Two Skiers Earn All-East, City Named Nordic Coach of the Year at EISA Championships
Jen Rolfes was named to the All-East team, along with classmate Rebecca Nadler, and is one of four Harvard athletes to qualify for NCAAs (Gil Talbot).
The Middlebury Carnival took place this weekend at the college's Snow Bowl and at the Rikert Touring Center. These last races also served as the EISA Regional Championship - it's hard to believe the regular season is already over! Highlights from this weekend included Rebecca Nadler's eighth place in the women's GS, Jen Rolfes' 12th in the 5k classic and Akeo Maifeld-Carucci's 15th in the 20k skate. With the conclusion of this last carnival, we had two athletes named to the All-East team, qualified four athletes for the NCAA Championships next week, and Coach City was named 2014 EISA Nordic Coach of the Year. Read on for details!
Alpine Report: Slalom and GS
Middlebury hosted the alpine portion of the NCAA Eastern Regional Championships on its Snow Bowl ski area, just up the gap from the Rikert Touring Center where the Nordic races took place. The weekend was marked by warm temperatures, but most notably by a fast-moving thunderstorm that drenched the slalom on Friday, where two of the chairlifts at the ski area were actually struck by lightning! This resulted in the cancellation of the second run of women's slalom (still counting as a one-run race). In that one-run race, Harvard's Rebecca Nadler led the team in 16th place, with Katie Gibson our second points-scorer in 33rd. Samantha Udolf and Liz Strong finished right next to each other in 50th and 51st respectively.
In the men's slalom (both runs completed), James Stevenson led the scoring effort for the team in 52nd, with captain Simon Merryweather nipping at his heels in 54th. Dan Rittenhouse put together two solid runs for 61st on the day as our third scorer, with Danny Fowler and Matt Mansson just behind in 64th and 65th.
Saturday's GS race greeted the racers with mostly sunny skies and fantastic racing conditions. Rebecca again led the Crimson's effort with an 8th place finish, her best finish ever on the quirky Middlebury GS hill. Katie had a strong showing in GS in 29th, with Samantha in 48th and Liz in 52nd to round things out.
On the men's side, Simon led the team with a 51st and James was just behind in 54th on the day.
That marks the end of the eastern collegiate racing for the season. Rebecca was named to the 2014 All-East Team, a distinction for the top 10 skiers in the league, and she will represent Harvard for the fourth consecutive year at the NCAA National Championships (Park City, UT).
Our other skiers continue to train for upcoming races where they aim to improve their FIS ranking points in an effort to better their start positions for next year's collegiate races. The Crimson will see our alpine athletes competing at a number of FIS and USSA races through the end of March, including but not limited to: Le Relais, Quebec; Ragged Mt., NH; Waterville Valley, NH; Cannon Mt., NH; Killington, VT; Burke, VT; Sunday River, ME; Nakiska, Alberta; and Squaw Valley, CA
Nordic Report: 5/10 k Classic and 15/20 k Mass Start Skate (by Asst. Coach Audrey Mangan '10)
Harvard's Nordic squad finished an historic carnival season this weekend at Middlebury College. The EISA Regional Championship was the last chance for skiers to move up on the NCAA ranking list and qualify for the National Championship next week at Soldier Hollow. Two Harvard nordies, Akeo Maifeld-Carucci and Jen Rolfes, were well inside the qualifying cutoff going into the Middlebury races and a third skier, Chris Stock, was just inside the bubble. We want great performances at the end of the carnival in any event, but we definitely felt some added pressure to maintain Chris' position - an outcome only partly within his control. Needless to say, it was an exciting weekend!
Racing began on Friday like it often does at Rikert: in the midst of a freshly-falling wintry mix alternated with clear skies. Chris led the men in the individual-start 10k classic with a solid 17th-place finish. Freshman Ian Meyer really stepped up as our second scorer in 33rd, his best finish of the year by 10 places, and senior Tony Ryerson rounded out our top-three in 38th.
In the women's 5k classic, Jen led the charge for the Crimson once again, taking 12th. Freshman Rachel Hampton finished 29th for her season-best result in the event, and freshman Maile Sapp finished her strong rookie season in 38th as our third scorer.
The weather improved for the 15/20k mass start skate race on Saturday to sunny skies and spring-like temperatures. With many bubble skiers fighting for those NCAA spots, the main pack was densely populated for much of race. Akeo, who had rested on Friday, gave a great effort despite a cold and skied a very smart race. He was in 20th through the 15k mark but picked off five skiers over the next few kilometers to finish 15th. Tony, in the last race of his college career, came through in 36th as our second scorer at the front of a small Harvard pack. Ian was seven seconds behind Tony in 38th, another season-best for him, and Chris finished 39th, two seconds after Ian. Chris maintained his position on the NCAA rankings list and is headed to Soldier Hollow with Jen and Akeo!
As the second race of the day, the course significantly softened for the women's 15k, making an already-difficult course even more challenging. Jen was our top scorer again in 27th. Sophomore Hanna Barnes and Rachel went two-three for the Crimson in 43rd and 45th, respectively.
After the races at Rikert were over we headed over to the Snow Bowl to watch the alpiners finish their second run and to see Jen named to the 2014 All-East Team.
Athletes weren't the only ones to receive an award this weekend - Harvard's head coach Chris City was honored by his fellow collegiate coaches with the 2014 EISA Nordic Coach of the Year award. Congratulations Chris!
We have a rare weekend off coming up to allow for recovery and travel to Utah. The nordic races at NCAA Championships take place at Soldier Hollow, site of the 2002 Olympics, on March 6 and 8. Races will be broadcast live online this year at NCAA.com.
Two of our U20 skiers, Hanna and Maile, are also still racing. The pair of New York natives will compete in the USSA Junior National Championships next week in Stowe, VT, for the Mid-Atlantic region.