The third weekend of EISA qualifiers were combined with NENSA’s TD Bank Eastern Cup races and held at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont.
The collegiate competitors topped the combined field on each day of individual start races, with only three Eastern Cup competitors cracking into the top ten.
The podium saw no new faces this weekend, as Middlebury’s Patrick Johnson took both men’s races, Dartmouth’s Sophie Caldwell won the 5k classic race, and UVM’s Caitlin Patterson topped the 10k skate.
In the J2 race, Julie Kern (CSU) and Cullen Brown (Durango, CO Nordic) won their respective events on both days of racing.
An overnight snowfall Friday evening added to an already solid base on the homologized race trails at Trapps and light flakes continued into the morning, clearing for the first day’s races and remaining open to sunshine for the weekend’s events. Typical of Trapps, early morning stillness turned to subsequent gusts throughout each day, which kept the air and snow feeling cooler than the reported mid-twenties temps.
Saturday’s classic track set up solid overnight for the women’s mid-morning 5k. Some of the late morning racers were not so lucky; the sun ‘s effect appeared just prior to the start of the men’s race and left many racers with slick skis.
After a double victory last weekend in Jackson Sophie Caldwell continued her winning streak by topping the women’s field with a time of 15:48. Her closest competitor and main rival, Caitlin Patterson, finished second by 7.4 seconds, a time which was only .7 seconds ahead of third place finisher Annie Hart (DAR).
UVM then paved the next three positions, as Amy Glen, Anja Gruber and Lucy Garrec took fourth through sixth respectively. Clare Egan of the Green Racing Project took seventh. Erika Flowers (DAR) earned 8th place while Annie Pokorny (MID) took 9th. UNH’s Tristan Ramey and Elizabeth Guiney took 10th and 11th.
The 10k race was also an individual start, but the times for the top three men told a story of an embattled sprint finish. Johnson was in a heated race around the two-lap course with Sam Tarling of Dartmouth and Franz Bernstein of UVM. It took the three men just over 28 minutes to cross the line within 2 seconds of each other. Tarling clocked in a mere .3 seconds behind Johnson, Bernstein’s time a slight addition of 2.3 seconds.
Dartmouth’s Eric Packer and Gordon Vermeer took fourth and fifth places, Fritz Horst (UVM) took 6th, Justin Freeman (racing for Holderness Nordic and the only non-collegiate racer in the top-ten) took 7th, Per Lindgren (UNH) was 8th, Ben Lustgarten (MID) was 9th, Dylan Grald (UVM) placed 10th, and Erik Lindgren (UNH) finished 11th.
Sunday’s skate races were both 10k events.
In the women’s race Caitlin Patterson took back the top spot from Sophie Caldwell, clocking a time of 28:16. Caldwell finished in a time of 28:27, and the next four places finished within 15 seconds. In third was Caldwell’s teammate Erika Flowers, who sprawled across the line in sheer exhaustion. Fourth place went to Clare Egan, the only top woman outside the collegiate field. Fifth and sixth went to UVM’s Lucy Garrec and Amy Glen.
The times in the men’s race were just as tightly contested – except for the top spot. Patrick Johnson did not just win the men’s skate, he tore apart the field. Second through 10th place was spread by only 28 seconds, but Johnson managed to gap the entire field by 42 seconds in an event which took just over 24 minutes.
In second place was Sam Tarling of Dartmouth, while third and fourth went to UVM’s Franz Bernstein and Alex Howe. Mathieu Fortin of Lavall University (Quebec) took fifth, just one second over sixth place Jordan Beutow of Bates. Patrick Caldwell, a J1 racer from Stratton Mountain took an impressive 7th place in the midst of an experienced field. Eric Packer of Dartmouth placed 8th, and 9th place held a tie between Ben Lustgarten (MID) and Justin Freeman (Holderness).
Dartmouth won the team scores for both classic races and the men’s skate race, while UVM took the women’s skate race. Dartmouth won the overall combined team score, adding up 916 points to UVM’s 735. Middlebury was third with 729.