Saturday, February 3, 2018

Sonnesyn continues hot streak and Holmes notches his first EISA Podium on Day 2 of the UVM Carnival

The UVM Carnival action continued at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center with 5KM/10KM individual start classic races. This event was crossed over with the NENSA Eastern Cup racing, making vastly larger fields in both competitions. Craftsbury’s pristine snow conditions and grooming efforts provided a 5KM racing loop, which women would complete once and men twice. With over 300 skiers racing, the course was packed with supporters. All were there to cheer on competitors and enjoy the beautiful day.

Conditions were fairly similar to Friday in the sense that temperatures barely rose above ten degrees. Despite the cold, the sun beamed throughout the day and snow flurried, making for another glorious day of racing. The women’s 5KM classic competition kicked off at 10:00 AM with the fastest racers all starting close to each other bib wise. As faster and faster times updated on the leaderboard, places started to become more definitive, yet there was one person that everyone was waiting for. UVM powerhouse Alayna Sonnesyn, who has won every women’s race in the 2018 EISA Season thus far, had yet to come in. As of that point, the podium was filled with only Dartmouth ladies.

According to Sonnesyn, she had gotten a split around 400meters from the finish that she was 3 seconds behind first place. When her coach yelled "this was where to make it hurt,” that is exactly what she did. Sonnesyn snatched first place from Dartmouth’s Katharine Ogden by merely .3 of a second, finishing in 14:48. This bumped Ogden to second, finishing in 14:48.3, and Dartmouth teammate Abigail Drach finished third in 15:13. Right upon finishing Sonnesyn said, “I did not think I had that in me.” She shared that she had been so mentally and emotionally exhausted, this being her last home carnival race, that when she heard she had notched the top spot, she forgot about her physical exhaustion and felt great. Now with 5 EISA victories under her belt, Sonnesyn only has three more weekends and 6 more races to go in order to go undefeated this season.

Despite being knocked to second, Ogden was still very positive and happy with the outcome of her race. She commented that it “was so nice to have a hard wax classic race on not manmade but fresh snow, it really makes you appreciate these days.” Dartmouth teammate and third place finisher Abigail Drach was also happy with her race, commenting that the cold conditions allowed for “firm tracks” and “great kick.” When asked about her goals for this season Drach commented that she just wanted, “to give [her] best for every race.” Taryn Hunt-Smith of the big green added to her teammates' scores which allowed Dartmouth to take the win in the women’s team competition with 132 points. UVM came in second with 122 points and Middlebury came in third with 95 points.
Women's 5K Podium - Ogden, Sonnesyn, Drach
In the men’s 10K competition, UNH’s Peter Holmes took the win by twenty seconds in 26:27, behind runner-up Zane Fields (COL) in 26:47, and third place racer Peter Wolter (MID) in 27:04. Holmes’ was psyched to earn his first EISA win in his collegiate career, giving his coaches a shout out for great skis, and commenting that “I just wanted to keep the fumes rollin’ so I just went out there and gripped it’ and ripped it.” Holmes also praised Craftsbury for the amazing job they did to create firm tracks and fun racing.
Men's 10K Podium - Fields, Holmes, Wolter
Runner-up Zane Fields was very happy with his second race, this being his first classic podium of the season and second podium for the weekend. “It finally clicked with classic skiing, I felt like I learned how to really kick butt out there.” Fields, who is known for being undefeated this season in the skating discipline, said that his strategy was to “go as hard as I could from the start and try to catch Luke Brown in front of me and hang on. He’s a really fast guy and a great guy to ski with.” Third place finisher Peter Wolter (MID) agreed with Holmes that the conditions were perfect, “ I couldn’t have asked for better,” he commented. Wolter’s goal for the race was to find a good rhythm, which he felt he achieved, making him happy with his end result. In the men’s team competition Adam Luban (6th) and Sam Wood (9th) helped Middlebury take the win with 112 points, ahead of Dartmouth with 109 points, and UNH in third with 100 points. In the overall carnival competition, Dartmouth took the win with 109 points, The University of Vermont came in second with 932 points, and The University of New Hampshire came in third with 701 points.

Next weekend on February 9th and 10th, EISA racers will travel to compete in the Dartmouth Carnival. It is currently set to be held at Oak Hill in Hanover, NH, but snow conditions could possibly call for a change in venue. Friday will kick off with 10KM Classic races and Sunday will continue the action with 5KM/10KM Skate races. Hope to see you all next weekend and stay tuned for photos and video recaps from this weekend.

Click here for photos from day 2!