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In her first giant slalom race on the collegiate carnival circuit, rookie Rebecca Nadler was nearly unbeatable—only three University of Vermont skiers were able to top her in the event.
Nadler's historic fourth-place finish helped lead the women's alpine squad to a fourth-place team finish in the event just a day after the alpine skiers had finished fifth in the slalom. The strong efforts of the women's alpine team paced the Harvard ski team to an eighth place overall finish at the St. Lawrence Carnival.
"The women [alpine skiers] had their best results in probably 35 years," said Crimson alpine coach Tim Mitchell. "Everybody knew [Nadler] was fast. I don't think anybody [outside of the team] knew she was going to be that fast...it definitely caught a lot of other teams by surprise."
But Mitchell said he wasn't surprised by the performance of Nadler, who will compete at the World University Games.
"I've been very confident that she can ski at that level...It was nice that it came that early."
Also posting a strong finish on the slopes was sophomore Catherine Sheils, who finished 14th in the giant slalom.
"She had a so-so first run but an excellent second run," Mitchell said. "That (second run) really moved her up.
The women's results were particularly impressive given that the squad only has four healthy female alpine skiers.
Meanwhile, the men's alpine team finished ninth in both the slalom and giant slalom events.
"The men skied pretty well," Mitchell said. "Everyone had at least one good finish. The consistency is getting better, and the men are getting much closer. Hopefully we're getting some momentum heading into the Colby Carnival.
The Nordic squad was less than satisfied with its performance. The nordic women finished ninth in both events, while the men took seventh in each event.
"I think the results were not up to expectations...I think nationals were a bit of a drain, and I'm not sure we had completely recharged," said Nordic coach Chris City '94. "This is week is nice; we're at home and we've got a bit of time to catch up."
But there were still positive results to take away, as sophomores Alena Tofte and Tony Ryerson both posted strong finishes. Tofte posted her best ever finish in a 10k free event with a 16th-place result, and Ryerson grabbed the 25th spot in the 15k free event.
The men's finish, while disappointing, was still better than any result the men's squad posted last year.
"Those were the best finishes our men have had in a number of years," City said.
Harvard now sets its sights on Sugarloaf, Maine, where it will compete in the Colby Carnival.
"It was a great way to start the season," Mitchell said. "I'm trying to keep the focus looking forward instead of being satisfied. The team is also capable of more. It was a good start, but it was just a start."
—Staff writer Christina C. McClintock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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