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This weekend, the Harvard ski team kicked off its 2017 season at the St. Lawrence University Carnival. The two-day event was held at two venues in upstate New York—the cross-country racers competing at Lake Placid and the alpine team at Whiteface Mountain.
Racing in very competitive fields, stacked with current and former U.S. Ski Team members and the best collegiate racers from the 17 teams in the NCAA Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association, the Crimson finished in 10th place.
At the Mt. Van Hoevenberg cross-country ski trails in Lake Placid the EISA Nordic season began on Friday with a 1.5-kilometer classic sprint. The flat course led to highly competitive heats with tight qualification times.
In the women’s final, Harvard sophomore Nina Armstrong finished in seventh out of 96 racers with a time of 2:44. Fellow sophomore, Hannah Hardenbergh also finished in the top-15, crossing the finish just one second after Armstrong.
In the men’s classic sprint final, junior Haakon Sigurslid had a strong top-10 finish. Sigurslid was followed by senior Devlin Shea and freshman William Rhatigan in 40th and 55th overall, respectively.
On Saturday morning, the Nordic racing continued in Lake Placid with longer races featuring multiple challenging climbs and descents.
In the women’s 5k race, Hardenbergh led the the Crimson women with a strong 10th place finish. She was followed closely by senior Rachel Hampton and Armstrong in 21st and 25th, respectively. Freshman Tegan Thorley had a solid first collegiate race, completing the grueling course in 16:12 to grab 34th place.
On the men’s side, U23 World Championship qualifier Cal Deline from Dartmouth won the 10k race by a decisive seventeen seconds, finishing in 26:59. For Harvard, junior Connor Green led with a 56th place finish.
“It was a really strong start for our team. We had some very good performances that put our team into the top 5 and we are only going to get stronger as the season goes on,” Hampton said. “I am very excited to see what we can do.”
Over at Whiteface Mountain, the venue for the 1980 Olympics, the Alpine carnival season began on Friday with a big win in the Giant Slalom race for Middlebury sophomore, Caroline Bartlett. Bartlett dominated both runs, winning by a combined margin of 3.89 seconds.
The Crimson women posted strong results in the GS race with junior Kelly Steeves taking 35th overall and freshman Courtney Clark finishing close behind in 52nd in her collegiate debut.
William St. Germain, from the University of Vermont, was the men’s GS collegiate victor.
On Saturday, the alpine racers battled rough conditions with thick fog and a deteriorating course.
In her first race representing the University of Vermont, former U.S. Ski Team member, Paula Moltzan won the women’s slalom.
Building on two successful seasons with a handful of second and third place finishes, Dartmouth Junior Brian Mclaughlin capitalized on his start position as the first racer on the course to take home the first EISA carnival win of his career.
“Conditions were tough because of warm temperatures and a dense fog overnight. The snow had a soft wet layer and still the hard layer a foot underneath. I was lucky enough to run first on the first run, so I could ski the line I wanted even though it was soft,” said Mclaughlin. “It was bumpy, just had to fight your way down.”
For ski racers used to an individual sport, the carnival circuit is a unique opportunity to compete in a team format.
“The carnival circuit is more of a team event than anything else in our sport,” Mclaughlin said. The girls help us by slipping and carrying clothes and vice versa. It's cool to be racing directly for more than yourself.”
In the overall team competition for the SLU Carnival, Dartmouth finished first with a combined score of 961 points, followed by the University of Vermont..
—Staff writer Rena Simkowitz can be reached at email@example.com.
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