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Skiers Running Neck and Neck with Vermont at Middlebury

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Senior Annie Hart earned her first victory of the 2014 carnival season.     By C.J. Feehan
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HANCOCK, Vt./RIPTON, Vt. — With five podiums including a pair of victories, the Dartmouth ski team finished the first day of the Middlebury Carnival and EISA Championships breathing down the neck of the favorite, Vermont, just 16 points back. The Catamounts scored 492 points in the four events, while the Big Green tallied 476, taking both the women’s 5K Classic and the women’s alpine while placing second in the men’s 10K Classic and men’s slalom.

Senior Annie Hart (Stillwater, Minn.) not only claimed her seventh podium finish this year and 15th of her career, but also her first victory of the 2014 carnival season by finishing the 5K course at the Rikert Nordic Center in 17:02.0. She was joined on the podium by sophomore Corey Stock (Lincoln, Mass.), who took third place with a time of 17:20.2 for her second career podium, although she has been among the top 10 in all but one of her career carnival appearances. Dartmouth had three among the top 10 with senior Isabel Caldwell (Peru, Vt.) skating across the finish line in 17:51.9, good for ninth. Even though Vermont had four skiers finish in the top seven, the Big Green bested UVM by a slim two-point margin, 127-125.

The men’s cross country squad did not fare as well, but still got top-10 performances from freshman Patrick Caldwell (Lyme, Vt.), senior David Sinclair (Waitsfield, Vt.) and junior Silas Talbot (Anchorage, Alaska) to finish second behind the Catamounts in the 10K Classic. Caldwell posted a time of 28:50.2 to place seventh, Sinclair came across the tape in 28:53.0 in ninth and Talbot was right behind in 10th with a time of 28:55.5. The trio totaled 101 points, but Vermont’s threesome scored 132 by finishing second, third and fourth, but well behind the host school’s Benjamin Lustgarten who bested the field by 50 seconds at 27:18.5.

Over at the Middlebury Snow Bowl, the men’s and women’s teams combined to outscore the Catamounts in their best day at a carnival this year. On the men’s side, junior Ben Morse had two of the three fastest runs each time down the mountain and finished second overall in 1:37.36, just 0.15 seconds behind Vermont’s Taylor Wunsch. Freshman Dylan Brooks (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) came through with another solid performance for the Big Green, taking sixth place with his combined time of 1:37.97, barely beating out senior Mathieu Bertrand (Montreal, Quebec) who finished seventh in 1:38.00. Another Vermont skier claimed the other podium spot to help the Catamounts edge Dartmouth, 124-119.

The Big Green had four of the eight fastest women the first time down the slopes with sophomore Lizzie Kistler (Santa Rosa, Calif.) leading the field in 49.04 seconds. Sophomore Maisie Ide (Minneapolis, Minn.) had the third best time on the first run at 49.65 seconds, while sophomore Sara Kikut (Burlington, Vt.) and freshman Meg Currie (Toronto, Ont.) were in seventh and eighth place, respectively, in 50.12 seconds and 51 flat. During the second run, junior Abby Fucigna (Hopkinton, Mass.) was coming down the slopes when lightning lit up the sky and forced the cancellation of the remainder of the event. That left Kistler at the top of the podium with her first run and Ide came away with her first career finish on the podium in third. Dartmouth’s top three totaled 129 points while Colby was second with 117 and Vermont third with 111.

The carnival will conclude on Saturday with the giant slalom (first run begins at 9:30 a.m.) and the Nordic freestyle (starting at 10 a.m.).