Coming off of a third-place finish in the alpine portion of the Vermont Carnival on Jan. 12, the Big Green looked to skate to the top of the standings in the Nordic portion on Feb. 1 and 2. While the Nordic team brought Dartmouth close to edging out their opponents, they ultimately fell short of defeating the University of Vermont by eight points and came in second overall.
On the first day of competition, the Big Green took first place in the men's 10-kilometer freestyle and the women's five-kilometer-freestyle, bringing them within 30 points of UVM in first place.
In the five-kilometer freestyle, Corey Stock '16 took second place with a 14:08.3 and Annie Hart '14 followed in third place at 14:10.2. Mary O'Connell '16 placed seventh with a 14:26.2. The Dartmouth women finished first in the event with 126 points, followed by Middlebury College with 108 and UVM with 102. The women's team was greatly helped by the return of three skiers who had been competing on the international stage, all of whom placed in the top seven in their events.
"It was great to have our three women back," women's Nordic coach Cami Thompson-Graves said. "For O'Connell and Stock, this was their first ever Carnival race too, because they have been away and they are freshmen, so this was incredibly exciting."
O'Connell said she was happy to begin racing in a Dartmouth uniform.
"The UVM Carnival was a really fun way to begin my carnival career at Dartmouth," O'Connell said. "I was so impressed not just by how everyone raced, but by the support all the skiers gave each other. It was such a positive atmosphere, and I'm so excited to be a part of it."
The men's Nordic team was bolstered by the return of Sam Tarling '13, who took second on the first day in the men's 10-kilometer freestyle with a 24:52.6. Tarling spent the previous two weekends in the Czech Republic competing in the Under-23 Championships.
"It was a great experience for sure," Tarling said. "It is always nice to go overseas and ski on different snow, but it's definitely great to be back."
Although snow conditions have not been ideal, Tarling's transition back to skiing with the Big Green has gone smoothly.
"I've been healthy since coming back and that has been a relief, and it's nice to have the team back together again," Tarling said.
Silas Talbot '15 also scored points for the Big Green in the 10-kilometer freestyle, coming in fourth with a 25:19.9. Scott Lacy '13 placed fifth with a 25:34.8. UVM's Scott Patterson took the top spot, with a 24:25.2. Although the Big Green failed to clinch the top spot, they outscored the Catamounts in the event overall, 127-116.
On the second day of competition, with the 10-kilometer classic races for both the men and women, the Big Green needed to make up 30 points to defeat UVM, who continued to hold the top spot.
In the women's 10-kilometer classic, Hart finished first and claimed the first individual victory for the Big Green women this season. She beat second-place finisher Annie Pokorny of Middlebury by over six seconds, with a 32:08.9. Stock came in sixth place at 33:01.2 and O'Connell placed eighth in 33:21.2. The three women scored a combined 120 points to give Dartmouth the victory in the 10-kilometer classic, followed by Middlebury with 113 points and UVM with 109 points.
At the start of the men's 10-kilometer classic, the Big Green still had 19 points to regain to come out on top. Tarling finished first with a 27:42.7, nearly 10 seconds ahead of UVM's second place finisher, Patterson. Talbot came in fourth at 28:11.9, followed by Steven Mangan '14 in fifth with a 28:14.0 and David Sinclair '14 in sixth with a time of 28:20.6. But UVM finished in seventh and eighth, preventing the Big Green from capturing the points it needed to advance.
The Big Green did manage to improve Dartmouth's overall finish, jumping from third on Jan. 12 to second at the weekend's end.
Dartmouth will host its Winter Carnival on Friday and Saturday. The alpine teams will race at the Dartmouth Skiway and the Nordic teams will compete at Craftsbury, V.T. due to poor snow conditions at the Dartmouth Cross Country Ski Center at Oak Hill.
"I would love to see a carnival win," Thompson-Graves said. "We have three left, and while the Nordic team is disappointed that snow conditions mean we have to race in Craftsbury, not Hanover, we're always excited for Winter Carnival."