The Middlebury Carnival began with the men's 15k race, with three 5k loops, then followed by the women's 10k, made up of just two 5k loops. The course was covered with snow despite the above freezing temps, however teams struggled to decide which pair of skis and which wax to use. The UVM teams utilized zero skis, which maximizes both kick and speedy downhills, but not everyone owns a pair of zeros! Those who did not have a pair of zeros persevered through the challenging conditions and kicked as much as they could.
The men's 15k was lead by Dartmouth skier Callan Deline, however, Sam Wood (MID) made his move and slid into first place with a time of 39:16. Wood was excited about his victory today, noting he felt Middlebury had "competitive skis" today with perfect wax for the 35º weather. Wood has performed well this season and took advantage of skiing on his home course and knowing "how to ski the downhills really well and how to take on the transitions." Not to mention the feeling of being at home, as Wood mentioned, adds to the energetic atmosphere! Callan Deline came in second place today seconds behind Wood, with another Middlebury skier, Lewis Nottonson, behind him in third place. Peter Wolter earned fourth place representing Middlebury as well, and James Kitch skied well for Harvard and came in 5th place. Braden Becker from Williams College worked hard for 6th place with a time of 40:00. UVM skiers Finn O'Connell and Karl Schulz earned 7th and 8th place only 2 seconds apart from each other. Williams men Isaac Freitas-Eagen earned 9th place with teammates Jack Consenstein right behind him in 10th.
The women's race consisted of two 5k loops as the temperatures slowly rose to 39º. Katharine Ogden (DAR) earned another gold medal with a time of 29:15, Margie Freed (UVM) was right behind her as closed the finish line in second place. UVM teammate Lina Sutro placed top ten another time this season with a time of 29:45. In fourth place was Lydia Blanchet from Dartmouth and 6 seconds behind her was home skier Annika Landis of Middlebury. UVM skier Jenny Pedersen came in 6th place on her zero skis. Pedersen was very thankful for her well-waxed zero skis, which helped her move up from starting in the back of the mass start. Even though Pedersen noted she was "so tired on the second lap" she "somehow pulled through to get up to the top group of girls." Pedersen said "the zeros were definitely the move today," which was reflected in the 4 UVM girls who made top ten today. Leah Brams came in 7th place, with DAR teammate Lauren Jortberg one second behind her in 8th. Mackenzie Rizio (UVM)earned 9th place and Mae Chalmers (MID) came in 10th. Also skiing well was Renae Anderson for Bowdoin, who noted she figured out to kick the snow icing up in her skis off as she "basically ran up the hills." Anderson said she "had to just trust the skis even though there were weird conditions" and finished in 12th place, 8 seconds behind Middlebury skier Alexandra Lawson.
Kudos to the skier who prevailed despite the difficult conditions for longer distance classic races, and thank you to all the spectators and volunteers for making yet another Carnival race go so smoothly. Let's see how the short races go tomorrow!