St. Mike's Carnival Nordic Day 1
Fresh snow marked the start of today’s sprint competition at the Rikert Outdoor Center. Hosted by St. Michael’s College, the first and only collegiate sprint race was an exciting start to the Carnival weekend.
Purple Knights Fan Squad at their home Carnival (photo courtesy of flyingpoint.org).
UVM took home the win today on the women’s side, winning only by after a nail-biting pass in final heat. Skiers Haley Brewster and Waverly Gebhardt edged out their competitors from Middlebury to claim first and second. “It got better each heat,” Gebhardt told me in the wax trailer. “It was a lot of fun out there and it makes it so much nicer to share the podium too.” Coming up the second-to-last hill, the two Catamounts were in the back of the pack. Brewster strategized that, “If I’m gonna do something, I gotta do it now.” Gebhardt followed up with what happened next: “I went on the far right, she went on the far left and we just found each other at the front. Then I was like all right, we’re doing it! Let’s go!”
Brewster and Gebhart (UVM) after their first and second place in the women's sprint final (photo courtesy of flyingpoint.org).
The Middlebury women made an impressive showing in the final heat, with three out of the six athletes skiing for the Panthers. Quincy Massey-Bierman (3rd), Charlotte Odgen (5th), and Shea Brams (6th) led the race until the last hill. “We went out a little hot and fast,” said Massey-Bierman regarding the beginning of the heat. “But we were excited to be here!” Massey-Bierman described her push to claim the podium spot in the finishing chute as a split-second decision. “I came around the corner and I saw a window of opportunity. I went way to the left, into the powder and said, I’m gonna take it!”
Massey-Bierman rounding the corner near the finish (photo courtesy of flyingpoint.org).
Coach Andrew Johnson is excited for his team. “There’s always a little extra excitement about racing at home,” he told me, “I think today they harnessed it really well.”
UNH placed third in today’s sprint, with Lea Stabeak Wenaas (4th) leading the way. Her teammates Lucinda Anderson (7th), and Alice House (21st) brought the Wildcats to the final place on the podium.
Stabeak Wenaas skiing for UNH (photo courtesy of flyingpoint.org).
At their home Carnival, the Purple Knights had two skiers qualify for the heats, Astrid Bakke (Fr.) and Izzy Quam (So.). Despite the venue change, St. Michael’s skiers, parents, and fans showed up with strong school spirit in snazzy purple tutus.
Astrid Bakke skiing for the Purple Knights (photo courtesy of flyingpoint.org).
Logan Moore skiing for Middlebury (photo courtesy of flyingpoint.org).
The Middlebury men claimed the sprint title this weekend, bringing back the win at their home venue. The team had four skiers in the semi-final, Sam Hodges (2nd), Jack Christner (4th), Wilson Moore (6th), and Logan Moore (9th), with Hodges and Christner advancing to the final. Coach Andrew Johnson is “pretty excited for these guys” and glad that they skied well today. I caught up with Sam after his cooldown. Out of breath but smiling, he described that his goal during the final heat was “just to stick with my friend Ben.” His mantra? Simple and elegant. “Go fast.”
Ogden seconds after crossing the finish line (photo courtesy of flyingpoint.org).
UVM took second today, with their top skier Ben Ogden winning the final heat. Ben’s teammates Jacob Nystedt (10th) and Petter Bakken (11th) rounded out their team for the podium spot. Ogden, calm and collected, described coming up the last hill of the sprint as “Deafeningly loud. Louder than any World Cup race I’ve done this year.” While watching the races today, I saw a BKL skier proudly touting a water-belt that Ben had signed, looking on with amazement as he crested the hill. Ogden’s humble presence on the circuit and love for the EISA is testament to our New England ski community and inspiring to us all.
UNH took third today, with skiers Scott Schulz (8th), Eli Gore (12th), and James Schneider (26th) as the top skiers for the Wildcats.
Durham surrounded by coaches, teammates, friends, and family after his monumental third place
(photo courtesy of flyingpoint.org).
Individually, the third spot on the podium was claimed by the Williams sophomore Keelan Durham. A standout race for Durham, he was smiling blissfully when I talked with him. “It was freaking awesome,” he said proudly. “I’m feeling really good. A lot of work was paying off today. It’s been a while since I’ve been on a podium.” This is the best result for an Eph since 2018, and the Williams team is excited to see what the season brings for Durham and the rest of the men’s team.
Tomorrow, the circuit returns to Rikert for the first classic race of the season. The 15 km mass start is sure to be exciting. See live timing here.