HANCOCK, Vt. — Easterners are known for skiing in some pretty hairy weather. Even a lightning strike which knocked out power to the chairlift and forced the immediate termination of the women’s slalom in the middle of the second run on Friday (Feb. 21) wasn’t enough to hold back the force of the University of Vermont Catamounts who secured their second consecutive sweep of the EISA season with a victory at the regional championships doubling as Middlebury Carnival.
The women’s slalom at the Middlebury Snow Bowl had to be scored from the results of only the first run, which was won by Dartmouth’s Lizzie Kistler. Colby’s Mardi Haskell was second and Big Green skier Maisie Ide was third, giving Dartmouth a team victory in the only alpine event they would claim during the Carnival. While the nordic team rallied to win the women’s 5k classic and men’s 20k freestyle, Vermont still finished 126 points out of reach.
In Saturday’s giant slalom down the Allen, Vermont completed a podium sweep with Kate Ryley, Kristina Riis-Johannessen, and Elise Tefre finishing in that order. They were complemented by their teammates’ efforts at the Rikert Nordic Center where Catamounts Stephanie Kirk, Anja Gruber, and Linda Danvind-Malm also swept the podium in the 15k freestyle.
“It was definitely the best way possible to end off four years and a great way to end the season, especially going into nationals,” said senior Ryley. “We had a sweep in both alpine and nordic today, but it’s bittersweet. It was four years of the best time of (my) life, to be in school and skiing is the best combo. I’m sad, but you can’t be in college forever.”
“When we realized we were 1-2-3, we let out little screams,” said Kirk. “We were all just so pumped. And it didn’t matter at that point where we finished.”
Senior Hig Roberts from Middlebury pulled off an upset on his more than festive home hill. While inebriated mischief-makers in the assembled crowd upped the revelry by hurling snowballs on high at coaches’ knoll, Roberts charged from fourth place after the first run to claim the top step of the podium in the men’s giant slalom. He bested Vermont’s Kevin Drury and first-run leader Jonathan Nordbotten, who finished second and third, respectively. A year earlier on the same slope, Roberts finished a disappointing 19th in the national championships, but now he is among the favorites headed to Park City to vie for an NCAA title in March.
“Since my freshman year, my second day of training on this hill, (my coach) Stever’s been telling me I could easily win this race by seconds. I train very fast on this hill. NCAAs last year, it was a weird race for me and wasn’t there at all,” said Roberts. “This is really good for my confidence. Park City is a great hill. I love that hill and I’m excited to go out West and ski against some of those guys and see where I really stack up.”
Dartmouth’s freshman Paddy Caldwell matched veteran Catamount Scott Patterson stride-for-stride for roughly 19 of the 20 kilometers in Saturday’s freestyle race, then he beat out Patterson in the final 300 meters for the victory. Caldwell finished off the season with two individual wins in the last three races, showing he’s found his stride just in time to head to Soldier Hollow.
“Scott and I sort of went back and forth as the race went on, and I just felt stronger at the end,” Caldwell said, adding that he’s “really pumped for the (NCAA) Championships.”
Dartmouth’s David Sinclair finished third, enabling the Big Green men to just hold off the Vermont push in which three Cats finished inside the top 6. Despite Dartmouth’s best efforts, Vermont handily broke the 1000-point mark at EISA Championships, winning its fourth consecutive regional title as well as both the Dartmouth (men’s team) and Rikert (women’s team) Cups in the process.
The season concludes at the 2014 NCAA Skiing Championships hosted by University of Utah March 5-8, 2014.
Watch the mid-run lightning strike (video courtesy of Chip Knight, Dartmouth Skiing)
1. UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT UVM 1031.0
2. DARTMOUTH COLLEGE DAR 905.0
3. MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE MID 664.0
4. COLBY COLLEGE CBC 641.0
5. UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE UNH 633.0
6. WILLIAMS COLLEGE WIL 538.0
7. BATES COLLEGE BAT 394.0
8. ST LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY SLU 370.0
9. HARVARD UNIVERSITY HAR 325.0
10. ST MICHAELS COLLEGE SMC 260.0
11. BOWDOIN COLLEGE BOW 237.0
12. PLYMOUTH STATE UNIVERSITY PSU 183.0
13. BOSTON COLLEGE BC 164.0
14. COLBY SAWYER COLLEGE CSC 110.0
15. UNIVERSITY OF ME -PRESQUE ISLE UMPI 92.0