|Vermont's Scott Patterson returns to his winning ways (photo: C.J. Feehan)|
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — The New Hampshire Wildcats registered a monumental team victory in the women's 15k freestyle race at Mt. Van Hoevenbeurg on the first day of the St. Lawrence Carnival. Anya Bean, Annika Taylor, and Elizabeth Izzo swept positions 2-4 to produce the best Nordic result for their school in recent history. Vermont holds the team lead by 97 points over Dartmouth heading into the second day of competition, but the first day of racing produced some surprise results across the board.
New Hampshire's head Nordic coach Cory Schwartz remarked, "Our women's team is very deep this year. For this weekend we were missing one of our top women—as was Dartmouth and Middlebury—so we know each weekend there will be a fight among the teams. I am very proud of how the team performed, as I think this might one of the best finishes during my tenure."
Anja Gruber, the Vermont Catamount who regularly placed as the fourth team skier last season, finally got her day—albeit a cold one—in the spotlight. Both Gruber and teammate Scott Patterson, whose 2012 season was plagued by injury and illness, took home the Nordic wins for the Cats despite subzero morning temperatures.
"I think in the end the cold didn't matter that much because it was the same for everyone, and the conditions and the course were really great," said Gruber. "We've trained really well all year, so all you can do is warm up well and dress warm enough and ski your best."
Nordic powerhouse Dartmouth College rounded out the men's 20k freestyle podium with Silas Talbot and Scott Lacy placing second and third, respectively.
In alpine giant slalom action, Vermont swept the women's podium following the lead of Kate Ryley. Kristina Riis-Johannessen was second and Elli Terwiel, fresh off a 17th-place finish in the Flachau World Cup slalom, finished third. The first non-Cat in the points was the ever-familiar defending NCAA champion Rebecca Nadler of Harvard University.
David Donaldson of Middlebury College continued his giant slalom winning streak, besting Vermont's Jonathan Nordbotten, a regular on the World Cup circuit, by over a second. Donaldson's Panther teammate, Andrew McNealus finished third.
Team scores at the completion of Day 1 of the St. Lawrence Carnival:
1. UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT - 508.0
2. DARTMOUTH COLLEGE - 411.0
3. UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE - 364.0
4. MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE - 353.0
5. BATES COLLEGE - 269.0
6. COLBY COLLEGE - 228.5
7. ST LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY - 219.5
8. WILLIAMS COLLEGE - 200.0
9. HARVARD UNIVERSITY - 174.0
10. BOWDOIN COLLEGE - 123.0
11. UNIVERSITE' LAVAL - 93.0
12. ST MICHAELS COLLEGE - 92.0
13. PLYMOUTH STATE UNIVERSITY - 82.0
14. BOSTON COLLEGE - 48.0
15. COLBY SAWYER COLLEGE - 42.0
16. UNIVERSITY OF ME -PRESQUE ISLE - 39.0