Carter wins slalom, Williams in second at home carnival
The Williams Carnival got off to an unusual start today (Feb. 17) with the cancellation of the first day of Nordic races due to a lack of snow and a schedule swap in the alpine events due to unfavorable racing conditions. At the conclusion of the slalom races, Dartmouth is in the lead with 191 points followed by host Williams in second and Vermont in third. Thirty-two points separate the three leading teams heading into tomorrow's giant slalom and classic races.
In the men's race, Vermont handily swept the podium and applauded veteran Sean Higgins who secured his first win of the season and first FIS victory of his career. Higgins commented that the conditions required specific skill, "Conditions were challenging for the guys in the soft snow. Growing up in Tahoe, you ski in all types of conditions so you really need a good feel for the snow. That definitely helped a little today." Tim Kelley, who had not lost a single FIS University slalom he had entered this year until today, was the runner-up in second while Jonathan Nordbotten finished third. Dartmouth's Ben Morse was fourth and Middlebury's Hig Roberts was sixth.
Racing conditions were rough for the women's field due to softening snow that was treated with salt for the second run. Several front-running athletes either failed to finish or had to hike to complete the course. But Williams' Laurel Carter and Geordie Lonza were able to power through the adversity for first and second places, respectively. Middlebury's Bryan Shpall who won the men's second run told Carter to do the same in her race, and she obliged. This was Carter's first carnival victory. The third scoring skier for Williams, Annie Leiter, was eighth, giving the Ephs the team victory in the event. Harvard's Rebecca Nadler finished third, while Dartmouth's Annie Rendall was fourth. Bates had two skiers in the top six with Emily Hayes and Avril Dunleavy's results.
The giant slalom races will be contested tomorrow (Feb. 18) at Jiminy Peak while the double scored Nordic 10k classic for both genders will be held at Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Vermont.
Team scores at the conclusion of the slalom races of the Williams Carnival:
Dartmouth - 191
Williams - 173
Vermont - 159
Middelbury - 154
Colby - 143
St. Lawrence - 137
New Hampshire - 124
Bates - 113
St. Michael's - 105
Harvard - 94
Colby-Sawyer - 77
Boston College - 62
Plymouth State - 56
Photo of Laurel Carter by Cory Ransom