Mildly cold temperatures, partly sunny skies, and clean-cut tracks met the EISA teams this morning at the Trapps Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont for mass start 15 and 20 kilometer classic races.
Stacking the podium in an impressive 1-2-3, the UVM women stole the show for the first day of their home carnival. Taking the lead early and keeping a distance on the field, the trio of Caitlin Patterson, Amy Glen, and Lucy Garrec skied into the last climb together, Patterson taking the win over Glen by 2 seconds at the line and Garrec another 5 seconds back. The Dartmouth and UNH women had a close contest for 2nd place team, as Rosie Brennan and Erika Flowers shuttled in at 4th and 5th, respectively, with teammate Annie Hart placing 11th for a combined score of 109, while UNH’s Elizabeth Guiney, Natasha Kullas, and Clare Egan stacked 6th through 8th place for a score of 104.
UVM head coach Patrick Weaver was not surprised by his women’s team but he was definitely happy with their performance.
“They’re definitely all capable of doing it, just seeing them all do it in one day is pretty cool.”
Weaver was especially impressed with the performances of Caitlin Patterson and Amy Glen, who recently traveled back from Junior Worlds and U23’s in Estonia, Glen getting stuck and spending the night in the Detroit airport on her way home.
UVM also captured the individual title in the men’s race, but lost the men’s team score by 10 points to Dartmouth. UVM’s Franz Bernstein clinched his first win of the season by out-sprinting Dartmouth’s Eric Packer to the finish line. Dartmouth’s Sam Tarling and Nils Koons followed on their teammate’s heels in 3rd and 4th. In 5th place, Dimitri Luthi of Williams broke up a two minute difference before UVM’s Scott Patterson and Dylan Grald finished in 6th and 7th.
Bernstein, who took first and second places at last year’s NCAA championships but has not yet won a race this year, showed with his victory today that he is coming back into form. Bernstein, however, said that it may have been the race format – he is an especially strong distance skier and does well in mass start races – and not his race legs, that enabled the win.
“I was a little surprised with how well it went today,” said Bernstein, “but maybe it’s the home course – I really love this course, it’s good for classic striding.”
The races were held on the relatively new, Morton Trails-designed and homologated 5km track situated at the Trapps Family Lodge; ski-able terrain and wide trails which loop often through the large, open stadium make for spectator-friendly and clean-run mass start races.
Coach Weaver said although not everyone on his men’s team had their best race, as a team they put forth a very solid showing.
“You always want everybody to have the best race of their lives,” said Weaver, “but when we can ski six out of the top fourteen in this league, we’re pretty happy about it.”