By: Caleb Horsch
Burke, Vt. - The rock-solid snow went nowhere on Sunday as racers battled again on the Burke Training Hill. The surface was as good as it gets and provided an excellent opportunity for racers across the field.
Hannah Soria (Colby) - Stephen R Cloutier
Hosts Harvard got the drill first and put down a fast, tight set requiring depth from top to bottom. Helene Kristoffersen from Saint Michael’s set the early pace, running with bib three. Her time looked sure to be the fastest on the run until Hannah Soria from Colby arced the top pitch in a way no other skier had to that point to take the lead by three-tenths. Jane Gutchess from Williams looked incredibly solid in her first run to finish in third; however, she was a distant seven-tenths behind Soria. Times were relatively tight behind Gutchess, with Hanna Larsson-Nathhorst (UVM) and Meagan Olsen (Colby) in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Hanna Larsson-Nathhorst (University of Vermont) - Stephen R Cloutier
As the women’s first run finished up, it was clear that the men would face some chatter. Despite the hard snow, some gates had developed bumps that would test the men’s field. Brad Underhill from Middlebury, wearing bib 1, benefited from the clean course but skied with precision top to bottom to lead the pack by half a second. Second place on the run was Nolan Sweeney from Colby was closely followed by Declan McCormack (UVM) and Bode Flanigan (BC), all within three-hundredths of a second of each other.
Brad Underhill (Middlebury) - Stephen R Cloutier
The bottom half of the challenge proved too much for four skiers in the top 15, opening the door for anyone in the field to take advantage of the hard snow. A few skiers did just that, with four skiers with bibs higher than 50 making the flip 30.
Middlebury got the opportunity to set on run two as Stever Bartlett delivered a rhythmic and flowy course. The women’s race was down to a battle between Kristoffersen and Soria, and they delivered an epic one. Kristoffersen was hunting for the win after a disappointing 13th at the Colby Carnival, and Soria was looking for her first collegiate win and her first podium. Ultimately, Soria’s skiing proved unbeatable as she extended her lead on Kristoffersen to win the day by half a second.
Larsson-Nathhorst rounded out the women’s podium after Gutchess slipped to fifth on the second run. Fourth place went to Olsen, who won the second run and finished just two-hundredths off the podium.
After a minor redress, the men wrapped up the Harvard Carnival. Given his advantage on the first run, the race was Underhill’s to lose, and he had no intention of doing so. He earned his first collegiate win, impressive after not even qualifying for NCAA Championships a year ago. McCormack earned a valuable second place for the Catamounts, and Flanigan gave Boston College its first podium in years with a third-place finish. The men’s top 5 were rounded out by two first years in Sweeney and Aiden Robin (Saint Michael’s).
Bode Flanigan (Boston College) - Stephen R Cloutier
On the team side, it was shockingly Colby in control as they won the women’s side ahead of the University of Vermont and finished second to Dartmouth on the men’s side. Combined with the Nordic teams, UVM was able to shake off the disappointment from the Colby Carnival to win the series. Dartmouth would have to settle for second place ahead of the Colby College Mules in third.
After her win, Soria commented, “I’m super happy about the result and putting two runs together, but, most importantly, I am so stoked for the whole women’s and men’s teams.” Her win was the first from a Colby skier since Mardi Haskell won the Middlebury Slalom in 2015.
The attention of the league now turns to Dartmouth as they prepare for two GS races starting on Thursday and a Slalom on Sunday.