge for the Nordic team, whose top finisher on the women’s side was unable to break the top 40. Despite the result, City credited junior Jen Rolfes—who placed 43rd—with one of her best races of the season. On the men’s side, sophomore Akeo Maifeld-Carucci came in 19th after starting close to the back.
“[Jen Rolfes] did the same thing that Akeo did,” City said. “It was a mass start race, and she was almost at the back of the field and skied her way all the way up. She did it the hard way, by having to pass a lot of people.”
City was impressed with the speed that his skiers were still showing toward the end of the season, especially the freshmen that are still adjusting to a college racing schedule. The Nordic roster boasts five freshmen.
“Overall I’m pleased with how we are skiing this late in the season,” City said. “It’s a time when a lot of teams are getting slower and we’re getting faster, so that’s great…. They’re doing a good job of getting rest and recovery during the week so that when we get to the weekends and we’re racing, they’re still feeling reasonably fresh.”
The alpine team also remained competitive throughout the weekend, as junior Rebecca Nadler—the first Harvard skier to win an NCAA title—led the way in the giant slalom with a ninth place finish in 2:11.55. Nadler followed up the performance with a 15th place finish in the slalom after she shaved almost a second off of her time in the second run.
“I know I need to put two strong ones together,” Nadler said. “That’s the hill that NCAAs are going to be on, so I was happy to get at least one fast run in and know the hill a little better.”
Senior Catherine Sheils came in 29th overall despite a mistake in the second run that added over two seconds to her previous time.
The men had more difficulty breaking into the upper reaches of the standings. In both events, freshman Matthew Mansson was the only skier to finish both runs in both events, coming in 43rd overall in the giant slalom and the slalom.
Freshman Jack Stobierski qualified for the second round in the slalom for the first time in his career, but he did not finish.
“It’s pretty tough with the top 60 cutoff [to qualify for the second race],” Nadler said. “The men’s team is competing against guys who were on national teams and skiing world cups. Our guys don’t quite have the mileage that those guys do.”