The sprint portion of the UNH Carnival began at 9:30 this morning as the mens teams began their first lap of the 1.6k course. The women followed the men after a brief interlude, forming the final teams for the upcoming three heats. Jackson, NH was 18º during the racing period and a picturesque winter wonderland. The very short loop had a steep incline at the beginning, then a downhill with a small uphill after it. The very end portion of the course was flat, allowing each of the athletes to really hone in on working the first hill with power. The qualifying skiers move on to compete in their assigned heats, the women have 4 heats after the initial sprint and the men have 5 following the first race. Each skier gave it their all on these sprints, showing that every tenth of a second matters.
UVM took the top three places, Bill Harmeyer (1st), Karl Schulz (2nd) and Matias Oevrum (3rd). Dartmouth skiers Callan Deline (4th) and Adam Glueck (6th) also performed well today, a noticeable improvement from their previous races this season. Middlebury skier Sam Wood (5th) pulled up a few places today along with Colby skier Will Solow (7th). Henry Harmeyer came in 10th place, saying "not using too much energy, but also trying to stay in it", and "trying to keep that balance"were things he wanted to keep in mind. Elliot Ketchell, racing for Bowdoin who earned 17th place today, mentioned he "was just hoping to make the heats," and stick with his goal of remaining close to some of the consistently faster skiers. He was thrilled to be in Bill Harmeyer's heat, who UVM coach noted he was excited to see race, as he is the best competition there is in the EISA!
Lydia Blanchet, Katharine Ogden, and Taryn Hunt-Smith repped Dartmouth, earning first, second and third place respectively. Dartmouth women raked in atotal of 141 points for the team! Also scoring in the top ten for Dartmouth were Lauren Jortberg (5th place) and Callie Young (10th place). Callie Young focused on "trying not to use all of her energy at the start, and saving a little for the finishing stretch" and discussing with teammate Adam Glueck to utilize the "slingshot" effect when drafting a skier in order to pass them effortlessly. Middlebury's Alexandra Lawson finished in 4th place and teammate Mae Chalmers in 11th. Colby athlete, Marin Coletta, stole 6th place from the three UVM women behind her, Margie Freed (7th), Jenny Pedersen (8th) and Lizzie Larkins (9th). UVM coach predicted Jenny Pedersen and Lizzie Larkins would perform well even though he spoke of today as the first real opportunity to really see how the UVM women can skate sprint.
Avery Ellis from Middlebury strategized the double-pole section of the start of the race, saying it is just as important to go out hard on the very start of the race as it is to make sure you have enough for the end sprint as well. The Harvard coach relayed some of the things the women said regarding the first race, noting the females said "wow that went by really quick" and "I felt like I was scrambling a little bit." Hannah Hardenbergh finished her first heat in 8th place, and "missed the senior rounds at Nationals by one tenth of a second," another reason why every second counts in these pesky sprints! Hannah Hardenbergh placed 13th over all today representing Harvard.
All EISA skiers put out an amazing effort today, even with such mentally and physically taxing sprint races. The apparent 21 inches of snow forecasted for tonight and tomorrow started to fall at around 3pm, giving the skiers just enough time to cool down and grab some homemade food from the various tents set up in the upper parking lot. The athletes have next weekend off for some well-deserved rest and healing.
See you at the UVM Carnival on February 1st and 2nd!