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HANCOCK, Vt./RIPTON, Vt. — Dartmouth entered the final day of the Middlebury Carnival trailing the favorite Vermont by just 16 points, then started the day by gaining ground with a team victory in the men’s 20K Freestyle race, led by freshman Patrick Caldwell (Lyme, Vt.) who posted the fastest time. But the Catamounts were able to fend off the Big Green threat, sweeping the podium in the women’s 15K Freestyle and women’s giant slalom, to defend their EISA Championship title.

Vermont finished the carnival with 1,031 points, Dartmouth claimed second with 905 and Middlebury took third with 664.

At the Rikert Nordic Center, three Catamount men were among the top five to finish the first of four laps in the 20K Freestyle mass start, but Dartmouth had five among the top 10, including Caldwell in third, barely three seconds off the pace set by Vermont’s Scott Patterson. The second time around the course, Caldwell had moved up into second while junior Silas Talbot (Anchorage, Alaska) slid up from sixth to fourth. By the time the leaders finished the third lap, Caldwell had overtaken Patterson by 2.6 seconds and Middlebury’s Benjamin Lustgarten, who had won the classical race the day before, dropped out, leaving Sinclair in third. That would be the order in which they completed the race as Caldwell posted a time of 43:07.8 for his second carnival victory in as many weeks, 3.5 seconds ahead of Patterson. Talbot joined Caldwell on the podium as no one was within 17 seconds of his time of 43:54.5 as he placed third.

Three other Big Green men finished among the top 10 with senior Cameron Woodworth (Yarmouth, Maine) scoring the points in seventh (44:28.0), senior David Sinclair (Waitsfield, Vt.) in eighth (44:29.2) and freshman Fabian Stocek (Jilemnice, Czech Republic) tied for ninth (45:00.4). Senior Erik Fagerstrom (Eden Prairie, Minn.) was right on their heels as well in 11th at 45:02.5.

Although the Catamounts swept the podium in the women’s 15K Freestyle, the next five skiers to cross the tape were from Dartmouth. Once again leading the way for the Big Green was senior Annie Hart (Stillwater, Minn.) in fourth place with a time of 39:45.1. The Dartmouth contingency ended up coming about every 15 seconds after that with sophomore Corey Stock (Lincoln, Mass.) registering her time of 40:00.4, junior Carly Wynn (Queensbury, N.Y.) finishing up in 40:15.7 and sophomore Emily Hannah (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) claiming seventh in 40:30.7. That 15-second rhythm ended when senior Isabel Caldwell jumped the gun a bit with her 40:38.6 to place eighth.

On the slopes at Middlebury Snow Bowl, sophomores Sara Kikut (Burlington, Vt.) and Loveland, Colo., put together a pair of solid runs to finish ninth (2:01.50) and 10th (2:01.73), respectively, to lead the Dartmouth squad. Classmate Lizzie Kistler (Santa Rosa, Calif.) recovered from a sluggish first run to post the fifth-fastest time the second time down, moving into 13th with a combined time of 2:01.88 as the final scorer for the Big Green. Another sophomore in Maisie Ide (Minneapolis, Minn.) came in 15th, and junior Abby Fucigna (Hopkinton, Mass.), who was fourth after the first run, finished 16th when she pushed a bit too hard the second time on the course in an attempt to earn a spot on the podium. Vermont’s Kate Ryley edged her teammate, Kristina Riis-Johannessen, by less than a tenth of a second to claim her eight carnival victory this year. The team tally left Dartmouth tied for second with Colby at 92 points.

Sophomore Robert Overing (Rothesay, N.B.) utilized a superb second run — second only to the leader Hig Roberts of Middlebury — to lead the Big Green skiers in seventh place at 1:56.15, just edging out rookie teammate Dylan Brooks (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) in eighth place at 1:56.19. Rounding out the scoring was sophomore Sam Macomber (Plymouth, N.H.) tied for 18th place with St. Michael’s Fredrik Sandell at 1:57.13. But thanks to Roberts’ victory, Middlebury slid into second place with 94 points with Dartmouth in third with 91. Vermont won the event with 132 points with its top three finishing 2-3-4.

Dartmouth will now prepare for the NCAA Championships in two weeks, to be hosted by the University of Utah on March 5-8.