Coming off a successful second-place finish at the Middlebury Carnival, the Dartmouth ski team traveled to Maine to compete in the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association Championships this past weekend, hosted by Bates College. Dartmouth and the University of Vermont were neck and neck for most of the Carnival until UVM finally defeated the Big Green by just 31 points.
In an incredibly successful first day of skiing, Dartmouth won three out of the four events on Friday and finished the day ahead of UVM by nine and a half points. Mary O'Connell '16 led the Big Green during the first day of competition, taking first place in the women's five-kilometer classic. In an intense race, O'Connell fended off a strong final push by Middlebury's Annie Pokorny in the final stretch to win her second Carnival victory and beat Pokorny by less than two seconds in 15:04.1.
"I was incredibly excited about winning my races this past weekend," O'Connell said. "While it was a little unexpected, it was definitely one of the highlights from this past season as a whole."
Emily Blackmer '13 took third in the five-kilometer classic in 15:26.1, beating out UVM's Anja Gruber. Annie Hart '14 came in behind Gruber to take fifth place in 15:30.5, and Isabel Caldwell '14 placed seventh in 15:34.0. With three competitors in the top five the Big Green took first place for the event, defeating UVM 133 to 109.
In the men's 10-kilometer classic, Sam Tarling '13 raced alongside UVM's Scott Patterson, but fell to Patterson in the last stretch of the race and ultimately took second place with a time of 27:21.8. David Sinclair '14, Silas Talbot '15 and Scott Lacy '13 placed fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, and the Big Green won a narrow seven point victory over UVM, 127 to 120.
The women's alpine team landed three top-10 finishes in the giant slalom, led by Abby Fucigna '15 who placed fourth with a time of 2:39.96. Sara Kikut '16 placed eighth in 2:41.44 and Annie Rendall '13 took 10th in 2:41.99.
"The three times we've won events, at UVM, at Middlebury and this past weekend at Bates, have all been highlights for our season," Kikut said. "We have the best team spirit out there, and I'm excited to bring that spirit to the championships."
In the men's giant slalom, Ian Macomber '13 lead the Big Green, taking ninth with a time of 2:36.12. Trace Smith '15 took 11th place with a time of 2:36.20 and the Big Green placed fifth in the event, with UVM beating out Middlebury for the top spot, 117-115.
Looking to maintain its slim lead over UVM, the Big Green fell just short, winning four out of the eight total events for the weekend. UVM won the other four events on the second day of competition and took the Carnival, completing a Carnival sweep for this season.
O'Connell took home another first place victory, this time in the 10-kilometer freestyle. O'Connell narrowly beat out UVM's Grubner by a tenth of a second with her time of 28:29.2. Hart took fifth in 28:52.3 and Corey Stock '16 was the third top-10 finisher for the Big Green, taking 10th place with a time of 29:12.1. The three scored 120 points for the event, but UVM edged out a victory with 126 total points.
In the 15-kilometer freestyle, the Big Green men placed second, third and fourth, led by Tarling in 37:41.0. Talbot followed Tarling to take third with a time of 37:55.9. Lacy took fourth in 38.00.6, narrowly beating out UVM's Roger Brown for the spot.
In the slalom, the Big Green had top-10 finishers for both the men and women. Lizzie Kistler '16 placed second in 2:00.92, and Kikut took fifth place with a combined time of 2:02.79. UVM's Kate Ryley took first place to propel UVM to its first place finish over the Big Green who placed second.
For the men, Hunter Black '15 lead the Big Green with a fifth place finish in 1:59.65. Ben Morse '15 took 10th in the event in 2:01.41, but the Big Green ultimately placed third behind UVM and the University of New Hampshire.
Securing the first place trophy was a highlight of the women's weekend, and the team hopes the NCAA Championships will provide it with another highlight, women's Nordic coach Cami Thompson-Graves said.
"Mary winning her races was an incredible victory, and taking home the trophy this past weekend was definitely a peak in our season," Thompson-Graves said. "Looking forward, the key thing is managing the end of the term and we have to make sure our skiers stay healthy and relaxed."
This EISA ski season was a competition between UVM and the Big Green, with UVM winning the races with Dartmouth always following close behind. Following an excellent Carnival season, the Big Green is looking ahead to competing at the NCAA Championships, hosted by Middlebury College in two weeks. Dartmouth hopes to build off this past weekend's momentum.
"Because this past weekend was so successful, I think we can go into the NCAA Championships relaxed and ready to go," O'Connell said.