UVM out for blood, surges to 118 point lead at Dartmouth Carnival
One thing is certain: don't mess with a Catamount. Vermont returned to the EISA circuit with a roster not yet at full strength and still handily commanded the opening day (Feb. 10) of the Dartmouth Carnival. UVM currently has a 118 point lead over its nearest competitor, the Big Green. Dartmouth and Middlebury sit neck and neck with 382 and 379 points, respectively.
Nordic races were relocated to the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt. as a result of unfavorable snow conditions in Hanover, N.H. In the women's 5k freestyle event, podium regular Sophie Caldwell of Dartmouth claimed the win with UVM's Caitlin Patterson and Lucy Garrec hot on her tail in second and third. The men's 10k saw Middlebury phenom Patrick Johnson back on the top step, joined by two other Panther teammates, Ben Lustgarten and Chase Marston, in the top 10. Dartmouth's Sam Tarling took a fall when a squirrel errantly crossed his path, but he was able to recover for second place. (The squirrel, however, suffered a much worse fate.) Vermont's Alexander Howe was third. In overall scoring, a mere 4 points separated the first and third place teams in the men's race.
The giant slalom races were contested as originally planned at the Dartmouth Skiway. The UVM women's alpine team was still short Elli Terwiel who is scheduled to compete in tomorrow's (Feb. 11) World Cup race in Andorra and Kristina Riis-Johannessen who expects to return from injury imminently. Catamount Kate Ryley nabbed the win and teammate Elise Tefre was fifth. After her second run, Ryley commented, "I just wanted to nail the pitch and let my skis run more. I was holding back a little on the first run, so I decided to tuck as much as I could." Harvard's Rebecca Nadler finished second and Geordie Lonza of Williams was third.
The men's giant slalom podium was a full sweep for Vermont. Jonathan Nordbotten returned from the World Cup and NorAm circuits to claim the win. Rookie Bobby Farrell was back on the podium in second, and Sean Higgins was third. After his win, Norbotten remarked, "It was nice to get the experience on the higher level, especially the World Cup, though it's tough to get training when you travel a lot. It's definitely given me confidence. The course [today] was straight. It should be easy to go straight on skis, but sometimes that's hard for me because I like turns." Nordbotten is certainly a force to be reckoned with in tomorrow's slalom race.
The alpine slalom and nordic classic races of the Dartmouth Carnival will be contested tomorrow (Feb. 11).
Team scores at the conclusion of Day 1 of the Dartmouth Carnival:
Vermont - 500
Dartmouth - 382
Middlebury - 379
New Hampshire - 345
Bates - 262
Williams - 262
Colby - 229
St. Lawrence - 207
Harvard - 205
St. Michael's - 156
Colby-Sawyer - 78
Universite' Laval -75
Bowdoin - 75
Plymouth State - 58
Boston College - 17
Photo of UVM's Jonathan Nordbotten by Cory Ransom