2023 Nordic Season Preview
Skiers enter the final stretch of the 2022 St. Michael's 5km classic (image courtesy of flyingpointroad.com).
January is here, and along with it the excitement of the 2023 EISA Carnival race season. Wax irons are smoking, Klister is oozing, glitter stores are being replenished, athletes are getting dialed in, and…rain is falling from the sky? Although the East Coast lost much of the holiday snow in the weather event I have dubbed “The January of the Green Grass and Too Much Running,” temperatures are on track to drop over the course of the next week leading into the first Carnival of the season. So, do your best snow dance and get excited for some EISA racing!
Wilson Moore racing the 10km classic at the 2022 UVM Carnival (image courtesy of flyingpointroad.com).
EISA skiers are going the distance and going for speed
Bates College will host the kick-off event at Black Mountain in Rumford, Maine. Men and women will ski a 7.5km skate interval start on Saturday, followed by a 10 km individual event on Sunday. This weekend will be the first of several Carnivals testing the EISA’s new foray into equal distance racing. For the first four race weekends, men and women will race the exact same distances, with only two out of the twelve races being different lengths. Following the introduction of the women’s skate 20 km race last season at the Colby Carnival, this year brings two classic 20 km races for the women’s field at the UNH and St. Lawrence Carnivals. In addition to women racing longer, the EISA circuit will have its first men’s 5 km skate race at the UNH Carnival. Many of the men’s field haven’t raced this distance since their U16 days, so this will be an exciting one to watch. Adding to the excitement, the Harvard Carnival introduces the circuit to a new distance – the 7.5 km skate. Races of this length are rare, so pacing this distance properly will be a challenge for all skiers. Spectators who are fans of fun and fast racing will be delighted to watch the Skate Sprint taking place at the St. Michael’s Carnival, along with the 3x5km classic relay taking place later at the Harvard Carnival.
Quincy Massey-Bierman and Coach Andrew Johnson at the 2022 UVM Carnival (image courtesy of flyingpointroad.com).
Eleven schools head into the 2023 season
Our hosts for the first Carnival, Captains Zander Martin (Sr.), Sam Delamere (Sr.) and Olivia Cuneo (Jr.) lead the Bates Bobcats this season. Returning skiers include Cal Schrupp (Jr.), Mathias Boudreau-Golfman (So.), and Rebecca Feist (Sr.). First-years Liza Bell, Elsie Hall, Sydney Wilmot, Soren Davidson, and Dimitri Grewal will be joining the team.
Ending last season as EISA 2022 Coach of the Year, St, Michael’s coach Molly Peters is excited for the 2023 race season to begin. Key returners for the Purple Knights include Duluth, MN skier Declan Hutchinson (So.), Essex, VT skier Charles Martell (Jr.), Grace Castonguay (Jr.), and Katie Culliton (Jr.). Several new skiers from their team will be crossing the starting line for the first time, including Theo Castonguay, Mitchell Townsend, Ian Morse, Norwegian Astrid Bakke, Clara Wyatt, and Jocelyn Sommers.
Bowdoin’s head coach Nathan Alsobrook “can’t wait” for the season to start. “EISA is such a great community,” he says, speaking to the friendship and competitive drive that a Carnival season brings. “It’s super fun to go on the road every weekend and race hard against friends from other teams.” Bowdoin comes back from a strong 2022 season from both the men and women, with regular scorers Agnes Macy (Jr.), Morgan Richter (Jr.), Zach Ennis (Sr.), and Carson Williams (Jr.) all returning to ski. Newcomers for the Polar Bears include Emma Crum and Jordan Grialou.
Skiers climb up a steep section of the 2022 UVM Carnival course (image courtesy of flyingpointroad.com).
Skier collapses after working hard at the 2022 St. Michael's Carnival (image courtesy of flyingpointroad.com).
UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
The University of New Hampshire will be a strong team in the coming season after placing 6th as a team in the 2022 NCAA Championship. On the women’s side, returning skier Jasmine Lyons (So.) finished off her 2022 season with a 3rd place in the 15 km skate at NCAAs and will surely be an athlete to watch this season. Her teammate Lucy Anderson (Jr.) is looking to qualify for her fourth NCAA championship racing for the Wildcats. New skiers Hattie Barker and Emma Charles recently put forward fast races at the U.S Cross Country Ski Championships in Houghton, MI, with Barker qualifying for the World Junior Championships.
On the men’s side, senior Scott Schulz leads a deep team including Seth Wyatt (So.), Roger Anderson (Fr.), James Scheider (So.), Taschi Klaschka (Fr.), Anders Sonnesyn (Sr.), Andrew Myer (Sr.), and Eli Gore (Fr.). Both men’s and women’s teams frequently scored in the top 5 at Carnival races last season and will be sure contenders for the podium this season.
Harvard’s captains Everett Sapp and Annabel Hagen lead one of the biggest teams the school has fielded in recent years, with 8 women and 7 men starting for the Crimson. Key returnees on the men’s side in addition to Sapp include James Kitch (Sr.), a three-time NCAA qualifier, and Rémi Drolet (Sr.), who made an international debut in the 2022 Olympics and 2023 Tour de Ski skiing for Canada. They are joined by sophomore Mads Groeholdt and first-year Caden Cote. On the women’s side, returning sophomore Quincy Donley is joined by new skiers Amelia Tucker and Hayden McJunkin. Tucker has put forward strong performances at the U.S Championship in Houghton and will be a skier to watch this season.
Dartmouth brings strong men’s and women’s teams to the start line. Despite being a young team, the women put forth an impressive roster. Jasmine Drolet (So.), who turned heads after winning both races at the 2022 St. Michael’s Carnival, will be joined by her teammates Hannah Chipman (So.), Garvee Tobin (Jr.), and Tatum Witter (So.). First-year skier Ava Thurston will certainly add to this powerful team, coming off a great week of racing in Houghton at the U.S Championships with a qualification for the Junior World Championship.
For the men, coach Brayton Osgood is excited for the season. He says that it’s been a great fall, with many athletes putting down big PRs in time trials at practice. “Our skiers are excited to ski faster, both individually and as a team, than we did last year,” he remarks. In contrast to the women, the entire NCAA team from 2022 will return in 2023, including Luke Allan (So.), Wally Magill (So.), and Cam Wolfe (Sr.). Three new first-years, John Steel Hagenbuch, Jack Lange, and Cooper Camp, are already poised for fast seasons. After impressive racing in the U.S. Championships, Hagenbuch and Lange both qualified for international competition later in the season.
Inter-school friendships at the St. Michael's Carnival (image courtesy of flyingpointroad.com).
Getting off the starting line! (image courtesy of flyingpointroad.com).
Colby brings two young teams to the circuit this year. Colby is one of the few teams to have had reliable time on snow since Thanksgiving, with the Quarry Road snowmaking loop remaining through the warm spell. 2022 NCAA qualifiers Rose Clayton (Jr.) and Gretta Scholz (Jr.) return, accompanied by first-years Natalie O'Brien and Maggie MaGee who started off strong in early-season races. For the men, Zach Nemeth (Jr.), Jack Young (So.), and Victor Sparks (So.) had strong races at the U.S. Championships and will join teammates Cooper Anderson (Sr.), Andy Rightmire (Sr.), and first-year Matous Matousek.
St. Lawrence brings strong returners Brian Beyerbach (Sr.), Emma Strack (So.), and Sydney Peterson (Jr.), who competed last season at the 2022 Paralympics in Beijing where she won silver and gold medals. First-years Mackenzie Greenberg, Isabelle Serrano, Trevor Aitken, Nico Alexander and Spencer May are all excited to join the Saints for their first season. The team has been able to get early-season snow at Mt. Sainte Anne, and Coach Ethan Townsend is excited to get the season started. St. Lawrence will be hosting the NCAA Championships in Lake Placid to culminate the season.
Hopefully 2023 won't be so cold as some of the 2022 races were... (image courtesy of flyingpointroad.com).
Getting off to a good start at the 2022 UVM Carnival (image courtesy of flyingpointroad.com).
Coming off a solid 2022 season for both men and women, the Middlebury Panthers have put out admirable early season performances. On the men’s side, key returners include senior captain Sam Hodges, Will Nemeth (Jr.), Jack Christner (So.) and Logan Moore (So.). Despite the loss of top-ranked skier Peter Wolter, the team looks poised for a great season. First-year Sam Murray joins them. On the women’s side, Charlotte Ogden (Sr.) and Quincy Massey-Bierman (So.) lead a young team, with three new first-years Shea Brams, Mica Bodkins, and Maggie Wagner ready for their debut on the EISA circuit.
UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT
A dominating force, the men’s team only had one loss during the entirety of the 2022 racing season. Led by returning 5th year graduate students Greg Burt and Ben Ogden and supported by Jacob Nystedt (Jr.), Finn Sweet (So.) and Bjorn Westervelt (Jr.), the team has only lost one of last year’s top five scorers. Ben Ogden’s recent success on the World Cup leads the rest of the circuit to wonder how frequently he will be racing for the Catamounts, but their team will be strong either way.
For the women, key returners include Waverly Gebhardt (Sr.), Annie McColgan (Jr.), Libby Tuttle (Jr.) and Haley Brewster (So.). A top-ranked team last season, these women have started strong early-season at the U.S Championships with Brewster qualifying for the World Junior Championship and are certainly predicted to have an impressive performance in 2023.
The Ephs are captained by three “terrific leaders,” according to Coach Steve Monsulick – seniors Jenae Rasmussen, Lilly Bates, and Jacob Jampel. Skiing alongside them are Keelan Durham (So.), Quinn Wilson (So.), Henry Johnstone (Jr.), Hadassah Lurbur (Jr.), Molly Blaksee (So.) and Greta Laesch (So.). Johnstone will be representing the United States this coming weekend at the World University Games for Nordic Combined. The Purple Cows return to competition with their beloved cow skull “beEPH” and a solid fall of training in the Berkshires behind them. Coach Monsulick says that the new first-years Luci Ludwig, Francesca Kitch, Tzevi Schwartz, and Janne Koch have brought “great energy and excitement to the team this fall” and are sure to make a splash on the racing scene. The Ephs are looking forward to welcoming the league back to Prospect for the first Carnival there since 2018.
As the racers wax their skis and pack their bags for the first Carnival, ski rooms across the Northeast come alive with a nervous and excited energy. The athletes are ready, but to quote Dartmouth’s Coach Osgood, “Now we’d just like some more favorable skiing conditions!”
Striding up Screaming Mimi at the 2022 UVM Carnival (image courtesy of flyingpointroad.com).
Come support our EISA athletes this winter! Race Schedule
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