Monday, January 19, 2015

Carnival Season Off to a Fast and Frigid Start

Silke Hynes
RUMFORD, ME. - The nordic carnival season has officially begun, and a familiar storyline has already started to unfold. Over the two days of racing at the Bates Carnival in Rumford, Maine the University of Vermont and Dartmouth College wasted no time in assuring their competitors that the loss of last year’s seniors was not going to slow them down. The two perennial nordic powerhouses fought hard over the weekend. They tied in nordic competition with 424 points apiece (UVM’s alpine side helped them edge out Dartmouth for the overall carnival win). The nordic top three was rounded out by the consistently strong UNH squad.

Day one saw distance classic races that tested the toughness of all the competitors. The weather and conditions changed rapidly, making it tough to know what conditions to prepare for. On the women’s side Heather Mooney (MID) rose to the occasion, beating second place Annika Taylor (UNH) by just 4.4 seconds over 15 km, and taking home her first carnival win. Alayna Sonnesyn (UVM) edged out Carleton skier Kendra Murray by less than a second to take third. The top five was rounded out by Olivia Amber (CBC) who finished 1 second behind Murray. Strong performances by Mary-Kate Cirelli (UVM) and Marion Woods (UVM) helped propel the UVM women to victory in the 15 km classic.

Heather Mooney (MID) on her way to winning the women's 15 km classic mass start. (Silke Hynes/EISA)

The weather posed even more of a challenge in the men’s 20 km classic race. With conditions ranging from bright sunshine to snow squalls and everything in between, the men needed mental, as well as physical, toughness to succeed. It was Canadian college skier Colin Abbott (CAR) who powered his way to victory in Friday’s race. Close behind in second was Patrick Caldwell (DAR), while Frederic Touchette (LAV) claimed third. Rounding out the top five were Fabien Stocek (DAR) and Raleigh Goessling (UNH). Strong skiing from Silas Talbot in 6th place helped the Dartmouth men win on the day.

A snow squall hits in the middle of the men's 20 km classic mass start. (Silke Hynes/EISA)

While the weather on day two of the carnival could be considered more consistent, it was by no means easier to race in. After a one hour delay due to dangerously low temperatures the races were underway. In the women’s 5 km skate Heather Mooney (MID) put in another dominant performance, once again leading UNH’s Annika Taylor. Cory Stock (DAR) finished 3rd, followed by Alayna Sonnesyn (UVM) and Kelsey Phinney (MID) in 4th and 5th respectively. Stella Holt put in a strong performance to help the Middlebury women to victory on the day.

Annika Taylor (UNH) skates to her second podium finish of the weekend. (Silke Hynes/EISA)

The temperature rose ever so slightly for the start of the men’s 10 km skate race. Patrick Caldwell (DAR) powered his way into first, gapping second place Akeo Maifeld-Carucci (HAR) by an impressive 45.6 seconds. Silas Talbot skied into 3rd for Dartmouth, followed by Raleigh Goessling (UNH) and Jorgen Grav (UVM). A strong performance from Fabien Stocek helped secure the win for the Dartmouth men.

Patrick Caldwell of Dartmouth powers his way to victory in the men's 10 km skate. (Silke Hynes/EISA)

All results can be found here. Racing resumes this upcoming weekend with the UVM Carnival in Stowe, VT.