Welcome back EISA Nordic fans! After a brief one-week hiatus, racing resumed at the 2024 Harvard Carnival. The circuit convened in Craftsbury, VT, for the second time this year to ski a 15k Classic Mass Start. The day's weather was calmer than last time, bringing relatively mild temperatures and no actively falling precipitation. Skiers tackled a hilly 3.75km course, similar to the usual 5k race course, but with a considerable amount of the flatter sections cut out.
Harvard's Remi Drolet, fresh off a robust victory at his home Carnival (photo courtesy flyingpointroad.com).
Despite the Craftsbury Outdoor Center being located some 200 miles away from Cambridge, members of the Crimson were stoked to be racing at their home carnival. Harvard skier Tali Wong commented, "it's just really awesome to have some Harvard staff, a lot of parents, and fans out here. It's really special to be here as a team". Her teammate Quincy Donley agreed that it was "really fun to have all the Harvard energy" and felt lucky they could host a carnival. She said it was fun to race at Craftsbury and since it "is our fourth time racing here this year, it's starting to feel like our home course!"
Roger Anderson (left) and Jack Christner (right) compete in the Harvard Carnival.
UNH is carrying the mullet game of the EISA this year (photo courtesy flyingpointroad.com).
A rather large lead pack remained at the end of the first 3.75km lap, led by Luci Anderson (UNH). The rest of the field spread quickly as they traversed the infamous climb Screamin' Mimi. During the third lap, a group began to pull away which included Shea Brams (MID), Emma Reeder (DAR), Annie McColgan (UVM), and Emma Crum (BOW). Brams soon pulled away and held a defiant lead for the remainder of the race to land in the top spot. "I just went for it," she said, and once she went there was no turning back. McColgan agreed that sticking to your guns is necessary when making a move like that. No firearms were present but it sure was explosive to watch! "Shea made a move, then I kinda just decided to go for it and see what happened!" stated Emma Reeder, who was second, 33 seconds behind Brams. A large number of Dartmouth skiers are abroad for the World U23/Junior Championships in Planica, Slovenia. Reeder says her team decided that they "were gonna show up" today to prove to the EISA how deep the Big Green runs. Reeder was followed by Bowdoin sophomore Emma Crum in third position. It sure seemed to be the Day of the Emma's, with five skiers named Emma in the top 30 (Emma Reeder 2nd, Emma Crum 3rd, Emma Strack 12th, Emma Charles 16th, Emma Barsness 20th, and Emma Page 26th). Crum gave a shoutout to her team and said "it felt fantastic" to bring glory to the Polar Bears today. She liked the four-lap course as it gave her a better way of mentally breaking up the race.
Women's podium on the first day of the Harvard Carnival. From left to right: Emma Reeder (2nd), Shea Brams (1st), and Emma Crum (3rd) (photo courtesy flyingpointroad.com).
Going into the race the EISA wondered who would take the lead spot - would it be Remi Drolet or Finn Sweet (our 2nd and 3rd place finishers from last week)? Or would someone new charge into the pack? The Men's race stayed tight for the first lap, which made for exciting spectating but unfortunately also a crash. Coming through the second lap, St. Mikes skier Henrik Wist pulled into the lead. He could not hold it however and the pack soon reabsorbed him. At the beginning of the third lap, much like the women's race, a leader began pulling away, and this time it stuck. Remi Drolet of host team Harvard took off, absolutely dropping the rest of the field and finishing with a powerful lead of 45 seconds. Drolet was super excited about his race and out "of all the carnivals this is the one" he wanted to do well in, and was "happy to come away with the win". Expecting the long hills he planned to conserve as much energy as possible for the first couple of laps and then make his move. A chase pack of four then fought for the remaining podium spots, Finn Sweet securing second place and Zach Ennis third. Notably missing this week is John Steel Hagenbuch (who, before leaving for Europe, won all four carnival races in 2024). Sweet said it was "a good fight out there" and that when "there's a bunch of guys missing it gives an opportunity for a lot of other people to get to the front of the race". Ennis, on earning a podium spot, said he had hoped for it but was not expecting to do so well today. It "feels pretty good," he noted, "not really real to be honest."
Men's podium on the first day of the Harvard Carnival. From left to right: Finn Sweet (2nd), Remi Drolet (1st), and Zach Ennis (3rd) (photo courtesy flyingpointroad.com).
Today also answers a question everyone has been dying to know: What do our lead skiers listen to to get hyped for races? Below you will find their secrets to success!
Remi Drolet/Harvard: "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" - Dropkick Murphys
Finn Sweet/UVM: Norwegian russemusikk, some Ballinciaga
Zach Ennis/Bowdoin: No music. Get's "too hyped" if he listens to stuff. Interesting play.
Shea Brams/Middlebury: "Miss You - Sped Up Version" - Oliver Tree, sped up nightcore
Emma Reeder/Dartmouth: "Pink Friday Girls" - Nicki Minaj, "My Barn My Rules" - MCR-T, horsegiirL
Emma Crum/Bowdoin: Soundcloud mixes such as "dropsonly" and "Coach Choate is Goat" (committed to memory and recited before competing)
UVM currently leads the team Nordic scores with 211 points, followed closely by UNH with 194. Somewhat unexpectedly, Bowdoin currently sits in third following a great day of racing by the Polar Bears. Along with two podiums the rest of the team stepped up today (Men's team in 4th and Women's in 2nd). Coach Nathan Alsobrook was excited for his team and expressed that getting two podiums on "the same day is pretty amazing, this is a happy day for us!". He knows seeing fellow teammates excel will stir up the rest of his team to believe that "some next level is possible for all of us, just to know that (podiums are) something one of our skiers is capable of makes it easier for everyone to dream big!". Another group sure to have big dreams is Colby, whose Men's team won today led by Jack Young and Zach Nemeth in 5th and 6th. Colby currently sits in 4th place overall for Nordic. Maine schools are not here to play this weekend, watch out!
Some smiling faces this weekend at the Harvard Carnival (photo courtesy flyingpointroad.com).
Laura Appleby, a Senior on the Harvard team, raced for the first time today since suffering an ACL tear. She was excited to compete in her home carnival and left the day with some inspiring words for us all in the face of adversity: "You know, the haters will always be there but you've got to overcome them. That's happening tomorrow."