Friday, February 22, 2013

Dartmouth Wins First Day of EISA Championships

Harvard's Rebecca Nadler and Vermont's Kate Ryley tie for the win at EISA Championships (photo: Cory Ransom)

NEWRY/RUMFORD, Maine — Dartmouth College mounted a surprising effort on the first day of the joint Bates Carnival and EISA Championships to claim an early lead after the giant slalom and classic races. The currently unbeaten University of Vermont Catamounts sit a mere 9.5 points back in second, and Middlebury College is third.

Under sunny skies, the Big Green ladies dominated team scoring in the giant slalom with Abby Fucigna, Sara Kikut, and Annie Rendall all placing inside the top 10. But the podium was claimed by Harvard’s Rebecca Nadler and Vermont’s Kate Ryley who tied for the win with a total time of 2:38.45 and Geordie Lonza of Williams who finished third.

In the men’s race, Middlebury’s David Donaldson proved his previous winning streak was never a fluke when he claimed his sixth victory in the discipline this season. Vermont’s Sean Higgins and Travis Dawson settled into second and third, respectively. It was also an impressive day for the UNH Wildcats who placed skiers Taylor Vest-Burton and Sam Coffey in fourth and fifth.

Sunny skies and warm weather also greeted the Nordic field during Friday's individual classical races in Rumford. Finding the right kick wax was a challenge for many, as temperatures steadily rose throughout the races. A long and steady climb throughout the middle of the course meant slick skis could cost valuable time. In the end it seemed no team had it “nailed”, though various klister wax combinations were used.

Last weekend's classic 5k champion, Middlebury's Annie Pokorny, started fast and skied strong up the long hills of the Black Mountain race course. In the end, however, it was last weekend's 15k skate champion, Mary O'Connell of Dartmouth, who came out on top. O'Connell bested Pokorny by just 1.7 seconds. According to some split-times, O'Connell was trailing Pokorny early on, but made up ground in the very end of the race.

Third place went to another Dartmouth skier, Emily Blackmer. Blackmer has shown consistent classic form this season, and raced to another strong finish for the Big Green. Vermont’s Anja Gruber and Dartmouth’s Annie Hart rounded out the top-5, as the Dartmouth women took the victory in the team score.

In the men's race, the final podium finishers all started one after another. Middlebury’s Ben Lustgarten was bib 61, followed by Dartmouth’s Sam Tarling in bib 62 and Vermont’s Scott Patterson in bib 63. Despite all three starting within a minute and a half of each other, the three men all skied very similar races; only 7 seconds separated the top three at the finish. Patterson was victorious, with Tarling just 2 seconds behind in 27:21.8. Lustgarten continued a strong season of podium-performances with third place.

With so many pre-race favorites starting near each other, Lustgarten remarked he was “just happy to ski my own race and feel good.”

Finishing just off the podium were Dartmouth skiers David Sinclair and Silas Talbot, taking 4th and 5th place, respectively, to give the Big Green a team victory to add to their women's earlier performance and their team’s overall success on the day.

Racing continues Saturday with mass-start 10 and 15-kilometer freestyle races in Rumford and the slalom races at Sunday River.

Adam Terko contributed to this report.

Team scores after Day 1 of the Bates Carnival and EISA Championships:
1.   DARTMOUTH COLLEGE                  DAR   448.0            
2.   UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT              UVM   438.5            
3.   MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE                 MID   382.0            
4.   UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE        UNH   354.0            
5.   WILLIAMS COLLEGE                   WIL   288.0            
6.   BATES COLLEGE                      BAT   249.0            
7.   COLBY COLLEGE                      CBC   248.0            
8.   ST LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY             SLU   185.0            
9.   HARVARD UNIVERSITY                 HAR   181.5            
10.   ST MICHAELS COLLEGE               SMC   146.0            
11.   BOWDOIN COLLEGE                   BOW   101.0            
12.   BOSTON COLLEGE                    BC     79.0            
13.   UNIVERSITY OF ME -PRESQUE ISLE    UMPI   67.0            
14.   PLYMOUTH STATE UNIVERSITY         PSU    60.0            
15.   COLBY SAWYER COLLEGE              CSC    28.0            
16.   CLARKSON UNIVERSITY               CLK     9.0            
17.   BABSON COLLEGE                    BAB     2.0