UMFORD/SUNDAY RIVER, Maine — he warm weather and rain that plagued the Bates Carnival and NCAA East Regional this weekend was not enough to keep Dartmouth from claiming the title with Big Green skiers winning both cross country races on Saturday at Black Mountain. Big Green freshman Lauren Jortberg claimed the gold in the women’s 15K Freestyle, while senior Fabian Stocek did the same in the 20K for the men.
One day after the alpine teams dominated the field, Saturday was the day for the Dartmouth Nordic squads to shine as they won both of their races behind Jortberg and Stocek. The Big Green finished the two-day carnival with 896 points overall, followed by Vermont with 820 and Middlebury with 659 in a distant third.
The cross country races were kicked off by the men with four laps around the 5K course. Stocek trailed only Jordan Fields of Williams College at the end of the initial lap, then fell back to fifth in the middle of the leading pack halfway through the race. He surged ahead of the field over the next lap, but with Fields and another Williams skier, Eli Hoenig, right on his heels. But he managed to fend off the former and pull away from the latter to earn the gold for the eighth time this year and ninth trip to the podium with his time of 51:15.9.
Fields and Hoenig finished two-three, but the next two to cross the tape almost simultaneously were junior Luke Brown (51:58.2) and sophomore Gavin McEwen (one-tenth of a second later). The trio secured 130 points, just holding off Williams with 126 to garner the team win in the event.
Jortberg, on the other hand, pretty much led the 15K mass start wire to wire. After each of the first two laps, she had a group of six to seven skiers trailing behind her in the lead pack. But she turned up the heat on the final lap, cruising to victory by nearly 19 seconds in 44:44.5.
The other five Big Green skiers all finished among the top 11 with sophomore Lydia Blanchet the next highest finisher in sixth at 45:43.5 and Abby Drach in seventh at 45:51.4. With 122 points, Dartmouth edged out Colby, which had the other two skiers on the podium, by 15 points.
Senior Thomas Woolson provided the final podium stop on the day for the Big Green placing third in the men’s slalom. Unlike yesterday, the teams were able to get down the mountain on both runs today, despite the less-than-ideal conditions. The top three skiers in the event separated themselves from the rest of the field on the first trip down the slopes with Woolson in third behind William St. Germain of Vermont and Robert Cone of Middlebury.
With a cushion of nearly one and a half seconds, Woolson played it cautious the second time down, having witnessed teammates Brian McLaughlin and Tanguy Nef falling on their first attempts. His second time ranked just 21st, but still managed to keep him in the top three with a combined time of 1:52.79. Senior Dylan Brooks (2:04.64, 30th) and freshman David Domonoske (2:12.98, 36th) also provided points as the Big Green amassed 67 in sixth place.
The women may not have had anyone on the podium, but still had five in the top 10 to place second in the slalom with 113 points. Not much changed between the first and second runs for any of the five skiers, led by sophomore Alexa Dlouhy who maintained her standing in fourth on the second attempt, totaling a time of 1:51.72. That put her about a quarter of a second ahead of junior teammate Foreste Peterson (1:51.99) in fifth.
Junior Kelly Moore also pitched in two strong runs to claim eighth in 1:53.46, leaving freshman Stephanie Currie and sophomore Hannah Melinchuk in ninth and 10th, respectively. Vermont, which had the top two skiers with Paula Moltzan posting the best time of 1:49.24, beat out Dartmouth in the event with 126 points.
The announcement of which 12 skiers will represent the Big Green at the NCAA Championship, hosted within the state by the University of New Hampshire, will be made a few days prior to the start of the event on March 8.