Saturday, January 14, 2017

2017 Nordic Preview

The 2017 EISA Nordic season is set to begin next week at the St. Lawrence Carnival in Lake Placid, NY. Though the season is just beginning, teams have already been on snow for well over a month training and racing all around, and sometimes outside of, the country. For many teams, on snow skiing began over thanksgiving at training camps in Foret Montmorency, QC, Craftsbury, VT, and as far west as British Colombia.  Since then, many have raced at the opening Eastern Cups in Craftsbury consisting of a classic interval start and a skate pursuit.


More recently, many EISA racers have made the trek out to Utah to test their fitness against the best in the country at the 2017 US Cross Country Ski Championships hosted by Soldier Hollow. Through two days of competition, an interval start skate and a classic sprint EISA women have notched four top 30 results including Alayna Sonnesyn’s (UVM) 27th place in the 10k skate and Lauren Jortberg’s (Dartmouth) 12th place in the 1.5k classic sprint. EISA men have achieved seven top-30 results through two days including Callan Deline’s (Dartmouth) 17th place in the 15k skate and Cully Brown’s (UMV) 12th place in the 1.5k classic sprint. With one day of competition remaining for qualification for junior championship teams, many EISA skiers remain in the hunt for these coveted spots.


EISA skiers look to improve upon results from last season as the 2017 NCAA championships return to the east and are hosted by the University of New Hampshire at Jackson Nordic Center. Of the competitors at last year’s championships in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, one lone EISA all-American returns in Olivia Amber (Colby) in the 15k classic.


As usual, one team expected to be shooting for top results this season will be the University of Vermont. On both sides, UVM has a young team this season. On the men’s side, the top returner from last year’s NCAA regionals is Ian Moore who will be looking to step up as a scorer for the team. For women, the team is headlined by Alayna Sonnesyn and Iris Pessey who both notched a pair of podiums at the regional championships last year and will look to improve upon their placement at nationals.


Another undisputable favorite on both the men’s and women’s sides will be Dartmouth College. For the women, Abigail Drach and Zoe Snow have both notched strong performances thus far at Senior Nationals and will look to extend their success into the EISA season. For the men, both Callan Deline and Luke Brown placed into the top-20 on the same day and will hope to keep the success rolling once they return east.


Various other skiers in the EISA look to lead their teams to success at the carnivals and clinch NCAA championship sports for themselves this season as several other NCAA qualifying racers from 2016 will return this season. Other schools returning NCAA qualifiers on the women’s side include: Bates, Colby, University of New Hampshire, and Harvard. On the men’s side, these teams include Colby, Middlebury, University of New Hampshire, and Williams.


Other EISA schools will look to progress in 2017 and earn themselves a trip to Jackson in March. Teams such as University of Maine Presque Isle and St. Michael’s College boast young rosters while schools such as St. Lawrence University and Bowdoin College will look to season veterans of their programs to take the next step forward.


The EISA Nordic season kicks of next weekend, Friday January 20th-Saturday January 21st with a 5/10k interval start skate on day 1 and a 15/20k mass start classic for women/men respectively at the St. Lawrence Carnival in Lake Placid, New York. Good luck to all!