Day 1 of the University of Vermont Carnival saw EISA racers tackle the demanding sprint course at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. Amidst falling snow, skiers navigated the 1.5-kilometer course which featured sweeping downhills and ended with a demanding climb to the finish.
By the end of the day, it was Silje Wilson of the University of New Hampshire and Fabian Stocek of Dartmouth College who led the field and won their respective final heats. Dartmouth college dominated both the men’s and the women’s team races with four racers each in the top 10.
In the women’s sprint, Wilson was dominant from her first steps in the qualifier to her push over the finish line in the final as she led each of her heats from start to finish to claim her first victory of the season. Second place went to Jana Klaiber (UVM) and third to Lydia Blanchet (Dartmouth). The final was rounded out by Craftsbury skier Kaitlynn Miller in forth, Lucy Hochschartner (St. Lawrence) in fifth, and Cate Brams (Middlebury) in sixth.
Dartmouth women won the day with 114 points. Runner up University of New Hampshire tallied 111 points. Third place went to University of Vermont with 91 points.
On a day featuring a demanding course and variable weather, Wilson chose to keep her tactics to a minimum. Each heat Wilson led from the start, gradually opening up her lead to achieve comfortable margins by the finish line. While consistently dominant throughout the day, Wilson emphasized that the heats were not always easy. “The semifinal was the most difficult,” she said, “I got energy and motivation from all the people cheering that helped to push me forward when it was difficult.”
After racing a difficult qualifier, Klaiber felt confident in her ability to carry momentum through the heats as the weather improved, “I kept getting faster and faster,” she said. Although she felt confident in her fitness, Klaiber explained that tactics were also key to her success, “I tried to stay behind others on the downhills and to take the lead on the final climb.” Each heat the climb proved decisive and gave Klaiber the opportunity she was looking for to pull away.
In the men’s competition, Stocek powered to his third EISA win of the season ahead of open racers Ben Lustgarten and Tad Elliot who were second and third respectively. The EISA podium was rounded out by New Hampshire’s Tyler Smith in forth and Dartmouth’s Andrew Nadler in fifth. Zach Goldberg (Dartmouth) placed sixth.
Dartmouth men emerged victorious to end Williams’ team dominance from the past weekend with 135 points. The university of New Hampshire was second with 112 points. Williams College was third with 105 points.
For Stocek, it was a challenging path to victory that came from a strong qualification round, sound strategy in the heats, and scrappy fighting towards the finish. “I knew that most of the races were going to be won on the hill,” he said, “I was trying not to start out too fast and to rest on the downhills to save up for the final climb.” As important as his third EISA victory of the season was, Stocek emphasized that the largest success of the day was Dartmouth’s victory in the team race against New Hampshire and Williams.
Smith also choose the final climb to make his moves through the heats. “I knew I could relax in the heats and save up for the end,” he said, “The qualifier was probably the hardest round because it was all out.” Given the strong winds and falling snow, Smith also emphasized that biding his time in the pack helped to negate the challenges racers faced from the storm. “It was really important to be behind people in the heats to be protected from the wind and the snow.” Friday’s result leaves Smith optimistic and hoping he can carry his success into his distance racing.
Racing continues Saturday with 10-kilometer individual starts in the classic technique for both the men and the women.