A sub-zero morning postponed the starts today, but at noon St. Michael’s Carnival kicked off with the men’s 10km freestyle. The frigidity persisted, though, and the line of EISA skiers waiting their turn ahead of the individual starts were bobbing and swaying out of anticipation and cold-induced necessity.
As the Nordic men and women of the EISA skated the most visible uphill and downhill segments of the 10k, much of the crowd chatter was focused on the revamped course. Once finished, the competitor’s chatter, too. The climbs were tough, the loop around the pine tree past the spectators was a nice touch (added to meet homologation specs for climbing), the downhills were technical, and it’s a great course to be a spectator, were all overheard between the cheers and cowbells.
Though the newly homologated course was definitely on display, the real stars of the day were, of course, the skiers. Scroll to the bottom for a link to the full results lists but read on for a continued recap today’s races.
The fastest around the St. Michael’s 10km loop today were Dartmouth’s Jasmine Drolet, for the women, and UVM’s Matias Oevrum, for the men. Drolet finished with a time of 27:08.3 to edge past another Jasmine, UNH’s Jasmine Lyons. Oevrum finished Sleepy Hollow's 10km course in 23:45.2. This victory comes a week after his second-place finish at the Colby 20km mass start freestyle.
The catamount’s winning time was followed by UNH’s Scott Schulz. A second today for Schulz is a strong improvement for the sophomore, up from his seventh place finish at the 20km. UVM put in another strong overall performance today, placing five male skiers in the top ten, and six in the top twenty. UVM’s women also did well, placing two skiers in the top five, though only senior Anna Bizyukova could crack the podium, finishing third in 27:36.4.
The catamounts leave the day leading in team score, across Nordic and Alpine, with a total of 455. Dartmouth, Middlebury, UNH, and Colby complete the top five. The home squad's 287 points place them in sixth.
Today was also a great day for the sixth place squad, and not only because the school got to show off its fancy new home trails. This carnival is the first St. Michael’s has hosted in many years – at least since this crop of seniors has been at the school – and the purple knights put on a good performance for their homecoming.
On their way to support the women, after their race was finished, SMC seniors Will Meehan, Gaelan Boyle-Wight, and John Cunningham spoke about the upgraded course, the good day out for SMC, and their first home carnival.
Like many of Sleepy Hollow’s visitors, the SMC seniors all spoke about their home course's difficult climbs. Cunningham noted that after a downhill start, the course immediately turns uphill for about 3km, a grueling stretch of trail. Cunningham said he also overheard some talk about the course, too. Visiting skiers and parents alike seemed impressed. “Yeah, it went really well. And we’ve been hearing a lot of good feedback from the racers, so that’s good too,” said Cunningham.
The SMC seniors also said that tomorrow's race might even be a better format to ski the course. A shorter classic race means you can really attack the climbs in a way you can't across a 10km race.
They also noted the purple knights' top finishers – the younger – and with pride. Charles Martell, a freshman at SMC, snuck into the top twenty. His time: 25:25.7. Martell had a few promising finishes before the carnival circuit started, and head coach Molly Peters previously said she was excited to see how Martell would place this EISA carnival season. A few places ahead, finishing at 15, was Declan Hutchinson, another SMC freshman. He finished as the fastest St. Michael’s skier, skiing the 10km in 25:08.6. The fastest purple knight in the women’s race was sophomore Grace Castonguay, who finished at 47 with a time of 31:37.6.
All said, a good Friday at Sleepy Hollow. A first home carnival in a while for SMC and a new crop of fast young skiers. Some of the seniors recorded good personal races too, like Meehan, who says he had his best EISA placing at his first home carnival. “We had a great showing today,” said Meehan. “Saint Mike’s is on the rise!”
We're back tomorrow with a classic 5k. Hopefully we'll see some vicious classic climbs. Stay tuned.