Saturday, February 22, 2014

Carnival Season Concludes as it Began, with UVM on Top

Hig Roberts of Middlebury College, skis during the second run of the men's giant slalom at the Middlebury Snow Bowl on February 22, 2014 in Hancock, VT. (Dustin Satloff/EISA)

Dustin Satloff
HANCOCK, VT. - The University of Vermont secured its second straight undefeated EISA carnival season on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl in Hancock, VT.  UVM swept the women’s podium in the giant slalom, while the men took three of the top four spots.  UVM has won its 13th straight carnival, finishing in first at the end of every event since the Williams Carnival in 2012, where the Catamounts finished runner-up to Dartmouth College.

Vermont used a very strong performance in Saturday’s GS to pull ahead of the pack, and ensure a team victory.  Vermont’s men scored 132 points in the giant slalom; well ahead of second place Middlebury’s 94.  Kevin Drury finished in second place, 0.45 seconds behind Middlebury’s Hig Roberts, who took first.  Drury has finished in second place in three of the last four races.  Jonathan Nordbotten, had the fastest first run, but struggled in the second run.  “First run was good.  It was a pretty straight course,” Nordbotten said.  “I thought I skied well on the pitch, and I skied well on the flats as well.  I knew people were skiing fast [on the second run] so I had to try my best.” Nordbotten finished in third position.  Nordbotten finished in third in Friday’s slalom as well; Saturday’s finish was his third podium of the season.  Travis Dawson took fourth, and rounded out the scoring for UVM’s men.  Dawson made his tenth appearance in the top 5 this season, out of 12 races.

Kate Ryley of the University of Vermont, skis during the second run of the women's giant slalom at the Middlebury Snow Bowl on February 22, 2014 in Hancock, VT. (Dustin Satloff/EISA)

Snapping back from a weather-shortened slalom that saw no UVM women on the podium, UVM’s women swept the GS podium on Saturday.  Kate Ryley continued to show her giant slalom dominance, as she won the giant slalom at every carnival this season.  “[The hill] was fun,” Ryley explained.  “Both courses you could just go for it.  There was no point that you really had to worry, so I could just focus on the one thing I was working on and go as fast as I could.”  Kristina Riis-Johannessen once again finished runner-up to Ryley.  For the third straight carnival, Ryley and Riis-Johannessen finished one-two in the giant slalom.  Riis-Johannessen, who sat 0.21 seconds behind Ryley after the first run tried to make up that deficit in the second run.  “I’m a little mad at myself because I made the same mistake both runs,” Riis-Johannessen said.  “I feel like I should have been able to change that.”  Riis-Johannessen did post the fastest second run of the day, but only made up 0.12 seconds of that deficit, and finished nine hundredths of a second behind her teammate.  Elise Tefre finished in third and helped UVM to score the maximum 141 points. 

It was an emotional day for many seniors, who were racing in their final carnival of their collegiate careers.  It may have been more emotional for Hig Roberts than for any other competitor in Saturday’s giant slalom.  Not only was Roberts was racing in his final carnival, but it was also his home hill.  “[The day] was really emotional overall,” Roberts said.  "First run I was sitting in a good spot, and I knew that I could do better.  I really had nothing to lose.  I just went.”  After the first run, Roberts sat in fourth place, and 0.54 seconds off the lead.  Roberts bounced back and posted the fastest time of the second run and took the victory in his final carnival at home.  “I actually switched skis [second] run,” Roberts explained. “I went on a different pair that I thought might be running a little bit faster.”  It was the right decision; it was Roberts’ third consecutive GS victory.  Middlebury’s second scorer was Liam Mulhern, who finished in 17thplace, and Ghassan Gedeon-Achi also scored, finishing 21st.

Elle Gilbert of Middlebury College, skis during the second run of the women's giant slalom at the Middlebury Snow Bowl on February 22, 2014 in Hancock, VT. (Dustin Satloff/EISA)

Elle Gilbert took fourth place for Middlebury’s women.  Gilbert had never cracked the top 10 in a carnival in her career until Saturday.  Gilbert sat in third after the first run, but wasn't quite able to hold her position on the podium.  After the first run, Middlebury had two women in the top 10 and a third skier in the top 20; however neither Yina Moe-Lange, who sat in sixth place after the first run nor Kara Shaw, who was in 17th were able to finish.  Middlebury’s second scorer was Isabel Kannegieser who took 22nd, and the third point-scorer was Lisa Schroer in 26th position.  Kannegieser scored for Middlebury for the first time in her career.  Middlebury’s women finished in fourth place in the giant slalom, scoring 83 points, nine points behind third-place Colby and three points ahead of Williams.

Dylan Brooks of Dartmouth College, skis during the second run of the men's giant slalom at the Middlebury Snow Bowl on February 22, 2014 in Hancock, VT. (Dustin Satloff/EISA)

Robert Overing once again was Dartmouth’s top point-scorer.  After struggling the last few races, Overing was able to crack the top 10 for the fifth time this season.  Overing used the second-fastest second run time to pull himself from 16th place into seventh.  Overing finished four hundredths of a second ahead of his teammate, Dylan Brooks, who took eighth place.  Dartmouth’s third point-scorer was Sam Macomber, who took 18th.  Friday saw three Dartmouth men reach the top 10, including a podium for Ben Morse, who took second in the slalom.

Dartmouth’s women were able to place two skiers in the top 10 finishing in a tie for second place with Colby, behind UVM.   Sara Kikut was Dartmouth’s top finisher taking ninth place.  Anne Strong finished in tenth, only 0.23 seconds behind her teammate.  Lizzie Kistler used the fifth-fastest second run to pull herself from 21st place to 13th.  Kistler was Dartmouth’s third point-scorer, following up on a strong performance in Friday’s slalom, where she finished first in the one-run race.

Colby’s men had their best team performance of the season at Saturday’s giant slalom.  The men finished in fourth and scored 87 points, four points behind third-place Dartmouth and three points in front of UNH.   Michael Boardman posted his second career top 10 finish, taking tenth place.  Matt McKenna matched his career best finish, using the fifth fastest second run time to pull himself from 28th into 11th position.  Craig Marshall was Colby’s third point-scorer, finishing in 13th place.  Marshall also had a very productive second run, advancing from 26th into the 13th spot.

Jeanne Barthold of Colby College, skis during the second run of the women's giant slalom at the Middlebury Snow Bowl on February 22, 2014 in Hancock, VT. (Dustin Satloff/EISA)

Colby’s women had another strong performance.  Jeanne Barthold led Colby, finishing in sixth place.  It was her third time cracking the top 10 in GS this season.  Mardi Haskell, who finished second in Friday’s abbreviated slalom competition, finished in 12th place.  Paige Whistler was Colby’s third point-scorer and she finished in 17th.  Colby’s women finished the giant slalom in second place, tied with Dartmouth, with 92 points.  Colby has finished the last three carnivals in fourth place; their best finish in several years.

The University of New Hampshire finished the Middlebury Carnival in fifth place.  The UNH men finished the giant slalom in fifth, a mere three points behind Colby.  Kris Hopkins was UNH’s first point-scorer, and the only UNH skier to crack the top 10.  Hopkins finished in sixth place.  Jay Ogle finished in 15th and Sam Coffey finished in the 20th spot.

UNH’s women did not fare any better than their male counterparts. Katie Farrow was the top point-scorer finishing in 11th place, with Kelly Anne DiNapoli finishing in 19th and Celine Guilmineau rounding out the scoring for UNH in 23rd place.  UNH’s women finished the giant slalom in sixth, with 76 points, four behind Williams.

Shannon Campbell of Williams College, skis during the second run of the women's giant slalom at the Middlebury Snow Bowl on February 22, 2014 in Hancock, VT. (Dustin Satloff/EISA)

Shannon Campbell finished in the top 10 for the ninth time this season for Williams, taking fifth place.  Graham Scott cracked the top 5 for the Saint Lawrence men.  It was his fourth top 10 finish of the season, and the best GS finish of his career.  Brad Farrell notched a top 10 for Saint Michael’s, for the best GS finish of his career.

The NCAA season comes to an end  at the NCAA Skiing Championships, hosted by University of Utah on March 5-8, 2014.