In the final carnival of the season for nearly all members of the Harvard ski team, the Crimson submitted its fifth straight ninth-place finish out of 17 schools at the EISA Championships in Newry, Maine. Junior Rebecca Nadler, who took home Harvard skiing’s first ever individual NCAA title last winter, was the lone Crimson athlete to qualify for the this season’s national championships.
Harvard accrued 378.5 points on the weekend, well behind the University of Vermont’s top score of 939.5. The Catamounts not only overcame a first-day deficit to Dartmouth, but also completed a perfect season and won their third straight EISA title.
The Crimson was happy with its performances on both the alpine and Nordic sides, even if qualification for NCAA championships did not quite go according to plan.
“We had four athletes with a chance at making [Nordic] NCAA championships,” Harvard Nordic coach Chris City said. “Unfortunately, none of them made it, but they all skied some of their best races of the season this final weekend.”
On the first day, freshman Emily Hannah paced the Crimson with an 18th place finish in the 5K classic, and teammates Jennifer Rolfes and Alena Tofte also represented Harvard in the top 50 with 44th and 45th-place finishes, respectively.
Hannah again led the Crimson with a 13th-place finish in the 10K Freestyle MS out of a field of 72. Rolfes and freshman Annie Harvieux finished in 41st and 42nd place, separated by only four-tenths of a second.
In the Men’s 10K classic, junior Chris Stock raced to a 14th place finish, followed by sophomore Akeo Maifeld-Carucci in 39th and senior Anthony Ryerson in 41st. Maifeld-Carucci also posted a 13th-place finish in the Men’s 15K Freestyle MS, and Ryerson joined him in the top 20. Stock finished in 32nd.
On the alpine side, Nadler led the way for Harvard. She took 13th place in the slalom on Sunday and tied Vermont’s Kate Ryley for first-place in the giant slalom, an event in which Nadler will look to repeat as national champion.
“When the conditions are so good, everybody can put down a fantastic run,” Harvard alpine coach Tim Mitchell said. “So there were a lot of times that were stacked very tightly together,”
Mitchell also praised Nadler, who was the only Crimson skier, Nordic or alpine, to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
“It’s the time of year you want to be hitting your stride, and that’s what she’s been doing,” he said. “The result was not a surprise. You can see it in her skiing and training and now the results she’s making.”
Harvard’s Catherine Sheils, sophomore Liz Strong, and freshman Samantha Udolf also had top-50 finishes in both the slalom and the giant slalom.
For the men, freshman Simon Merryweather led the team in both events, finishing 33rd in the slalom and 49th in the giant slalom. Senior Andrew Spielvogel and junior Ian Anderson also finished both races; Spielvogel came in 52nd in the giant slalom and 46th in the slalom, and Anderson came in 41st in the slalom after finishing 60th in the giant slalom.
“It was a pretty solid overall performance—probably one of our better showings as a team,” Mitchell said. “I think people came a lot closer to executing on race day what they’d been working on in training…and I thought everybody’s second run, for the most part, was better than their first run, so they were able to make adjustments even throughout the day, which is always encouraging to see.”
Both Mitchell and City are encouraged by their team’s performance this weekend, especially given program’s youth and relative inexperience.
“As your college career progresses, you can improve your starting position based on your international ranking points and your previous year’s college performance,” Mitchell said. “Obviously as a freshman, it’s a bit of an uphill climb…. You can have a really great day and on the results sheet it doesn’t necessarily show up as much as their physical performance would have you believe.”
From here, both the alpine and Nordic squads—with the exception of Nadler, who will prepare for the NCAA championships—will focus on non-collegiate races before winding down their seasons.
“Most of our athletes will be doing a bunch of non-collegiate races to build their international ranking points,” Mitchell said. “Those will influence their start positions in college races [next year].”
—Staff writer Justin C. Wong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @justincwong94.
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