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A sea of change has come to the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association, but Harvard seems unaffected by its ripples. After winning the past two carnivals, the University of Vermont has replaced Dartmouth as the top squad in the East. The Crimson, meanwhile, finished the Colby Carnival in ninth—its standing for the entire 2010 season.
But while Harvard’s overall results may not be turning heads, two skiers—freshman Rebecca Nadler and sophomore Alena Tofte—are proving themselves to be some of the region’s best.
Nadler followed up last weekend’s fourth-place finish with another strong performance in the giant slalom, finishing sixth this weekend. Tofte placed eight in the 10k classic race for the best finish of her career.
“I was pretty happy with how I did Friday,” Nadler said.
Last weekend, Nadler’s performance paved the way for a fourth-place team finish in the event.
But this weekend at Sugarloaf, her top-10 showing proved to be a bright spot in what was otherwise a disappointing finish for the women’s alpine team. Nadler was the only Harvard skier to successfully complete both runs in the giant slalom.
All of the Crimson’s skiers successfully completed both events in the slalom, but the team still finished in ninth.
“Unfortunately, we had some trouble finishing,” Nadler said. “The result wasn’t what we were hoping for, but we still have a lot of potential to get better.”
The men’s alpine team placed 10th in both of its events, but Nadler pointed out that the nature of alpine skiing makes it hard for skiers to move up in the rankings.
Because of their school’s low seeding, she said, Harvard’s men are consistently forced to start later in the day, when the snow is the worst.
“I think it’s really tough starting at the back,” Nadler said. “No one questions how hard [the men] work...I think everyone’s working really hard. The work is there; the results are going to come.”
Tofte, whose performances have consistently improved since her freshman season, was another highlight in the team’s showing.
“She’s been fast all season,” said Nordic coach Chris City ’94. “I think that’s a good demonstration of what she’s capable of...she’s got more of those to come, I hope.”
Tofte and her fellow Nordic skiers competed on a different course than anticipated because the weekend’s weather rendered the original course unsafe. The change may have been advantageous for Tofte and freshman Chris Stock, who placed 17th in the men’s race.
“Chris and Alena tend to do well on courses that have more gentle climbing,” City said. “It was a good course for them, and they made the most of it.”
Tofte was resiliant despite difficult terrain on the course.
“That’s definitely Alena’s career race,” City said. “She did a good job of not letting the conditions bother her. She just put her head down and went.”
That tenacity carried into the final kilometer of the 10k race, when Tofte passed several racers in the final stretch.
“Everybody gets tired at the end of races,” City said. “She managed to find a little bit of strength...She was racing really hard right to the end.”
The rest of the Nordic squad was unable to match the successes of Tofte and Stock.
The women finished tied for sixth in the 10k classic and ninth in the 3x6.6k free relay, while the men placed seventh in the 10k classic and 11th in the relay.
“Our relays didn’t go well,” City said. “I think we panicked early and dug ourselves into a hole and weren’t able to dig ourselves out of it.”
But City added that a freshman Jen Rolfes, competing for the squad’s “B” entry, had a noteworthy race.
“Jen Rolfes had probably one of her better races of the season,” City said. “I put her on the B team, but she skied well enough to be on the A team.”
—Staff writer Christina C. McClintock can be reached at email@example.com.
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