Yesterday, milling about near the metal barriers between the crowd and the finish area, two Middlebury students remarked that they had never seen a Nordic race. One of the alpine skiers who filled the stadium area piped up "wait for tomorrow. Mass starts are even cooler."
It was certainly a captivating one at the Rikert Nordic Center today, where things shook up and things also stayed the same. The men's podium remained relatively similar for today's freestyle skate, but the women's podium ended up colored a different shade of green.
The women raced first, a 15k through the Breadloaf Wilderness. The men took off later, at 11:30, for their 20k mass start.
After two broken poles in two races at Dartmouth, UVM's Jacob Nystedt made it two wins in two races today at The Tormondsen Family Racecourse. Yesterday, in the 10k classic, Nystedt locked in to win his first ever EISA race. Not satisfied with the lone first, Nystedt's 51:56.7 secured back-to-back wins for the sophomore from Sweden.
UNH's Scott Schulz finished in second place this time. Schulz has had a strong year so far, a winter filled with podium and near podium finishes. Just under eight seconds separated Schulz and Nystedt's times. Behind Schulz, Peter Wolter remained on the podium for his last ever home carnival race. The senior captain for the panthers added a third to his second place from yesterday, with a time of 52:28.5. He has finished on the podium in five straight EISA races.
Elliot Ketchel, the third place finisher from yesterday, had another strong race despite being unable to crack the top three. The Bowdoin skier finish in fifth, a minute back from Wolter's third place time.
On the women's side, the catamounts were displaced by Big Green skiers and unable to make it successive sweeps. Margaret Gellert, from Dartmouth, finished first, with a time of 46:20.5. It is Gellert's first EISA win this year, and an emphatic one. Gellert put almost fifteen seconds between her and runner up Haley Brewster. Brewster, a UVM freshman from Colorado, raced to a time of 46:35.0 and added some catamount consistency to the women's podium.
Another racer in a familiar shade of green finished close behind Brewster. Garvee Tobin's time today was under a second longer than Brewster's – 46:35.8. For Tobin, a sophomore for Dartmouth from Alaska, this is her second podium this season. The first was back in January at Colby Carnival, a third place in another long freestyle skate.
Tobin completed a women's podium entirely different from yesterday's, Anna Bizyukova the most notable absence. Until now, Bizyukova has finished on the podium in every one of her races.
UVM leave the day on top of the teams scores. An enormous 514 is their point total. The hosts finish in second, with 395 points, just beating out Dartmouth's 384. The Bowdoin team had a relatively strong showing. They accumulated 332 points, just one more than fifth place UNH.
That's it for this weekend for the Nordic races. We'll be back in five days with a last course spotlight and the final EISA carnival of winter 2022. The carnival fun this weekend, though, continues with the alpine races, so stay tuned for race recaps and updates from Middlebury Snow Bowl!