Deep Fields Challenge Ski Teams at Dartmouth Carnival
Katie Gibson posted top-40 finishes in the slalom and GS at Dartmouth (Photo: Gil Talbot).
Things heated up this weekend at the Dartmouth Carnival, where the Crimson competed at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center and at the Dartmouth Skiway. The carnival circuit played host to the professional domestic circuit this weekend, so the alpine and nordic fields were the deepest we've ever seen them. Read on for the nordic and alpine reports.
Nordic Report: 5/10k Skate and 15/20k Classic (by Asst. Coach Audrey Mangan '10)
Dartmouth was another groundbreaking weekend for the Crimson, this time with three individual top-10s and a third-place women's team score on the second day of racing at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center.
Junior Akeo Maifeld-Carucci kicked things off on Friday with a seventh-place finish in the men's 10k skate on Craftsbury's challenging homologated course. Senior Tony Ryerson bounced back from a recent cold to finish 20th, while freshman Devlin Shea broke into the top 40 for the first time in his rookie season with a 37th, just 15 seconds outside the top 30.
Senior Jen Rolfes continued her recent strong results with an eighth place in the women's 5k. With a handful of World Junior/U23 competitors back from Italy for the first time in a few weeks, this was perhaps a stronger result for Jen than her fifth last weekend at UVM. Freshman Rachel Hampton had another solid race in 30th and sophomore Annie Harvieux was Harvard's third scorer in 40th.
Beautiful bluebird skies and perfect tracks greeted us on Saturday for the first 15/20k classic race of the year. Akeo led the men again with a strong race in 13th, senior Chris Stock was Harvard's second scorer in 22nd and Tony crossed the finish line in 39th.
The final race of the weekend, the women's 15k, was the highlight for the Crimson at Dartmouth. Jen led the team with a new personal best, finishing fourth in the college field, 30 seconds off the podium. She skied an incredibly consistent race, posting the fourth-fastest split on each of her three laps. Jen has all but solidified her ticket to NCAAs; she now sits in eighth on the EISA ranking list. The dynamic freshman duo Rachel and Maile Sapp brought it home with 23rd- and 25th-place finishes, respectively, helping the women hold off Colby by a single point and cap off the carnival with a third-place finish as a team.
After the races was the annual Carni Crush exchange of valentines among the teams. In serenading the Dartmouth women, our guys showed that they've got top-10 voices, too.
The alpine crew took to the historic hills of the Dartmouth Skiway this past weekend, taking part in the annual Dartmouth Carnival races. With NorAm races having just been completed the previous day, most of the top national team skiers from the US and Canada (as well as a few Europeans) that are not currently competing in the Olympics in Sochi stuck around to race in the Dartmouth races. This made these races probably the deepest, fastest, and most challenging collegiate races on record. As a result, many teams did not even qualify skiers for the second run of the race due to the cut-60 rule that only allows the top 60 skiers from the first run to compete in the second run. The conditions on the race hills were amazing, so everyone was going for it, pushing their line and ability to the absolute maximum.
In the GS on Friday, the Crimson qualified two athletes for the second run, with Katie Gibson and Liz Strong both skiing solid runs, moving up quite a bit from their start positions to finish in 36th and 37th respectively.
In Saturday's slalom, the team punched in with some better results; Becca Nadler, fresh off a very hard crash in the GS, punched in a 19th place, and Katie continues to improve week by week, with a 31st on the day.
The men had to battle the deepest field I have ever seen at a collegiate race, with a number of athletes regularly racing on the World Cup. Nonetheless, Dan Rittenhouse led the way for the team, moving up from his start position of 101 to finish in 52nd. Close behind were Simon Merryweather and James Stevenson in 53rd and 54th.