MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — Cold temperatures have been the norm for this season of EISA racing. The Middlebury Carnival was no exception, as some of the coldest predicted temps of the season lead to changes in race schedules in hopes of maintaining a safe and fair event. New snow also came along with the cold temperatures, creating slow and grueling conditions for both Friday and Saturday’s competitions. The Tormondsen Family Race Course, site of action at the 2013 NCAA Championships, featured plentiful natural snow and pristine conditions. A 10-kilometer classic race was held on Friday for both men and women, while 5 and 10-kilometer freestyle races were contested on Saturday.
Friday: 10 k Classic
A familiar scene took place in the women’s race on Friday: three racers battling it out for the win, while others chased for fourth. Despite the individual-start format, it was once again the trio of Heather Mooney (Middlebury), Annika Taylor (UNH) and Corey Stock (Dartmouth) claiming the podium. The Panther cheering squads were out in force, and on her home course Mooney prevailed by 10 seconds over Taylor. Stock settled for third, another 23 seconds back.
With the exception of occasional appearances by other strong racers, the top of the women’s field has been relatively consistent this season. Mooney, Taylor and Stock have finished on the podium in many of the past few races, with Mooney and Taylor taking the lion’s share of the wins.
Mooney led the Panthers to a win in the team score, though the women of Bates College were the only team to put three racers in the top 10 en route to second place. Hallie Grossman, Sadie James and Tara Humphries finished in fifth, eighth and 10th place, respectively, helping the Bobcats edge the UVM women by one point.
The men’s podium was a much closer affair, with the top three men separated by a mere eight seconds. Jorgen Grav of UVM took the top spot, with Dartmouth’s Silas Talbot taking second.
Not far behind was Laval’s Frederic Touchette, who ended up less than three seconds behind Talbot. The first three men had a clear gap to fourth, as classic specialist Per Lindgren picked up his third top-10 of the season in 4th, 26 seconds back.
Saturday: 5/10 k Freestyle
While the thermometer may have read a little warmer than the low single-digits of Friday, a damp day and some wind made Saturday’s freestyle event feel quite frigid. Most racers, accustomed to such conditions after multiple weeks of battling the cold, were well-prepared with buffs, face-tape and overboots.
Through the cold snow it was Annika Taylor of UNH who took the win for the women, swapping places with Friday’s classic champion Heather Mooney of host Middlebury. Mooney nearly earned a sweep of the weekend, finishing less than three seconds from the win.
For the second day in a row Dartmouth racer Corey Stock took third, and the women’s podium players remained consistent for both days of competition.
In the men’s race, Rogan Brown of UVM continued an impressive streak of freestyle performances with a win over Dartmouth’s Paddy Caldwell. Recently returned from strong results at the U23 World Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Caldwell was unable to match Brown’s pace and settled for second place.
Finishing on the podium for a second day in a row was Catamount Jorgen Grav who, along with Jack Hegman in fifth, gave UVM a decisive hold on the team score for the event. In fourth was Laval’s Frederic Touchette.
The EISA will take a break this coming weekend. The EISA Regional Championships will be held February 27th and 28th in Lake Placid, New York. Saint Lawrence University will host the events on the 1980 Olympic trails of Mt. Van Hoevenberg, and will also play host to the 2015 NCAA Championships two weeks later.
Adam Terko is the assistant coach of the St. Lawrence University Ski Team