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Skiing Gets Last Regionals Tune Up At Williams Carnival

Rebecca Nadler posted a top-10 in the giant slalom Saturday (Gil  Talbot).

Last weekend we competed in the Williams Carnival, the last race on the calendar before the upcoming Regional Championships. Highlights included individual top-10s from Rebecca Nadler, Chris Stock and Jen Rolfes, and a fourth-place finish from the men's nordic team in the skate relay. Read on for more detailed alpine and nordic reports.

Alpine Report: Slalom and GS

Harvard's alpine team braved the drive out to Jiminy Peak, Mass., for the Williams College Carnival this past weekend for the last regular-season collegiate races of the season.  Additionally, the coaches braved the daunting task of digging out of the new snow and re-setting the safety netting that lines both sides of the entire slalom and GS hills at Jiminy on both days!  Once the hill was in good and safe shape, athletes attacked the variable conditions. The soft snow on top of glare ice made things tricky for even the best skiers in the field. 

Friday's slalom saw Matt Mansson and Simon Merryweather qualify for second runs.  Matt led the way, moving up from a start position of 73 to capture 37th, with Simon close behind in 42nd.  The women finished all four starters, with Rebecca Nadler linking two solid runs for 16th, Katie Gibson moving up to 33rd, and Sam Udlof and Liz Strong rounding things out in 48th and 49th, respectively. 

Saturday's GS was always going to be a bumpy affair, given the recent snowfall, but the Crimson did their best to punch in results on what was universally described as a "gnarly course."  Rebecca Nadler skied a solid first run, but found another gear in the second run to finish 7th (2nd place on the second run).  Samantha Udolf threw caution to the wind in the bumpy conditions and attacked her way from the back of the back to 44th, with Katie Gibson and Liz Strong just behind her in 50th and 54th. 

The men qualified one athlete for the second run, but what an impressive day it was for Matt Mansson, moving from a start position of 79 to finish in 34th, the largest improvement in the entire field!   

Nordic Report: 3x3.2k Skate Relay and 5/10k Classic (by Asst. Coach Audrey Mangan '10)

Much like the Olympics, nordic racing returned to Prospect Mountain for the first time in four years last weekend for the Williams Carnival. Few athletes had skied the venue before - a rare circumstance these days - so the weekend offered the excitement of the unknown on top of already-heightened anticipation of the chance to shine as a team in the relay.

Over a foot of fresh snow fell on Thursday night, but the team handled it well. The 3x5k was shortened to 3x3.2k two hours before the start, the trail was only one skier wide in places, and the snow on course was very soft, but as they say: everyone had to deal with the same conditions.  

Senior captain Jen Rolfes scrambled for Harvard's A-team and skied well through the powder to put us in seventh place after the first leg. She tagged to freshman Rachel Hampton, who proceeded to steamroll past two skiers on the second leg to tag off to freshman Maile Sapp in fifth place. Unfortunately, Maile caught a ski in the deep powder during her leg and fell, but rallied to bring it home for Harvard in 12th place. Harvard's second team, Emily Rodgers, Hanna Barnes and Annie Harvieux, finished 13th.

The men's relay proved to be an exciting race. Junior Akeo Maifeld-Carucci scrambled for Harvard's A-team and skied well through the powder to put us in fourth place after the first leg. Senior captain Chris Stock skied a gutsy second leg and held onto his position despite taking a spill. He tagged to senior Tony Ryerson close enough to give Harvard a fighting chance at the podium going into the last lap. Tony absolutely crushed his leg; he skied the fifth-fastest split of the day to bring the Crimson home in fourth behind Dartmouth A, Dartmouth B and UVM. With Dartmouth in the top two spots Harvard actually claimed third in the team scoring. Our second men's team also skied a great race; Devlin Shea, Ian Meyer and Soren Anderson took 13th.

Harvard brought home two more individual top-10s in the 5/10k classic the next day. Amidst more freshly-falling snow, Jen kicked things off in ninth in the women's 5k, just six seconds from the top-5. Rachel skied a strong race in 31st and Maile finished in 38th, 17 seconds behind Rachel.

The men skied two laps of the 5k course and had the added challenge of skiing on tracks that broke down over the course of the preceding women's race. Chris led Harvard in tenth, skiing a great second lap to move up five places in the final half of the race. Akeo took 18th and Tony finished 30th. Together the men finished fourth on the day, one point ahead of Middlebury.

Speaking of Middlebury: next weekend they host the EISA Regional Championship on their home course at the Rikert Touring Center (nordic) and Middlebury Snow Bowl (alpine). As always, you can follow the results live online, or better yet, make the trek up to Vermont and cheer us on in person!