Day one of the Middlebury Carnival saw EISA skiers compete in distance skate mass starts, 15-kilometers for the women and 20-kilometers for the men. Racing took place at the Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton, Vermont. After a week of storms and falling snow, the five-kilometer course was in pristine condition and presented racers with a quality test of endurance, strength, and agility. Skiers faced long gradual climbs followed by sweeping descents with sharp turns that demanded expert cornering. The course proved challenging and multiple lead changes occurred throughout both races.
Despite the challenges, it was the skiers from Dartmouth College that rose to the top as they earned wins in both races and four out of six podium spots combined. Abigail Drach skied to victory in the women’s race with a time of 40:02.5. In the men’s race, Fabian Stocek earned his sixth individual EISA victory of the season with a winning time of 46:17.9.
In the women’s race, it was Vermont’s Alayna Sonnesyn who took the early lead. Close behind, a pack of racers kept close, eager for a taste of the front. Going into the last lap Drach moved into second behind Sonnesyn to position herself well for the finish. As racers came out of the woods for the final time, it was Drach who led the rest and stormed up the final climb to take her first individual EISA victory of the season. Behind her, Sonnesyn finished second, sixteen seconds back. Third place went to Dartmouth’s Lauren Jortberg, forth to New Hampshire’s Elizabeth Gill, and fifth place to Dartmouth’s Zoe Snow.
In the team competition, Dartmouth earned a comfortable victory with 127 points to runner-up Vermont’s 102 points. Third place went to the University of New Hampshire with 85 points.
In the men’s race, a lead pack of ten skiers was established by the end of the first lap. Over the course of the next 10-kilometers, numerous skiers from Dartmouth, Williams, and Colby took turns at the front, attempting to break from the pack. The largest break came halfway through the race when Williams skier Jordan Fields came through the courses midway point with a ten second lead. Ultimately, it was Stocek who’s tactics were rewarded as he came to the front in the races final minutes to continue his winning ways. Second place went to teammate Luke Brown. Third place went to Colby’s Zane Fields. Fourth place was earned by Jordan Fields and fifth place by Eli Honeig also of Williams.
Dartmouth men matched the women’s result with a 141 point victory. Williams College placed second with 109 points. Third place went to the University of Vermont with 97 points.