Saturday, January 5, 2019



(AS OF JANUARY 1, 2019)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Dartmouth's Nef claims SL title; EISA takes 4 of 6 SL podium spots

Dartmouth College's Tanguy Nef skiing GS earlier in the season.

Last night was a late one out at the famed Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs, CO. The final NCAA alpine events, men’s and women’s slalom (SL), were held under the lights. The final run began well after 11:00 p.m. EST. 

It’s okay if you couldn’t stay awake for the races. It’s been a long winter. Last week’s Nor’easter was a doozy, and even I’m still tired from shoveling out the driveway. 

We’ve got the rundown for you.

What you really need to know is: it was a great night for EISA racers. They went out west and did what easterners do best (ski slalom turns).

In short: Dartmouth’s Tanguy Nef is the NCAA SL champion. UVM’s Sandy Vietze is runner-up, and his teammates Paula Moltzan and Francesca English went 2-3 in the women’s race. In case you’re counting, 4 of the 6 podium spots were taken by EISA skiers, 3 of whom are Catamounts.

When you take into account the entire NCAA Championships alpine races, EISA skiers took 7 of the 12 podium positions. (Which, I just noticed, is more than RMISA managed).

After all the races were run (alpine and Nordic), the University of Denver (DU) won the overall title — it’s 24th (!) They tallied 604 points. The University of Colorado claimed second with 563 points, and Dartmouth College climbed up to third (448.5). Last year’s champions, the University of Utah, were fourth this week with 385.5 points. And UVM comes home with 330 for fifth place. Middlebury College made it into the top-10 with 248.

In the men’s race, Tanguy Nef improved upon his GS result and took the overall win in a combined time of 1:20.49. He was in third position following the first run, and UVM’s Vietze was out in front by just one-tenth of a second. Then, Nef nailed the second run: “It was just perfect,” he said afterwards. He won the run and the race. Vietze struggled a bit during the second run (he ended up twelfth on the run) but still managed to take home second in 1:21.26.

Nef’s victory capped a stellar week for the Dartmouth men’s team: both he and teammate Brian McLaughlin head home tomorrow as individual national champs.

“It’s the best feeling you can get, I think. Especially winning not just for you, but for the team,” Nef said.

Dartmouth College’s Head Men’s Coach Peter Dodge was proud of his two champions and pointed out that the key to their performances was their ability to race under pressure. The field is so deep at these championships that virtually any athlete could win. Keeping your head on straight is as important as nailing your turns.

“It’s unbelievable,” Dodge said. “I knew these guys could do it. You never know what’s going to happen. Anything could happen. For sure: Brian in GS, and Nef in Slalom…they had the ability. If you can get it together under all this pressure, that’s what’s really impressive to do, so I’m really proud of these guys.”

Third place in the men’s race went to Tobias Kogler (1:21.47) of the University of Denver, and Middlebury's Erik Arvidsson (1:21.75) made his mark at his first NCAA Championships by claiming fourth place, just one spot out from the podium.

Middlebury Assistant Coach Abby Copeland was thrilled with the first-year’s finish and noted that Arvidsson took time to study how some of the top skiers were racing the course before heading up for his own run.

“[Erik] actually came down to the finish and watched a couple of the first guys with me,” Copeland said. “I think it was good for him to be able to do that. He just settled right in. He knew exactly what he needed to do, and he went up, and he got a little course report, and he freakin’ crushed it. He just did exactly what he needed to do. And it was balanced and awesome skiing. We’re thrilled. We’re really thrilled.”

Counting Arvidsson’s result, 3 out of the top-4 places went to EISA skiers.

“I’m so proud of all of our eastern dudes,” Copeland said. “That is really a special thing, considering most of these Western guys are on national teams for their countries. It’s just really cool to have depth in the east like that.”

Men's SL podium.

Dartmouth College finished second in the men’s SL after tallying 74 points. DU took first with 79 points.

In the women’s race, DU’s Amelia Smart made it 2-for-2 and added a SL crown to the GS win she earned on Wednesday. Smart won the slalom in a combined time of 1:19.21, more than half-a-second ahead of UVM’s Moltzan (1:19.75). Moltzan’s teammate, Francesca English — who, like Arvidsson, is a first-year — raced spectacularly to claim the final podium spot in 1:20.41.

Moltzan, one of the consistent EISA leaders this season, was pumped about UVM’s results and — believe it or not — is already looking to the future.

“It was pretty awesome,” Moltzan said. “I’m super stoked for all my teammates, including Sandy and Francesca. Francesca is a freshman, so it’s a pretty bright future for her. And to have such a young team doing so well…it’s kind of amazing. I can’t wait for next year.”

The University of New Hampshire’s Genevieve Frigon capped the week with a strong sixth-place finish in 1:20.94, and Dartmouth’s Alexa Dlouhy took 10th in 1:22.09.

Frigon’s coach, Briank Blank, was thrilled about the Wildcat’s finish, citing increasing confidence throughout the week as helping Frigon to her All-America race today.

“I think both the sets suited her,” Blank said. “First run, she ran second, so that was really helpful for her. And second set, we ran something pretty similar in training, and she was skiing well and was confident. And was finishing every run in training leading up to the race. So I think her confidence was high and she was feeling good. She put two runs together today.”

Women's SL podium.

DU won the women’s SL race after tallying 91 points, and UVM came through with 78 for second place.

Thus ends the 2018 EISA ski season. I know. It's hard to believe. But what a way to send off the season: a couple of national individual champions, podium-finishes galore, up-and-coming young skiers already making their mark. I'm going to side with Moltzan on this one: I can't wait 'til next year.

Ogden Smokes the Competition with DeLine and Fields Notching Top 10's at NCAA's

The action on Day 2 of the NCAA Skiing Championship, taking place in Steamboat Springs, CO was even more exciting than Day 1. The final day of racing featured a mass start 15KM/20KM skate race, in which women completed 3 loops and the men four loops. Warm weather and blue skies at Howelson Hill Ski Area held up throughout both distance competitions. 

The men’s 20KM race kicked off first at 9:00AM. 40 competitors set off at the gun with Colby’s Zane Fields taking the lead about halfway through the first lap. Upon entering the second lap, Middlebury’s Sam Wood took the lead from Fields, with Cully Brown (UVM), Braden Becker (WIL), Finn O’ Connell (UVM), and Adam Luban (MID) in the top pack on his heels. Wood held onto the lead for about half of the second lap. His teammate Adam Luban (MID) then took the driver's seat shortly before a pack of West coast skiers swarmed around him. 

Nearing the end of the second lap, a pack of five west coast skiers led by Eivind Kvalle (DU) set the pace with Finn O’ Connell (UVM), Callan DeLine (DAR), and Juri Miosga (UVM) still in top ten positions. During the third lap, it was Callan DeLine who began to make his move and slowly moved up to fourth place by the end of the loop. Although there was only one lap left at this point the majority of the field were all still together in one big pack.

At the beginning of the fourth lap, DeLine continued to stay up with the top racers shifting to 5th place and Fields moving back into the mix in 9th. Throughout the final loop, DeLine went back and forth with a pack of four racers who broke off from the field. He lead at one point, then settled in third at about halfway through the fourth lap. As the leading skiers came into view on the downhill before the finishing stretch, it was a battle between Ian Torchia (NMU) and Alvar Alev (CU). Torchia ended up taking the win in 54:21. Other than the top 3 skiers, the field was insanely close. Callan DeLine led the East, coming in 5th in 54:32, with Zane Fields coming in right behind him, in 6th in 54:33. Other notable performances were from Braden Becker (WIL), coming in 11th at 54:57 and Finn O’ Connell (UVM) in 14th in 54:14. 

In the men’s team score the University of Denver took the win with 90 points, with the East being led by UVM who tied with the University of Utah for 4th with 42 points. Dartmouth and Middlebury didn’t trail far behind, with the big green in 6th with 39 points and the Panthers in 7th with 37 points. Overall, after seven events Denver was in first with 527 points, Colorado in second with 491 points, and Dartmouth in third with 369.5 points. 

The Women’s 15KM race followed at 11:00 AM with an absolutely incredible performance by Dartmouth’s Katharine Ogden. The start of the race differed from the men’s with West coast skiers taking the lead with Katharine Ogden sitting in 4th and Alayna Sonnesyn (UVM) in the top 10. Ogden quickly started to move up and went back and forth with the top three skiers, leading and following throughout the first loop. By the end of the first lap, Ogden was in second with Lauren Jortberg (DAR)  and Lina Sutro (UVM) right around that top 10 pack. 

It wasn’t long into the second lap that Ogden put the hammer down and began to create a gap between her and the rest of the top pack. When the announcers timed this lead about halfway through Ogden’s second lap, she had accrued about 27 seconds, making her spot a rather secure one. By the end of the second lap, Ogden was nearly 40 seconds ahead and when she encountered a fall on the downhill coming into the stadium, it did nothing to slow her down. 

Ogden recovered quickly from this slip up heading into her third lap, and her teammate Lauren Jortberg still sitting in a top 10 position. The women’s race was completely different from the men’s with packs spreading out and places becoming more definitive by the second. Ogden’s lead just continued to grow during the final lap with the other skiers not even in sight. 

Ogden leading the field - Photo - Clarkson Creative

Ogden came into the finishing chute in 43:22, and that was after she stopped to grab a Dartmouth flag to hold in those final 50 meters. This was a nearly 40-second victory ahead of runner-up Hailey Swirlbul (UAA). Ogden’s teammate, Lauren Jortberg (DAR) also reached All American status, coming in at 45:01 which earned her 8th place. Other strong finishes were earned by Katie Feldman (MID) who came in 13th place in a time of 45:58, and Lydia Blanchet (DAR) who came in 15th in a time of 46:19.

In the women’s team score Dartmouth took first with 79 points, with the University of Denver following close behind with 77 points and the University of Colorado Boulder with 72 points. Middlebury College took 7th with 25 points and UVM 11th with 9 points. Overall this led to the University of Denver to take the NCAA win ahead of the University of Colorado Boulder coming in second, and Dartmouth rounded out the podium in third. The University of Vermont came in 5th and Middlebury College came in 8th. 

Overall the NCAA Championships marked a great ending to an action packed EISA season. A majority of these athletes will end their 2018 racing seasons with Spring Series, held this year in Craftsbury, VT, on March 23-28th. Cheers to everyone who tuned in this year for all of the EISA action! 9 more months and we’re onto the next! 

Men's 20KM Results:
Women's 15KM Results:
Classical Full Replay:
Race Recap: