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  • Writer's pictureQuincy Massey-Bierman

Williams Winter Wonderland (Nordic Day 2)

If there was a blanket of snow on the ground yesterday, today it was a down comforter. Something was in the air, and it was more than just snowflakes. Excitement rippled over Prospect Nordic Center for the Freestyle Relay. This once-a-year phenomenon produces some of the most heated racing in the EISA season. Relays do not qualify skiers for NCAA Championships but provide a rare opportunity for competitors to race for their teammates, rather than just with them. The EISA boasts some of the strongest intra and inter-team bonds in Nordic skiing. That aspect of this individual sport was on full display today. Each skier raced two laps of a 2.5k course before tagging off to their teammates.


Henry Johnstone (Williams) and Sam Murray (Middlebury) charge up the hill during the Men's Relay (photo courtesy Dave Brams).


WOMEN

Luci Anderson bringing the Wildcats to victory on Saturday (photo courtesy Dave Brams).

The course was soft from all the fresh snow but the women plowed through it with no problem. The first leg was pretty tight to start with a lead pack of Hattie Barker (UNH), Annie McColgan (UVM), Maggie Wagner (MID), and Jori Grialou (BOW) forming in the second lap. Barker tagged off in front to UNH teammate Lea Stabaek Wenaas. The next three teams quickly followed. Shea Brams closed the gap for Middlebury and passed Wenaas at the very end of the leg. These two skiers had a twenty-second lead over UVM and Bowdoin at the handoff. Fifth-year UNH skier Luci Anderson flexed her experience on the circuit and took a commanding lead during the final leg. UNH finished 45 seconds ahead of the next team. The battle for second place was much tighter. Sofia Scirica (MID) and Marielle Ackermann (UVM) charged up the last hill and down to the finish. Middlebury finished second and kept a four-second lead over third-place UVM. Bowdoin and Dartmouth were fourth and fifth.


Libby Tuttle competing for the UVM Catamounts during the Women's Relay (photo courtesy Dave Brams).


MEN

Keelan Durham from host Williams took an early lead in the Men's relay race but was caught by Cam Wolfe (DAR), Jack Christner (MID), Zach Ennis (BOW), Roger Anderson (UNH), and Owen Young (UVM) by the first tag off. Bjorn Westervelt then took off for the UVM Catamounts, forming an eight-second lead over Dartmouth's Cooper Camp and Middlebury's Mason Wheeler. At this point the snow flurries became constant, and skiers battled through loose conditions. As they came into the stadium for the final hill, Jack Lange (DAR) and Logan Moore (MID) had broken away from Finn Sweet (UVM). Dartmouth held the lead to produce a seven-second margin of victory over Middlebury. UVM secured an unchallenged third place to round out the podium. UNH and Bowdoin followed in fourth and fifth place.


Jack Lange powering through the blizzard on his way to gold for Dartmouth. Logan Moore of Middlebury chases him down (photo courtesy Dave Brams).


When polled about the day, skiers reported it was:

  • "Awesome" x2

  • "So fun"

  • "Extraordinary"

  • "Excellent"

  • "Amazing"

  • "Super fun"

  • "Very snowy"

  • "So hard, but we skied for each other!"


The atmosphere was filled with fun and more team pride than ever. "It's less of a dog-eat-dog world out there," said third-place UVM team member Annie McColgan, "It's not every man for themself, it's all for one and one for all (as The Three Musketeers would say)". The relays were an entertaining and competitive end to the Williams Carnival.


The sun came out just in time for the relay podiums! (photos courtesy Dave Brams)


Next week brings Regionals hosted by Middlebury, the last EISA Carnival of the 2024 season. Time flies when you're having fun!

 

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