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UVM Wins Men’s Races at Quarry Road, But Dartmouth Tops in Colby Carnival

Kelsey Phinney of Middlebury leads Mary Kate Cirelli of UVM during the women's 15 k classic; the duo went 1-2. (Photo: Silke Hynes)

Kelsey Phinney of Middlebury leads Mary Kate Cirelli of UVM during the women’s 15 k classic mass start; the duo went 1-2. (Photo: Silke Hynes)

The EISA Carnival Circuit returned to Waterville, Maine this weekend for another round of collegiate racing, this time for the Colby College Carnival. With new snow falling in the past week, the race organizers were able to open the full five kilometer race course, making for a much less dizzying race experience this weekend.

Saturday saw the first distance races of the carnival season and a rare display of equidistance. Both the men and the women raced the same challenging 15 k classic mass start course, with the Quarry Road loop making for a challenging race. With long uphill sections and technical downhills, it offered few opportunities for racers to rest. Meanwhile, alternating sections of natural and manmade snow created a waxing challenge for coaches who tried to find the right kick for varying snow conditions.

Jørgen Grav outsprints his UVM teammate Jack Hegman to the line in the men's 15 k classic mass start. (Photo: Silke Hynes)

Jørgen Grav outsprints his UVM teammate Jack Hegman to the line in the men’s 15 k classic mass start. (Photo: Silke Hynes)

In the men’s race it was the University of Vermont who proved to be up to the challenge. Jørgen Grav and Jack Hegman raced their way to the podium for the second weekend in a row, going 1-2 for the Catamounts. It was an extremely tight race between the two teammates with Grav finishing just eight tenths of a secondahead of Hegman in 41:58.7.

In third was Williams College junior Eli Hoenig, stopping a UVM sweep and made his first college podium. Cole Morgan of UVM placed fourth and Fabian Stocek of Dartmouth fifth.

In the women’s race it was Kelsey Phinney of Middlebury College who came out on top for the second week in a row in 49:46.9. She was followed closely by Mary Kate Cirelli of the University of Vermont in 49:50.7. The women’s podium was rounded out by Lizzie Gill, a freshman from Bozeman, Montana, representing the University of New Hampshire. Olivia Amber of Colby finished fourth and Stephanie Kirk of UVM fifth.

Sunday’s racing saw a format new to the EISA circuit: team sprints, according to the international standard format. Previous team sprints had consisted of teams of three athletes each skiing three legs, but at Quarry Road teams were cut down to two skiers apiece, still each skiing three times. The 1.3 k sprint course paired steep climbs with fast slick downhills, making for fast skiing and even faster crashes. The challenge of the day was not just racing hard but also staying on your feet.

Katie Gill sailing to victory for the University of New Hampshire in the women's team sprint. (Photo: Silke Hynes)

Lizzie Gill sailing to victory for the University of New Hampshire in the women’s team sprint. (Photo: Silke Hynes)

Once again it was Hegman and Grav of UVM who found themselves on top of the men’s podium. The two dueled it out with teammates Ian Moore and Morgan, the latter pair finishing second by just 1.7 seconds. Peter Holmes and Tyler Smith raced into third for UNH, +6.5 seconds, and Dartmouth’s Stocek and Callan Deline off the podium but so close they could almost touch it – only 0.6 seconds behind the UNH duo.

On the women’s side the battle was between the UVM team of Kirk and Cirelli, and the UNH pair of Katrin Larusson and Gill. They battled into the final lap when Gill finally pulled away from Cirelli to take victory for UNH by 6.6 seconds. The Middlebury pairing of Nicolette Amber and Phinney raced into third, +16.2, to fill out the women’s podium.

Despite a spectacular nordic showing for UVM, Dartmouth had the last laugh thanks to their strength on the alpine slopes. After 22 straight carnival wins the University of Vermont was dethroned, with Dartmouth winning by a mere four points. UNH was third, another five points back, in one of the closer three-way battles in recent carnivals. That promises more exciting competition coming up in the rest of the season.

EISA nordic carnival racing will rest next weekend before resuming competition with the UVM Carnival in Stowe, VT on February 6th.

Classic 15 k results: menwomen

Team sprint results: menwomen

-Silke Hynes

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