The Dartmouth relay races began with the women's teams at 10 am with partly cloudy skies and 22º weather. Contrasting yesterday's balmy 45º temperatures, today actually felt like winter as a hat, gloves, and warm boots were necessary accessories to keep spectators comfortable when cheering. The relay races got everyone in a high energy mood to cheer on each racer as well as track their three person team's progress. Both the men and women raced two 2.5k loops for a total of 5k each and with three legs per relay team the total distance was 15k.
The women started off the relays with the first legs in a mass start line up. The UVM women's team earned first place with a total time of 48:07. The three UVM ladies on the first place team were Anna Bizyukova, Margie Freed then Lina Sutro as the anchor. Lina Sutro skied fastest for her team with a time of 15:42, teammates Bizyukova finished in 16:15 and Freed in 16:09 minutes. Freed capitalized on the "heightened energy aspects of relay races" as she wanted to "work for her team and not just for herself". And with the Dartmouth mens team on the course cheering it helped to maintain that high energy.
Second place team was from the home team, Dartmouth with skiers Lydia Blanchet (16:03), Taryn Hunt-Smith (16:19) and Lauren Jortberg (15:52) who finished with a combined time of 48:15. Third place team was also from Dartmouth just three seconds behind second place with racers Emily Hyde, Leah Brams and Katharine Ogden. Ogden skied the fastest of all the women today with an impressive time of 15:24. Fourth place went to another UVM team with Jenny Pedersen, Lizzie Larkins and Mackenzie Rizio. Top scoring MID team placed 5th because of hard work put in by Avery Ellis, Alexandra Lawson and Annika Landis with a total time of 49:48.
6th place was taken by BOW women Gabrielle Vandendries, Lily Johnston and Renae Anderson who finished the combined 15k in 50:07 mins. Vandendries noted "it is definitely more fun to ski with your team" which increases everyones mood to know they are racing together. She also mentioned she wanted "to stick with a good pack and stay as far up as possible, and once it spread out like it should have I felt like I had a good place." Even though the mass start today was not nearly the usual 90 women starting together, mass starts can still be tricky as there is always the possibility to break a pole, pole strap, ski, ski binding or any other expensive piece of racing equipment.
The mens relay races also had a UVM team finish in first place. Ben Ogden, Ian Moore, and Matias Oevrum worked a combined effort to finish with a total time of 41:54. Ogden had an astounding final time of 13:33, and teammates Moore (14:03) and Oevrum (14:18) were right behind him. Moore knew that Ogden was tired from World Juniors so the pressure was on for him and Oevrum, but "it was just a blast." He added that "having those boys out there and to get top 9, a goal since I arrived at UVM, was pretty inspirational." The podium was entirely UVM men today; the second place team was Bill Harmeyer, Greg Burt, and Juri Miosga (total 42:16) and third place team Finn O'Connell, Karl Schulz, and Henry Harmeyer (total 42:24).
Antione Blais (14:08.7), Julien Lamoureux (14:08.3)and Antoine Hebert (14:31) earned 4th place for Laval with a combined tine of 42:48. Blais mentioned it was their goal to make top five, and the amount of people cheering were a huge part the racing atmosphere. He appreciated the shorter course because it allowed people to be everyone along the course, not just where they could walk to quickly.
5th place team was MID skiers Peter Wolter, Lewis Nottonson and Sam Wood whose sum time was 42:53. 6th place went to BOW, and both 7th and 8th place were taken by Williams.
Following the Awards Ceremony the annual Carni Crush event took place next to the finish line. Teams dressed up in pink, sparkles, and tutus to celebrate the exciting reciprocal Valentine-esque affair. Some teams read poems, others sang songs and danced, and some experienced a scavenger hunt to find their mates. This is just another fun aspect of EISA nordic ski racing, not to mention the loads of chocolate handed out! Amazing job to everyone who raced and performed their Carni Crush performances, on to the Bates Carnival!