After a weekend off, the EISA circuit resumed this weekend with the University of Vermont Carnival. The races, which coincided with the SuperTour and Eastern Cup circuits, were forced to move from the Trapp Family lodge to Craftsbury Outdoor Center due to unseasonably warm weather. With little notice the Craftsbury crew were able to pull together a 2.4 kilometer loop. While not as challenging as the standard Craftsbury track, the course served up multiple hills including a small wall into the stadium.
Saturday’s racing began with the women’s 5 kilometer skate. After a week of high temperatures which melted snow, it dropped below 32 degrees leading to fast tracks for the opening race. Charging to her first carnival win it was Lydia Blanchet of Dartmouth in 11:54.2. That was good for sixth in the SuperTour field, placing her 18 seconds behind Annie Hart of SMST2. She was followed by the current skate leader Kelsey Phinney of Middlebury (+3.5) and Corey Stock of Dartmouth in 12:03.6. Annie Pokorny, formerly of SMST2 and now returned to the Middlebury roster, was 0.7 seconds out in fourth.
In the 10 k men’s race, the top of the results sheet was dominated by Dartmouth and the University of Vermont. Patrick Caldwell of Dartmouth, who had previously committed to skiing for the SMST2 team after two years at Dartmouth, was back and took not only the carnival win but the SuperTour win as well, crossing the line in 20:42.9. That put him a full 50 seconds ahead of second-place Jørgen Grav of UVM. Edging onto the podium 1:16.7 back was Oscar Friedman of Dartmouth, who came in just 0.4 seconds ahead of teammate Fabian Stocek giving the Big Green a decisive team win.
The second day of racing dawned significantly warmer than the first, with klister as the kick of choice. Given their options a small number of skiers chose to double-pole the single large hill and race on skate skis.
In the women’s 10 k classic it was Alayna Sonnesyn of UVM that topped the podium in 28:02.5, outpacing Middlebury’s Pokorny by just 0.5 seconds. That put the seventh and eighth in the SuperTour field in a race won by Erika Flowers of SMST2. Blanchet of Dartmouth made her second podium of the weekend, finishing third, +6.3.
In the men’s race – shortened from 15 k to 10 k due to the limited snow – UVM justified their choice of skate skis claiming the top two spots on the podium. Cole Morgan finished first in23:37.4, just 4.1 seconds ahead of teammate Grav. Meanwhile, Stocek of Dartmouth continued his strong season with a third place finish (+12.6).
Overall it was once again the Big Green of Dartmouth College that took the win, finishing 60 points up on rivals University of Vermont. College racing will resume next Saturday with the 106th Dartmouth Winter Carnival. In light of recent weather the Dartmouth Carnival will also be contested at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center and, in a first, will lack the traditional snow sculpture in the middle of the college quad.