NCAA Championship Nordic Day 1
Women starting the 20 km classic at Regionals two weeks ago at Mt. Hoevenberg (photo courtesy of Ann Celi).
Mt. Van Hoevenberg yet again welcomed skiers to Lake Placid for the NCAA Championship. Taking place on the same course as the Regional Competition two weeks ago, EISA athletes were prepared and ready to tackle one of the hilliest racecourses on the east coast.
The men raced two laps to complete the 10 km skate while women raced one for the 5 km race. The conditions were the best the east coast has to offer, with firm tracks and temperatures remaining in the high 20’s throughout the day.
EISA put forth a formidable group of skiers, with John Steel Hagenbuch taking second place. Both Hagenbuch and Harvard’s Remí Drolet (7th) both earned the All-American title. Jacob Nystedt (11th), Scott Schulz (12th), Jack Lange, (15th) and Willson Moore (18th) all skied to Top-20 finishes.
All smiles: James and Francesca Kitch after the men's race at Lake Placid two weekends ago. (Photo courtesy of Ann Celi).
Wilson Moore, a senior from Middlebury, was proud of his performance on the course. “I’m happy,” he said after the event. “At this point in the season, all I’ve done is all I can do. So I just tried to ski hard and trust in my performance.”
Greg Burt, a senior at UVM was excited to be out racing despite how hard the course was. “The grooming was really nice,” he told me. “A lot of fresh snow which was a real treat.”
Jack Lange, a first-year at Dartmouth, was happy to be on the course giving it his all. “It was really hard out there,” he said, “but it was a lot of fun. It’s good to be back racing out there after a week off.”
Lange racing for Dartmouth (photo courtesy of flyingpoint.org).
Zach Nemeth, a junior at Colby, was happy that he had the chance to race the course at Regionals to prepare for the NCAA event. He was excited about the effort and about racing with his teammates. “We brought two guys this year and we haven’t had a guy go for a while so that’s huge!” he told me.
East-coast women skied fast today, with UNH junior Jasmine Lyons taking second place overall. Dartmouth first-year Ava Thurston placed 10th to claim All-American honors along with Lyons. Middlebury senior Charlotte Ogden (11th), Haley Brewster (13th), Emma Strack (15th), Luci Anderson (16th), and Shea Brams (19th) packed the Top-20 with EISA skiers.
Left to right: Luci Anderson, Jasmine Lyons, and Lea Stabaek Wenaas from UNH.
Lyons was all smiles after her effort. “My body felt really good and I’m really happy with my race,” she said. “It’s so fun racing on the East because all my teammates are out cheering.” Her teammate, Anderson, was cheerful but tired when we spoke. “It felt way harder than Regionals or any other races I’ve done here,” she told me. “With the competition I felt like I had to go out so fast and then I died a little at the end.”
Nina Seemann, a sophomore at Dartmouth, expressed a similar concern. “The stakes feel a lot higher now,” she said. “I want to make my team proud.” Seemann described the course as one of the hardest she’d ever skied on. Despite the difficult effort, she is happy to be racing with her teammates from the Big Green. “We have a really strong group and I’m super grateful for everyone who’s supporting us here,” she said, smiling.
Lange racing for Dartmouth Aggie Macy (left) and Jordan Grialou (right) skied for Bowdoin at the NCAA Regional Championships.
Aggie Macy, a junior at Bowdoin, was glad that she got to practice the course at Regionals. “It was really hard but it felt better than the last time we skied it two weeks ago,” she said. “It’s a pretty fun course and every time you ski it it’s a little less intimidating,” she told me, keeping a positive attitude. Bowdoin qualified two women this season to represent the Polar Bears at the NCAA Championship.
Ava Thurston, a first year from Dartmouth, told me this race was the hardest she’s skied yet this season. “I will say, the western girls are really, really strong,” she told me. “But I think it’s awesome that we’re able to host NCAA’s here and that there’s snow. It was a really great course and fun to have it in the East.” Thurston will surely be one to watch on Saturday’s 20 km classic event as the top NCAA qualifier in the classic technique this season.
The St. Lawrence team cheering for Emma Strack who placed 15th in today's race.
Saturday brings a 20 km classic for both men and women. Four laps of this course is no small feat. Luckily, the EISA athletes practiced this exact race at Regionals and will be ready to tackle the course this weekend. With one more race remaining in the 2023 season, Saturday is sure to be a fun final event.