Pictured: Audrey Mangan led the Crimson with a 13th place finish in the women's 5K (Gil Talbot).
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - In the first EISA ski weekend of the season Harvard finished ninth out of 15 participating schools. The Crimson was led by an impressive fifth place performance in the women's 5K Classic event where the team finished one point ahead of Saint Lawrence and in front of contenders Vermont and Williams in one of the closest competition of the carnival weekend.
Audrey Mangan and Esther Kennedy placed 13th and 14th, respectively in the 5K - just seconds out of a top 10 finish each. Cara Sprague also delivered a top 30 finish in 27th overall.
"Conditions were really tricky with alternating rain, sleet and snow creating variable conditions on the courses," said Nordic head coach Chris City following the weekend. "When we wax for these kinds of conditions, it's very difficult to find a wax that will work through all those conditions. With the women, we found something that would work on the rainy parts of the course and not be too slow in those areas at higher elevation where the precipitation was falling as snow."
Trevor Petach and Kevin Sprague led the men in the 10K event with 42nd and 44th place finishes.
"When the men's race started, the snow line shifted and in a few short minutes it had covered much more of the course," said City. "Because of their early start positions, Trevor and Kevin were able to finish much of their races before their skis stopped working; (Anthony Ryerson) wasn't so lucky and his finish place reflects that."
Saturday conditions for the men's 20K and women's 15K were more stable than on Friday; however, warm temperatures and the multiple lap of the field in each Nordic race led some uphills to turn to the consistency of mashed potatoes. For the same reason, many of the downhills developed large berms of snow on the turns, which can make steep downs rather tricky.
On the steeps of Whiteface where the Alpine Slalom was held there was another familiar name from yesterday, the University of Vermont's Giant Slalom winner also became their Slalom winner. David Donaldson (1:36.30) commanded another win with two consistently fast and aggressive runs. Kevin McNamara led the men in 34th with a finish of 1:51.71 in the slalom while Chris Kinner led in the giant slalom with a 32nd place finish in 2:07.49.
The women's side saw a familiar face from last year with Courtney Hammond (1:52.33) returning to the winner's circle. Catherine Sheils led Harvard with a 21st place finish (1:57.45). In the GS, Margie Thorp narrowly edged out teammate Caroline McHugh by .24 of a second with the duo finishing 37th and 38th overall.
Looking at the team results the University of Vermont took the Alpine events both days but Dartmouth's crushing Nordic performances more than outdid any lead won by the University of Vermont on the steeps to give victory to the Big Green. The final tally was Dartmouth with 957 points to Vermont's 849.
Schools are back in action next weekend at the St. Michaels College carnival held at Sleepy Hollow and Smuggler's Notch.