|Middlebury's Benjamin Lustgarten completely dominated the field on his home course Friday morning. (Ian Nesbitt/EISA)|
None of that seemed to bother Ben Lustgarten of Middlebury, however. Lustgarten put a massive fifty seconds into Scott Patterson by the end of ten kilometers and, incredibly, appeared rather comfortable doing so. His lap time consistency was impressive as well, skiing 25-up the first lap and 50-up at the finish. Unfortunately, Lustgarten was not available for comment due to a Saturday injury, but his show of strength on Friday has huge National Championship implications, provided that he is healthy in March.
Patterson, to his credit, skied just as consistently and was similarly far ahead of the rest of the field. He and his teammates Jack Hegman, Rogan Brown, and Jorgen Grav occupied the 2, 3, 4, and 6 spots, giving UVM a formidable chokehold on the top-10 and a sizeable win in the team points competition. Patterson, Grav, and Brown are the Catamounts' top three scorers on the qualifying list for the NCAA championships, hosted by the University of Utah.
UNH turned in a solid team performance, slotting second on the day. Eirik Fosnaes led the way in fifth and in doing so, recorded his third top-5 of the season. Per Lindgren was 11th and freshman Gavin Hess was the third scorer for the Wildcats in 21st. Both Fosnaes and Lindgren have qualified to compete in Utah next month. Johnny Springer currently sits in the first alternate position.
Dartmouth was third on the day, with Patrick Caldwell, David Sinclair, and Silas Talbot finishing 7th, 9th, and 10th respectively. The Big Green has five skiers inside qualifying range, including Talbot, Caldwell, Sinclair, Fabian Stocek, and Cam Woodworth. Coaches Cami Thompson and Ruff Patterson often use discretionary picks in order to send their senior skiers to compete.
Will Wicherski of Williams College was 8th on Friday, completing the top-10.
|Dartmouth's Annie Hart took a narrow victory over Linda Danvind-Malm in the 5k classic. (Ian Nesbitt/EISA)|
UVM scored Linda Danvind-Malm, Anja Gruber, and Maggie Williams, in 2nd, 4th, and 6th respectively, a performance that would get them a win most days. Gruber, Danvind-Malm, and Stephanie Kirk are UVM's top three qualifiers for NCAAs.
Bates College put up impressive numbers on blazing fast skis on Friday, with three women in the top 20. Tara Humphries skied to the first top-10 result of her career in 8th, Sadie James was 14th (a season-best) and Grace Wright was 20th (another season-best). The Bobcats will send Hallie Grossman to NCAAs for the second year in a row.
Amy Bianco of Colby was 5th on Friday, and Katrin Larusson was 10th.
|Patrick Caldwell of Dartmouth celebrates at the finish of the 20k freestyle mass-start. (Ian Nesbitt/EISA)|
Led by Patterson in 2nd, UVM took 3 of the top 6 spots, but wasn't able to get the team win. Patterson was followed by Rogan Brown in 4th and Jorgen Grav in 6th. Jack Hegman tied for 9th as well.
The Williams men were third on the day, led by Will Wicherski (5th) who skied to his second top-5 of the year. Eli Hoenig was 12th, and his brother Isaac was 19th to score points for the Ephs. Will Wicherski and Eli Hoenig will represent Williams at NCAAs.
|Scott Patterson (Leader bib), Patrick Caldwell (3), and Ben Lustgarten (11) lead the pack on the second half of their first lap. Lustgarten was injured in a fall on the third lap. (Ian Nesbitt/EISA)|
|Linda Danvind-Malm (2) and Stephanie Kirk (7) on their way to third and first on Saturday. Not pictured is Anja Gruber, who finished second. (Ian Nesbitt/EISA)|
Dartmouth finished a distant second, but made a statement of their own with five skiers in the top-10. The Big Green placed Annie Hart (4th), Corey Stock (5th), Carly Wynn (6th), Emily Hannah (7th), and Isabel Caldwell (8th) all within two minutes of each other.
UNH just barely eked out Colby for third, with Elizabeth Izzo skiing to 11th, Annika Taylor 12th, and Katrin Larusson 20th. Larusson and Taylor will represent the Wildcats at Soldier Hollow in two weeks.
Rounding out the top-10 were Hannah Cole of Williams in 9th and Amy Bianco of Colby in 10th.
The NCAA Skiing Championships will run March 5-8 (Nordic races will be held at 10am and 12pm on both the 6th and 8th) and will feature the same venues used in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games. The events will be broadcast live via the web on the NCAA's official Championships website.