UNH Carnival day one recap: two green podiums
The EISA may have been at the White Mountains this weekend, but the top podiums for each freestyle race today were green. At Jackson, the league skied fast on a forgiving racecourse, an Olympian returned to the fold after a winter away, and familiar faces finished at the top.
Both races today were freestyle mass start races around Jackson XC’s homologated trails. The women raced 15km, while the men's race covered 20km.
Margaret Gellert, fresh off a 15km freestyle win at Middlebury, won her second race in a row, finishing with a time of 44:07.6. The long-distance freestyle skates seem favorable to the Dartmouth racer. She also finished just outside the top three opening weekend at Colby in the 20km freestyle race.
Just behind Gellert, Anna Bizyukova returned to the podium after a very brief period away. The UVM skier completed the course in 44:13.6. The second race last weekend was the first race Bizyukova finished outside of the top three. A second today returns the graduate student back to standard form. Bizyukova was followed closely by Waverly Gebhardt, another catamount and the first EISA women’s skier of the week. Gebhardt finished less than a second behind Bizyukova. Her time: 44:14.4.
Lisa Nystedt was the women’s top finisher for the home squad, her time of 44:17.0 good for fifth place today.
The men’s race shaped up as you might expect. Ben Ogden, freshly returned from Beijing where he placed 42 in the 15km freestyle, won the men’s 20km freestyle mass start today with a time of 51:23.6. Ogden last raced in the EISA at Colby Carnival in January, which earned him a first place in the 20km freestyle race and skier of the week.
Second after Ogden, and the first men’s finisher for the home squad, was Scott Schulz. Schulz, whose time was 52:00.7, is a sophomore for the wildcats and he finished second last weekend, as well, in the 20km freestyle at Middlebury Carnival. Schulz’s winter has been full of podium finishes, and he will surely hope to finish strong on the last day of the EISA carnival season, the second day of his home carnival.
Third, Jacob Nystedt follows last weekend’s first ever EISA win (then a immediate second ever EISA win) with another podium finish. The UVM skier’s time: 52:14.3.
UVM leaves today on top of the team rankings, with 476 points. A consistent and strong showing on the Nordic side was followed by good races on the alpine side. The catamounts put a lot of distance between them and second place Dartmouth, who finish the day on 391 points. The home team sits comfortably in third, with 384.
Tomorrow, we’ll be back in Jackson for the final award ceremony of the EISA carnival season before the league’s top racers head to NCAA nationals.