And so the EISA season comes to an end at the Bates Carnival in Rumford, Maine at Black Mountain. Today's competition required brute mental and physical strength in order to push through the women's mass start 15k and the men's 20k classic races on the 5k course which featured the notorious High School Hill. Kudos to all of the participants who competed for NCAA spots for the upcoming NCAA Championships in the second week of March, and those who raced to top off their 2019 EISA season! Today was gorgeous as the sun shined down on the beautifully groomed classic tracks, with a high temperature of 32º which made the men's race challenging to decide which kick wax use when straddling freezing temps. This was the last race for many graduating seniors so everyone gave it their all for the last race of the season and for some the last race of their college careers!
The women commenced the races and ended the season at 10 am as they began the 15k classic adventure with three laps of the course. Katharine Ogden reigned in another first place finish in 42:48 and gave a huge shout out to the Dartmouth wax-techs. Ogden said what kept her motivated and calm to maintain her minute lead was "mostly just thinking about how awesome her skis were."
A minute after Ogden, Lauren Jortberg finished 2nd in 43:55 also for Dartmouth. UVM skier Anna Bizyukova (3rd) crossed the line less than a second after Jortberg with her teammates Margie Freed and Lina Sutro in fourth and fifth. Next to finish was senior at Dartmouth Lydia Blanchet who completed the 15k in 44:46! Renae Anderson represented Bowdoin in 7th place with Annika Landis (MID) 5 seconds behind her. Leah Brams (9th) and Taryn Hunt-Smith (10th) rounded off the top ten in their green Dartmouth suits in 46:10 and 46:15 respectively.
Ingrid Thyr lead the Williams women as she finished in 14th place. Thyr, a junior, said that she didn't do her best in the freestyle race yesterday but knowing it was the last race of the season she really wanted "to leave it all out there today." Being the first to cross the finish line for your team is an honor most have to fight for, and Thyr worked hard to beat her talented teammates Magdalen York (23rd) and Sonya Jampel (33rd).
Other top placers for their teams were Kaelyn Woods (BAT, 13th), Nina Armstrong (HAR, 19th), Kaja Sandsten (UNH, 20th), Claire Waichler (CBC, 21st), Stephanie Nichols (SLU, 28th), and Amy Duclos (SMC, 56th).
The men's 20k race began at 12 pm with the mass start, resulting in a few broken poles, several skiers taking a tumble, and one broken binding! Despite the cluster-mess of the mass start, UVM skier Bill Harmeyer earned first place again this weekend in an impressive time of 52:49. Teammate Ben Ogden crossed the finish line one second after Harmeyer, making him 2nd on the podium.
Dartmouth skier Callan Deline broke up the UVM lead pack, finishing in 3rd place just 2 seconds behind first place. Deline "knew it was going to stay together for the first two laps" so he "just sat in was patient" for the first 10k. Deline noted the 20k somehow "goes really quick, so making your move and being tough and making the best of your skis" was what he focused on throughout the endurance race.
Finn O'Connell (UVM) came in fourth with Middlebury athlete Sam Wood just 6 seconds behind him. Ian Moore, the fourth UVM skier in the top ten, completed the 20k in 53:21. Colby racer Zane Fields earned 7th place, only 3 seconds after Moore. Two seconds after was Middlebury skier Lewis Nottonson in 8th with teammate Sam Hodges .3 seconds behind! Hodges was the third MID athlete in the top ten, however, James Kitch (10th) was also .3 seconds behind representing Harvard.
Kitch admitted the first lap "was a huge mess" partly because this race qualifies skiers for NCAA, there was a mass start, and many men end up stepping on other's skis in efforts to solidify their spot for the first lap. He also noted it was important to remain calm and remember it "was a 20k, with a lot of laps ahead of you. Especially in a mass start the more you can stay relaxed the better you will do." His advice would be "to find a rhythm and try to settle into that" in tough endurance races like these.
Peter Wolter skied fast for Middlebury and ended up in 11th as well as Isaac Freitas-Eagan in 12th and first for Williams. Also scoring first for their teams were Elliot Ketchell (BOW, 16th), Will Bodewes (UNH, 17th), Brian Beyerbach (SLU, 34th), Henry Raff (BAT, 35th), and Mitch McDonald (SMC, 50th).
Amazing job to every single EISA racer this year for putting in hard work in the preseason and seeing it pay off in the 2019 season! Another shout out to all of the friends, fans, family, spectators, coaches and wax-techs for supporting such hard working individuals and also going to every extent to make sure each skier was comfortable and prepared to kill it each race. THANK YOU for such an amazing season and congratulations to everyone involved with EISA for completing another season so smoothly. See you next year!!