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  • Caleb Horsch

One Last Charge: Midd GS

Updated: Feb 26

By: Caleb Horsch

Middlebury, Vt. - The regular season wrapped up on Saturday with a frigid day of racing at Middlebury. An electric crowd was on hand to cheer on the home Panthers, providing an extra layer of excitement. The season's last race is always special, with many skiers making their final collegiate starts and others eager to lock in an NCAA Championships spot. 

View from the finish

A straight first-run set proved challenging in its own right, as some gave the course too much respect. Still, some were aggressive and able to take advantage. Amongst them was Olivia Holm (Dartmouth), a senior racing in her last regular season race. She used bib one to deliver the fastest time of the morning, narrowly ahead of a trio of Swedish UVM racers. 

Well after the top 30 had gone, a shocking run from Linn Liedholm (UVM) rocketed her from bib 50 all the way to 4th place. The finish was indicative of the move-ups athletes were making. Six other racers with bibs tiger than 46 made the flip 30, using the stellar surface to make the moves.

Declan McCormack (UVM), hot off his victory in the Slalom, delivered a quick first run to take advantage of just over two-tenths into the second run. Behind McCormack was his teammate Kyle Alexander, who had raced in only two carnivals this season but was second in one of them. In third was Middlebury's own Brad Underhill. With a straight and short course, margins were incredibly close, particularly in the men's first run. 10th to 30th place was separated by only a second, and the top 60 were within three seconds of the leader.

Olivia Holm (Dartmouth) - Stephen R Cloutier

A more technical second run set from hosts Middlebury brought speeds down and forced athletes to work for speed across the lower half of the challenge. As inspection wrapped up, a long line of Middlebury students were seen trudging up the icy slope to the famous Roost to cheer on the home team. They were rowdy and loud, eager to let the Panthers and opposing schools hear them. The second run began as the crowd continued to grow. Mika-Anne Reha, benefiting from her classmates' enthusiasm, moved up nine positions on the second run to finish in fourth. Larsson-Nathhorst moved back to third but still got her fifth podium of the season, and Ella Renzoni (UVM) moved up from eleventh to second for her best result of the season.

Like Reha, Underhill had something to prove on his home hill. He attacked coming onto the flats and came down in the lead, guaranteeing himself a podium. He saw off Alexander, who slipped to fourth and had made up time on McCormack at the interval, but McCormack had some extra fire, and he skied a dominant bottom section to snatch the win. 

McCormack, who finished the season as the points leader in Giant Slalom, had four wins in the event plus two more in Slalom. The students in attendance made it exciting for McCormack: "Having Midd students scale the slope and fill the finish area is special. It's the only venue that has that tradition. I hope it continues."

Declan McCormack (University of Vermont) - Stephen R Cloutier

On the team side, UVM cruised to another carnival victory, and the Catamounts won all but one carnival this season. Dartmouth sat in the familiar second-place position, and hosts Middlebury finished in third.

The last race of the season brought celebrations for many and moments of reflection as long careers came to a close. For the women's winner, Holm, the emotions helped her finish a chapter on a high note, "it was my last regular season collegiate race, meaning that I truly felt that I had nothing to lose. To handle the distractions I focused on keeping it simple. My goal was to make good turns and enjoy the day, and I wanted to be proud of the skiing I put down." 

The NCAA Qualifying race has finished, and UVM, UNH, and Dartmouth will all qualify a full team of three men and three women for racing at Steamboat and Howelsen in two weeks. Middlebury, Colby, Saint Michael's, Bates, Harvard, Plymouth State and Williams have also qualified at least one racer. For Bates and Williams, it is their first qualifier in the post-pandemic era, while Colby will bring its largest team since 2015.


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