CRAFTSBURY/STOWE, Vt. — With four podium finishes on the day, the Dartmouth ski team was able to win three of the first four events of the Vermont Carnival and end up atop the leaderboard with a slim 486-479 edge over the host Catamounts. The Big Green women’s alpine squad provided the most points with two skiers medaling, despite extremely icy and windy conditions at Stowe Mountain Resort, while both cross country teams posted wins over at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in much calmer weather despite with chilly temperatures and bright sunshine.
With perfect snow conditions at Craftsbury, the women began the day on the Nordic side with a mass start 15K Freestyle race. Freshman Katharine Ogden established herself in the lead pack right away, finishing the first of three loops in second with two of her teammates, sophomore Abby Drach and junor Taryn Hunt-Smith among the top five, which were separated by just nine seconds.
Speaking of separation, that is exactly what happened during the second loop with Vermont’s Alayn Sonnesyn pulling away with a comfortable lead and Ogden by herself in second with Drach and Hunt-Smith running fourth and fifth, respectively. While the top three held their places to the finish with Sonnesyn winning the race in 45:26, more than a minute ahead of Ogden in 46:29, Hunt-Smith just passed Drach by two seconds to claim her best career individual finish in fourth at 47:23. The Big Green trio scored 127 points, just enough to edge out Vermont’s 125, despite the Catamount taking the other two steps on the podium.
The men’s 20K Freestyle proved to be a bit tighter with junior Gavin McEwen racing out to the lead over the first loop with senior Callan DeLine on his heels in second. But Colby’s Zane Fields once again proved to be tough to catch as he took the lead during the second loop and held off the field through to the end by just under nine seconds in 53:18.7 for his third victory in four races this season, all in the freestyle.
DeLine and McEwen, meanwhile, remained in the pack of the next four skiers with the former maintaing his place in second and McEwen falling back to fourth after the second and third laps. It was during the third loop that senior Luke Brown propelled himself in the lead pack after sitting in 18th through 5K. Now he was right behind McEwen, barely a second back in fifth with one lap to go. Brown continued his surge to find his way to the podium in third in 53:37.8 with DeLine (53:48.9) and McEwen (53:49.6) the next two to cross the finish less than a second apart. The tight pack near the top gave Dartmouth 124 points, well ahead of Middlebury in second with 100.
The ice and wind claimed quite a few skiers on Friday with more than half of the competitors not finishing the two runs. Vermont’s Paula Moltzan used her knowledge of the home slopes to cruise to a win by 2.67 seconds in 2:07.34. But the women took their cue from their Nordic counterparts, packing in three skiers in the top five, led by senior Foreste Peterson in second in 2:10.01 after sitting third through the first run. Freshman Claire Thomas put together two top-five times on each run to take the bronze in 2:10.14, her first career podium. Rounding out the Big Green scorers was senior Kelly Moore in fifth with a combined time of 1:06.48, giving Dartmouth 130 points to edge out Vermont, which recorded 126.
The men had a rougher time navigating the course as last week’s EISA Male Alpine Skier of the Week, sophomore Tanguy Nef, was one of 27 skiers to fall on the first run, as did another consistent Big Green scorer in senior Thomas Woolson. But senior Brian McLaughlin had a time of 1:00.67, one of only two skiers to beat 1:01, while three others ranked in the top 12, including sophomore David Domonoske in ninth. The course claimed McLaughlin, unfortunately, on the second attempt, as it did 10 others. Thankfully, Dartmouth’s other three managed to finish unscathed and remain in the top 12 with Domonoske taking fifth in 2:05.23 and freshman Peter Fucigna one-hundredth of a second behind in sixth. Another freshman, Kalle Wagner, provided 29 points to the team score with his 12th-place finish as the Big Green finished second in the event with 105 points. Vermont, with three of the top four including champion Max Roiesland (2:03.21), totaled 135.
The carnival will conclude tomorrow with the slalom and the classical races. The women’s 5K individual start begins at 10 a.m. with the men launching at 11:45 a.m., while the men will hit the slopes at Stowe first at 9 a.m.