Pictured: Akeo Maifeld-Carucci crosses the finish line (Chris City)
The St. Lawrence Carnival in Lake Placid this past weekend was highlighted by the best nordic men's team finish in the past decade and a near-podium alpine run by Becca Nadler in the giant slalom.
Nordic Race Report – St. Lawrence Carnival 15/20km SK and SK Prologue
The highlight of our first full carnival was the best men's team finish in years: fourth in the 20km Skate on Friday. Friday's racing was an epic start to the season on many fronts. A January thaw the previous weekend forced the organizers to change the course to one that included two very long climbs on each of the 3 (women) or 4 (men) laps. Then new snow fell during the week and the temperatures plummeted. When we previewed the course on Thursday, our skate skis were hardly gliding. That, along with the individual start format, promised an especially challenging physical and mental kickoff to the collegiate season.
It was minus 19 when the coaches left the hotel for Mt. Van Hoevenburg on Friday. Despite the cold, the snow was faster than on Thursday and the guys turned in quick splits. Tony Ryerson skied in the top 10 for most of the race and finished 15th, a career best; Akeo Maifeld-Carucci was a few seconds behind him in 18th. Christopher Stock rounded out our scorers in 30th, putting us fourth on the day (behind only Dartmouth, UVM and Middlebury).
Annie Harvieux led the women's team by scoring a top-30 result (29th) in her first collegiate race. Junior Jen Rolfes (56th) and freshman Hanna Barnes (63rd) rounded out our scoring in the expanded "open" carnival field. All of our skiers – who also included freshmen Maggie McGovern and Soren Anderson, and sophomore Emily Rogers – demonstrated good pacing. With the long climbs, the individual-start format, and the excitement of the first carnival, it would have been very easy to "blow up," but everyone skied strong through the last lap.
Saturday's race was also modified because of the January thaw. There wasn't enough snow depth to set tracks for the scheduled classic sprint, so instead we ran a 3.2 skate "prologue" over a modified version of Friday's courses. The shorter distance and smaller climbs tended to favor sprinters. Akeo had a team-best 14th place result, just 7 seconds off the podium. Ryerson (35th) and Stock (37th) finished 14 seconds behind Maifeld-Carucci . Annie (42nd) once again led the women's team, followed by Rolfes (45th) and senior captain Alena Tofte(48th), in just her second race after suffering an injury this fall.
Next week we travel to a new venue on the circuit: the Quarry Road trails near Colby in Waterville, Maine. We're looking forward to the first classic race (a 5/10km) and the first mass-start race of the season (a 15/20km).
Alpine Race Report – St. Lawrence Carnival
Snow conditions on the Olympic slopes of Whiteface were ideal, which made for very aggressive, tight racing both days.
Friday was marked by arctic temperatures below zero, but mostly sunny skies. The Crimson was led by Rebecca Nadler, who improved upon her finish from the previous week, finishing the day in 4th place behind three UVM skiers. Catherine Sheils put together her two best GS runs of the season, despite battling a nagging back injury, ending up 31st, while Liz Strong and Samantha Udolf both made significant moves up from their start positions, finishing 43rd and 49th respectively. The men had a tall task in front of them, with start numbers in the 80′s and 90′s. They would need to move up 30 spots just to qualify for a second run, a task that proved a bit too much on the day. Hardly anyone in the race qualified in the top 60 that didn't start there, as the perfect snow conditions meant nearly every athlete was putting down clean, fast runs.
Saturday's slalom had much warmer temperatures, but with continued great snow conditions from the previous day. Nadler skied solidly on the first run, then put down her best slalom run of the season in the second run to move up to 11th on the day. Sheils put down a clean, fast first run, and was laying down a tremendous second run, enroute to what surely would have been a top 15 finish, but was caught out in a hairpin gate only four turns from the finish. Strong showed real speed in the second run of the race, finishing 30th on the run and 42nd on the day. Udolf moved up almost 30 spots to finish 44th. The men had almost all 6 athletes knocking on the door of qualifying for a second run, and one skier punched through to get there. Matt Mansson skied very fast, overcoming a big mistake on the first run, and skied solidly on the second run to notch a 40th place finish in leading the men's team.
Next week the team is back in action at the Colby Carnival at Sugarloaf, Maine. As always, we hope to see you at the races, or follow the results live at www.live-timing.com.