Simon Merryweather led the Harvard men's alpine squad in both the slalom and GS at the UNH carnival (Photo: EISA).
Winter temperatures dropped at the venues of the UNH Carnival this weekend (Jackson, Attitash and Cannon), but Harvard rose to an eighth-place overall league finish. This marks the first time the current class of seniors have finished higher than ninth in the EISA - an incremental step, but one that represents the hard work every athlete in both disciplines has done this year and one we look to build on in the coming weeks. Alpine continued their weekend of racing at Burke on Sunday with the postponed Slalom from the UVM Carnival. Read on for the alpine and Nordic reports....
Nordic Race Report: 5/10 k Classic and 15/20 k Skate (by Asst. Coach Audrey Mangan '10)
For the second week in a row, the Nordic squad tallied multiple top-15s. Senior captain Chris Stock led the men to fourth as a team in the men's 10k individual-start classic race. Chris skied an impressive second lap to move up six places in the last 5k and finish seventh in the college field, his second top-10 of the season and just 14 seconds off the podium. Junior Akeo Maifeld-Carucci, who started 30 seconds ahead of Chris, crossed the finish line with him as our second scorer to place 15th. Senior Tony Ryerson was 30th, putting all three scorers inside the top 30.
In the women's 5k classic, senior captain Jen Rolfes continued her strong senior campaign with a 12th place finish, a new career best. Freshman Maile Sapp scored her first top-15 five seconds behind Jen, taking 14th. Freshman Rachel Hampton was Harvard's third scorer in 33rd, a 19-place improvement over her classic race at Colby.
Saturday was the 15/20k skate, the long mass-start event rescheduled from Colby. Akeo had high expectations after placing fifth in the skate race last weekend. With several top skiers away for World Junior/U23 Championships this week, the stage was set for an exciting race. Akeo skied comfortably in the lead pack, which included two professional skiers, into the last of four laps. He tried to cover a break by a UVM skier at the start of the fourth lap but couldn't hold on. He finished a stellar fourth, just nine seconds off the college podium, setting a new personal best and positioning himself in fourth on the current NCAA qualifying list. Chris skied a strong, consistent race to finish 25th, and Tony crossed the line just behind him in 26th after both were battling in the lead pack for the first few laps.
In the women's 15k, Jen led the Crimson again in 33rd, a finish that required moving around 15 skiers seeded ahead of her. Rachel and sophomore Annie Harvieux each had strong races as Harvard's second and third scorers, taking 41st and 50th, respectively. Junior Emily Rogers, Harvard's fourth woman, also had a notable race in 58th, her best 15 k result by 15 places.
A big thanks goes out to David Rand '79 and the Drifters Ski Club for hosting us this weekend! It was a treat to have home-cooked meals and to be based around the corner from the race venue.
The Nordic team competes at Trapps Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt., next weekend for a combined UVM Carnival and NENSA Eastern Cup.
Alpine Race Report: UNH Slalom and GS, UVM SL
This past Friday through Sunday, Harvard's alpine team competed at three different venues. On Friday the team was at Attitash for the GS portion of the UNH Carnival, on Saturday we were at Cannon Mountain for the SL portion of the UNH Carnival, and on Sunday the team finished up at Burke with the rescheduled SL portion of the UVM Carnival from earlier in January.
In Friday's GS race, the team was anchored by Becca Nadler's 10th place result, a costly mistake in the second run derailing her chance for a podium finish... Simon Merryweather was the men's team's best finisher moving up from a start position of 88th to finish 34th on the day. Cold temps and howling winds greeted all the teams for Saturday's SL races at Cannon on the historic Rocket trail above Echo Lake. The men's team qualified four athletes for a second run, which was great, and in the end it was Matt Mansson leading the way for the team in 33rd from a start position of 75. Ian Anderson and James Stevenson were close behind contributing a solid amount of points in 38th and 40th respectively. The highlight for our women's team at Cannon was Samantha Udolf coming from a start position of 82 to notch a career-best 31st place, with Katie Gibson punching in another solid finish in 35th.
On to Burke, which turned to be not quite as windy as Cannon, but even colder! Becca kicked her SL skiing into gear with a 12th place finish from the 32nd start spot, and Sam continued to ride her recent SL form to another impressive 33rd place with Katie nailing down enough points in 39th for the women's best team finish of the season in 6th place. The men again qualified more skiers for the second run than has typically been the case for us in the past, and at the end of the day it was captain Simon leading the way in 42nd, Matt nipping at his heels in 43rd, and James as the team's third scorer in 49th. EISA alpine action takes a break this week, but our racing continues this coming weekend with a guest entry to the St. Anselm's Carnival at Crotched Mountain, so stay tuned!