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Dartmouth Edged by Vermont for EISA Crown

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Hunter Black took fifth in the men's slalom.     By Gil Talbot
RUMFORD/NEWRY, Maine — The Dartmouth ski team won four of the eight events at the EISA Championships hosted by Bates College, but Vermont won the other four to win the title by a slim 31 points, 939.5 to 908.5. The Catamounts completed a season sweep of the carnivals with Dartmouth finishing second in each one. The Big Green won three of the four events on the first day, but had the tables turned on them today as Vermont won three of four.

For the second straight day, freshman Mary O’Connell (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) won the women’s Nordic race, this time in the 10K Free. At the end of the first of two laps in the mass start, O’Connell found herself in the middle of a cluster of five skiers out in front, separated by no more than four seconds. The race came down to the wire with O’Connell going toe-to-toe with Vermont’s Anja Gruber, and O’Connell won the photo finish by a mere tenth of a second in 28:29.2. Junior Annie Hart (Stillwater, Minn.) was a part of that cluster as well, placing fifth in 28:52.3. Rounding out the Big Green’s top three was freshman Corey Stock (Lincoln, Mass.) in 10th place with a time of 29:12.1. The trio combined to score 120 points, but the Catamounts’ top three won the event with 126 thanks to taking second, third and seventh places.

While the Dartmouth men didn’t have the individual champion in the 15K Free, they did win the event by claiming the next three spots, led by senior Sam Tarling (Cumberland, Maine) in 37:41.0 in second place. He was followed by sophomore Silas Talbot (Anchorage, Alaska) in third at 37:55.9 and senior Scott Lacy (Aspen, Colo.) in fourth at 38:00.6, the latter of which bested Vermont’s Roger Brown by two-tenths of a second. The Big Green also featured another top-10 skier in junior Erik Fagerstrom (Eden Prairie, Minn.) who was right on Brown’s heels in sixth in 38:02.8. The Catamounts matched Dartmouth with four skiers in the top 10, but they did not place high enough to knock off the Big Green, which outscored UVM, 132-124.

With Dartmouth gaining just two more points than Vermont in the cross country races, the Green went into the second run of the slalom — a discipline that the Catamounts had dominated during the carnival season — clinging to a lead of just 11.5 points. Both the men and women posted two top-10 finishes, the best by freshman Lizzie Kistler (Santa Rosa, Calif.) in second place for the Dartmouth women in 2:00.92. Another freshman, Sara Kikut (Burlington, Vt.), took fifth with a two-run time of 2:02.79. Another freshman, Anna Kikut (Sara’s twin) provided the final points for the Big Green women by placing 14th in 2:05.20.

But Vermont put two on the podium with Kate Ryley earning individual honors with a time of an even two minutes. The Catamounts scored 127 points as a team, while Dartmouth finished second with 112.

For the men, sophomore Hunter Black (Keystone, Colo.) was just 0.15 seconds shy of standing on the podium, but settled for fifth with a combined time of 1:59.65. The other top-10 finish belonged to sophomore Ben Morse (Carrabassett Valley, Maine) who posted two runs that added up to 2:01.41, good for 10th. Senior Ian Macomber rounded out the scoring for the Big Green by finishing in a tie for 14th in 2:01.95. Middlebury’s Hig Roberts took the individual title in 1:58.46, and Vermont earned the other two spots on the podium to edge New Hampshire, 124-113. Dartmouth placed third with 96.5 points.

The Big Green will now prepare for the NCAA Championships, hosted by Middlebury College, in two weeks.