By: Caleb Horsch
Burke, Vt. - After an unexpected hiatus, the EISA season resumed on Saturday with the Harvard Carnival hosted by Burke Mountain. As is typically the case at Burke, the snow was rock solid and provided a fantastic day of racing. Somewhat unexpectedly, the sun appeared, shining on the bottom section of the hill for the first run before creeping up to hit the entire hill.
ESPN covered the carnival with the race streaming on ESPN+, providing extra interest and pressure. Plenty of athletes rose to the occasion, eager to take the first step towards an NCAA qualification with a Top-10.
Justine Clement (University of Vermont) - Stephen R Cloutier
The men got the action underway as skiers attempted to fill the vacuum left by Mathias Tefre, who graduated last year. His teammate Declan McCormack carried the torch on run one, taking the lead all the way from bib 15. A duo of Dartmouth skiers were hot on his heels with Oliver Morgan and reigning EISA skier of the week Dan Gillis. A lower start than usual off the Burke D-Bar led to times close to 40 seconds and tight margins. The Top-10 was separated by a second on the men’s side, with the flip being just 2.10 seconds off the leader.
Despite the hard snow, the top of the field held its own against those from the back, with the notable exception of Lawton Jones from Saint Michael’s, who, from bib 63, moved well into the flip 30. Nine different teams were represented in the top 30, showing the competitive team dynamics on the men’s side.
The women were next, with the University of Vermont stamping their authority on the field. Allie Resnick from Dartmouth was notably absent from the race, opening the door to another racer. Justine Clement looked poised to fill the gap as she took the lead from bib 5. In second was Zoe Zimmermann from Dartmouth, and then three more girls from UVM in Hanna Larsson Nathhorst, Moa Clementson, and Cydnie Timmermann.
On the second run, the men faced a challenging, tighter set that forced them to bring the A-game. Tucker Strauch from Colby, 30th on the first run and pushing out of the gate first, laid down a blistering second run that would move him up to sixth place on the day. Matt Ryan from hosts Harvard skied a solid race to finish the day in tenth and lead the Crimson.
Tucker Strauch (Colby College) - Stephen R Cloutier
A mistake from Peder Nersnaes, second at the Colby carnival, put him out of the running, but his teammates stepped up. Racing in the Slalom leader bib was Isac Hedstroem, who moved up slightly on the second run to finish in seventh. Hunter Brayton, the graduate transfer from Dartmouth, skied to fifth, and Hayden Dahl finished on the podium in third.
Gillis, racing on his home hill, charged top to bottom, coming down in the lead and seeing off Morgan and McCormack to take the win and pull on the Slalom leader's bib. Simon Strand from Saint Michael’s moved up to second on the day, and Morgan rounded out the podium in third.
Dan Gillis (Dartmouth) - Stephen R Cloutier
The women’s course had plenty of combinations, keeping the ladies on their toes. However, the Top-5 was reshuffled but kept the same skiers. Clement dominated again to take the win, with Larsson Nathhorst finishing second and Zimmerman skiing to third.
The delayed GS will take place on Sunday with another day of action-packed racing on Training Hill. That race can be followed live at https://livetiming.usskiandsnowboard.org.