The first distance races of the season got underway today at the Colby College Carnival in Waterville, ME with the men’s and women’s 15 km classic mass starts. Though back at the same venue as last weekend, this time around the skiers were able to race the full 5km race loop. This meant the men were able to complete this weekend’s 15km in half as many loops as last weekend’s 10km.
Temperatures dropped overnight with skiers arriving to race in single digit temperatures. The men’s race got underway at 10 am on a tough technical course. The pace was set early by a strong break away pack that included the eventual men’s podium of Jorgen Grav (1st) and Jack Hegman (2nd) of the University of Vermont, and Eli Hoenig (3rd) of Williams College. Cole Morgan and Ian Moore also finished in the top 10 for the University of Vermont, proving team dominance for a second week in a row. Finishing second to UVM was Williams College, with powerful performances by Jack Schrupp and Jordan Fields anchoring the team. Strong skiing by Fabien Stocek (5th), Oscar Friedman (8th), and Luke Brown (11th) helped the Dartmouth men claim third for the day.
As the temperatures rose ever so slightly, the tracks held up well for the women’s start. When the race went off at 11:30 it was Kelsey Phinney of Middlebury and Mary Kate Cirelli of the University of Vermont who leapt off the front of the pack. They would hold their lead for the whole race with Phinney taking first in 49:46.9, less than four seconds ahead of Cirelli. Lizzie Gill of the University of New Hampshire took 3rd in 50:53.2. The University of Vermont put two more in the top 10 with Stephanie Kirk finishing 5th and first year Iris Pessey finishing 6th, to secure the win for the UVM women. Katrin Larusson and Emmy Larsen put in strong supporting performances to give the UNH women second, while Nicolette Amber and Kaitlin Fink brought home third for Middlebury College.
Colby College Carnival competition continues tomorrow with the team sprint. Racers will compete in teams of two, alternating until each racer has completed three laps of the 1.3 km race course. It should make for an exciting day of racing.