Dartmouth Nordics take pole position at UNH Carnival
The Big Green must have felt slighted by its placement in the NCAA Power Rankings. On the opening day of the University of New Hampshire Carnival (Jan. 27), both the men's and women's Nordic teams pulled the rug out from underneath the University of Vermont, sweeping the men's podium and winning the women's classic sprint as well. With the giant slalom cancelled due to unfavorable racing conditions, Dartmouth double poled its way to the top of the carnival leader board with 274 points. The University of Vermont currently sits second with 219, and Middlebury is third with 171. Host institution UNH is in a heated tie for fourth place with Bates.
The Dartmouth men went 1-2-3 in the final sprint with defending NCAA champion Sam Tarling leading the pack. Tarling's title is in the freestyle event, so perhaps it was not so curious to see him racing on skate skis for the classic sprint. He commented, "I used skate skis today because it's a long, flat finish and a mostly flat course. I felt great, my skate skis were really fast, and I had good energy all day." He was joined on the podium by Bates Carnival 10k classic winner Eric Packer and Gordon Vermeer. The strength of the Dartmouth men's Nordic team is undeniable this year, and Tarling added, "We have eight guys that can be in the top 5; we had to leave people off the carnival team who could be scoring for us, so we're pretty confident."
While the women's race was more hotly contested between Dartmouth and UVM, the Big Green's Sophie Caldwell led the charge and had the race all but locked up heading into the final straightaway. Cruising through a wintry mix of steady precipitation and across the finish line, she was followed in alternating fashion by UVM's Caitlin Patterson, Dartmouth's Annie Hart, Catamount Lucy Garrec, her teammate and sister Isabel Caldwell, and Vermont's Anja Gruber. To further illustrate the dominance of these two teams, the first non-Dartmouth or UVM skier to place was Bowdoin's Kaitlynn Miller in ninth.
Alpine racing resumes tomorrow (Jan. 28) with slalom at Attitash Mountain Resort while the Nordics race freestyle at Jackson XC.
Team standings at the conclusion of Day 1 Nordic races of UNH Carnival:
Dartmouth College - 274
University of Vermont - 219
Middlebury College - 171
Bates College - 132
University of New Hampshire - 132
Williams College - 121
Harvard University - 119
Colby College - 105
St. Lawrence University - 99
Universite' Laval - 96
Bowdoin College - 90
University of Maine - Presque Isle - 43
St. Michael's College - 36
Photo of men's race winner Sam Tarling embracing women's race winner Sophie Caldwell by C.J. Feehan