Nordic skiing starts winter season in British Columbia

by James Handal | 1/7/16 7:39pm

Kicking off competition for the winter and spring seasons, the Dartmouth men’s and women’s Nordic ski team traveled to Sovereign Lake, British Columbia for two days of training from Dec. 12 to 13 and to compete at the Haywood NorAm on Dec. 14. This week, the team is competing at the U.S. Cross Country Championships. Corey Stock ’16 was the top Dartmouth finisher in the women’s 20-kilometer freestyle coming in at 27th. Leading the Dartmouth men, Jan Ketterson ’17 took 31st in the men’s 30K freestyle.

In British Columbia, the ski conditions were cold with temperatures of 33.8 degrees Fahrenheit and very fast conditions during the sprints as well as during the men’s 15K free and women’s 10K free. In addition to Dartmouth, the competition included other United States clubs from Stratton Mountain and Bridger.

Oscar Friedman ’16 said that the two week camp in British Columbia was productive and the team logged over forty hours of skiing in addition to competing in two races on the Canadian professional circuit. “Our training load was still quite high, but I was encouraged to see our team show a lot of depth which will translate onto the [U.S.] Cross Country Championships,” Friedman said.

The first day at Sovereign Lake started out with the sprint races. These results contribute to NorAm rankings and the leader can potentially qualify for the January International Ski Federation World Cup tour.

Fabian Stocek ’17 reached the semifinals of the sprint and placed fifth in his heat. In the final, Stocek finished eighth in 03:25.89.

In his first season racing for the Big Green, Gavin McEwen ’19 qualified for the semifinals with a time of 03:26.31 and finished 10th in the final in 03:41.25.

Later in the day, Emily Hannah ’16, Jessa Fogel ’17, Mary O’Connell ’16 and Stock placed into the quarterfinal for the senior women’s races. The junior women had a strong showing, with four skiers qualifying for the final. Lydia Blanchet ’19, Taryn Hunt-Smith ’19, Zoe Snow ’18 and Emily Hyde ’19 placed fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.

The Big Green women’s Nordic team performed well in the 10K free. Hannah led the Big Green women’s team placing 16th in 33:22.2. Amalia Siegel ’16 placed second among Dartmouth skiers at 21st in 33.49.7 while Hunt-Smith, Blanchet, and Fogel all finished before the 35:00.0 mark on the course.

“Haywood NorAm was a great race during training camp to get us back in the routine of racing,” Siegel said. “We have a strong group of women this season and the results from the past few races have shown that most of us have been skiing very close together. This training is great because it allows us to push each other and work together as a team. We are truly a force to be reckoned with out on the trails with nationals coming up next.”

Strong performances by Ketterson and Stocek led the Nordic men in the Open Men 15K free race. With fresh snow on the track, Kevin Sandau from Foothills placed first in 39:05.9. Ketterson was the top Dartmouth racer, placing 9th in 40:40.6. Stocek placed 19th in 41:27.4 while Callan Deline ’18 and Friedman finished 21st and 22nd with 41:33.2 and 41:35.4.

After returning from the Haywood NorAm series, the Dartmouth ski team began competing in the U.S. Cross Country Championships, which runs from Jan. 3 to Jan. 9.

This event fields college athletes as well as professional skiers from many different countries and continents. College skiers attend for the opportunity to represent the U.S. nationally and be looked at by the U.S. National Skiing team.

“Yes, U.S. Nationals provides us an opportunity to compete against ‘the big boys,’” Nordic men’s coach Ruff Patterson said. “It’s always good preparation for our skiers to compete at a nationally higher level.”

At the U.S. Cross Country Nationals, the skiers can compete in freestyle sprinting or classic events such as the men’s 15K or the women’s 10K.

The races kicked off with the 15K classic on Sunday, Jan. 3 with Friedman leading the Big Green, placing 27th and finishing in 42:29.6. Luke Brown ’18 finished 40th in 43:21.5 and Ketterson rounded out the top 50 for Dartmouth, finishing 46th right behind Brown in 43:49.0.

The Big Green women followed right after in the 10K freestyle with Stock finishing 16th in 31:36.5 to lead the Dartmouth team. O’Connell placed 43rd in 32:48.0, and Hunt-Smith and Hannah finished 47th and 51st respectively. All Dartmouth women finished the 10k in under 34:00.0.

On Monday, Jan. 4, Zach Goldberg ’17 placed 39th in the men’s freestyle sprints finishing in 03:29.12. The women’s pair of Blanchet and Snow placed first and fourth in the junior women’s freestyle sprint race under 4:04.00.

Patterson looks at this week’s U.S. Cross Country Nationals as an opportunity for the team to develop and prepare for the NCAA National Championships in March.

“The main expectation at this point is for those attending to keep developing with focus on our main season -— January to the first week in March,” Patterson said. “Let’s hope that Jan and Oscar can keep the ball rolling through the season.”

After the U.S. Cross Country Nationals, Dartmouth will compete in the Bates Carnival in Sunday River, Maine Friday, Jan 15 to Saturday, Jan. 16.