CARRABASSETT VALLEY/WATERVILLE, Maine – The University of Vermont holds a 29-point lead after the first day (Jan. 17) of the 2014 Colby College Carnival. This is no surprise. What is a surprise, however, is that the host team from Colby College currently sits third in team scoring. UVM skiers Kate Ryley and Travis Dawson took first place in their individual events, but Colby’s performance at their home event overshadowed much of everything else.
Ryley took her second GS win of the season by posting the two fastest times of the day, leading to a 3.64 second lead over runner-up Abigail Fucigna of Dartmouth. However, Ryley’s dominance of the field was not supported by her teammates on the women’s side. Neither Kristina Riis-Johannessen nor Elise Tefre finished their second runs, although Vermont received points from rookies Celine Rytz and Brittany Lathrop, who finished 12th and 14th, respectively.
Travis Dawson, who finished third last week at the UVM Carnival, took the men’s win at Sugarloaf. Dawson and teammate Dom Garand took first and second, with Kevin Drury also scoring for Vermont in fourth. Vermont’s men claimed the team victory, scoring 138 points and besting second-place Dartmouth’s 92.
During a day with unseasonably warm weather and variable snow conditions, Colby capitalized, and had three women finish in the top 10. Jeanne Barthold’s best finish heading into the had been 21st place, at Colby’s Carnival last season. She destroyed that record, taking third place and leading her women’s team who ultimately edged out the lady Catamounts by 10 points.
“This is our home hill. We’ve worked really hard this year and I’m so excited with our team,” said Barthold. “It’s been a great day, and I am so proud of our team. It’s a good start to our year.”
It definitely is a good start; Colby’s women have been performing far above expectations set for this season. Mardi Haskell finished fifth, the first top-10 result of her collegiate career. Senior Brittney Ziebell also scored for Colby, finishing ninth.
Dartmouth’s Abby Fucigna, who podiumed at this race last year, continued to perform well at Sugarloaf.
“I like the hill,” Fucigna said. “I like how it’s technical in the way it turns, but the pitches are more moderate. You can really get a good feeling.” Fucigna placed second on the day and was Dartmouth’s top finisher. Dartmouth’s other point scorers were Anne Strong, who placed 11th, and Sara Kikut, who took 17th.
Dartmouth’s top finisher for the men was Robert Overing, who finished eighth. The Dartmouth men tied for second as a team with Middlebury, scoring 92 points; both teams were still 46 points behind the UVM men.
The race conditions, particularly those during the second run, were anything but ideal. After contending with a fog that continually rolled in and out during the first run, skiers had to deal with a very rutty, icy course.
“I don’t think I’ve seen many races with the course conditions the way they were,” noted Dawson. “The conditions were tough, there were holes, the snow was icy, we had fog, and we had darkness. It was a crazy day and it was a tough day.”
Female athletes echoed Dawson’s analysis.
“I’ve never had my skis move under my feet like the way they did today. It was the epitome of a ski race,” concurred Fucigna. The difficult conditions prevented several skiers from finishing, as atheltes had trouble navigating the variable terrain. Fucigna continued, “I like when it gets a little tough, and I know that some people don’t, so I like to use that to my advantage.”
Although there is no mass-start nordic race in the Colby Carnival, Vermont’s Anja Gruber and Dartmouth’s Annie Hart pulled away from the field in the classic nonetheless. Gruber skied the 5km race nearly half a minute faster than Hart, who in turn skied half a minute faster than the next five finishers, three of whom were her Dartmouth teammates.
The race hosted at Colby’s Quarry Road Recreational Facility in Waterville was marked by icy, granular snow and on-and-off drizzle that made wax conditions interesting. That didn’t seem to bother Dartmouth, which put four women and two men in the top 10. Stephanie Kirk of Vermont rounded out the podium, besting a pack of skiers through seventh place who were separated by just five seconds.
Solid races from Gruber and Kirk led the Catamounts past Dartmouth by just two points at the end of the women’s race. Dartmouth’s Emily Hannah (fourth) and Isabel Caldwell (fifth) rounded out the scoring for the Big Green, and Linda Danvind-Malm (eighth) was the third Catamount woman.
The Colby women turned in a standout performance much like their alpine counterparts, putting all their scorers in the top-15, good enough for third place in team scoring. Two freshmen, Amy Bianco and Olivia Amber, made great first impressions in the opening Carnival race of 2014, scoring seventh and 11th, respectively. Veteran Lizzie Anderson rounded out their scoring in 14th place.
Heather Mooney (ninth) and Stella Holt (10th) led the Middlebury women to fourth as a team.
By the time the men finished, the slim UVM nordic lead was gone and the Big Green had taken over. Silas Talbot’s win and a third-place finish by senior captain David Sinclair put Dartmouth on top by 20 points. Middlebury’s Ben Lustgarten finished a strong second.
The Catamount men were second as a team, led by Scott Patterson (fifth) and Jack Hegman (seventh). The UNH Wildcats, behind a 4th-place finish from Per Lindgren, were third on the day. Harvard nearly stole third from the Wildcats however, as Akeo Maifield-Carucci and Chris Stock posted sixth and eight — a career-best finish for both Crimson racers. Bowdoin’s James Crimp and Dartmouth’s Jan Ketterson rounded out the top ten.
Saturday’s freestyle race has been switched from 20/15k mass start to a 15/10k individual start due to course conditions.
Release courtesy of EISA
Team scores following the GS and classic races of the Colby Carnival:
1. UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT UVM 473.0
2. DARTMOUTH COLLEGE DAR 444.0
3. COLBY COLLEGE CBC 361.0
4. MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE MID 329.0
5. UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE UNH 304.0
6. WILLIAMS COLLEGE WIL 246.0
7. HARVARD UNIVERSITY HAR 176.0
8. ST LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY SLU 163.0
9. BATES COLLEGE BAT 137.0
10. UNIVERSITE’ LAVAL LAV 100.0
11. COLBY SAWYER COLLEGE CSC 98.0
12. BOWDOIN COLLEGE BOW 96.0
13. BOSTON COLLEGE BC 86.0
14. ST MICHAELS COLLEGE SMC 77.0
15. PLYMOUTH STATE UNIVERSITY PSU 51.0
16. UNIVERSITY OF ME -PRESQUE ISLE UMPI 12.0