Skiing finishes second despite strong individual performances

by Max Kanefield | 2/22/16 6:30pm

The men’s and women’s alpine teams finished the Williams Carnival with arguably their best performances of the season, grabbing six podium spots. The Nordic team grabbed two spots — both by Fabian Stocek ’17. The Big Green cruised to a second place overall finish. Although the University of Vermont staved off the Big Green alpine and Nordic teams’ efforts to unseat its top spot at this and past carnivals, the Big Green managed to finish in a close second in the overall points, 992-919.

In the last carnival before the NCAA Regional Championships get underway, the Dartmouth slalom racers captured the top spot in both the men’s and women’s competitions.. Brian McLaughlin ’18 and Kevyn Read ’18 led the Dartmouth men to two podium spots, second and third respectively. McLaughlin and Read turned in the two fastest times on their first runs with McLaughlin three-tenths of a second ahead of his teammates — 56.08 seconds to 56.38. The two Big Green sophomores would slide one spot down after the second runs, but their finishes, along with an eighth place finish from Brian Francis ’18, earned the men’s alpine team back to back wins in the slalom after winning the event at the Dartmouth Carnival.

With the men’s alpine team building momentum, the women’s alpine team matched the accomplishments with two slalom podiums as well. Alexa Dlouhy ’19 continued her stellar season with a third place finish of 1:57.02, just narrowly behind teammate Kelly Moore’s ’18 1:56.95. The two stellar finishes gave Dartmouth four podium appearances in the slalom in a sweep of the men’s and women’s events.

“I can say that we were all very, very happy, because I think that was our best result all year,” Dlouhy said.

Dlouhy said the women’s alpine team had the top two finishes in the giant slalom on Friday to start Foreste Peterson and Moore, and then great runs in the slalom.

Dlouhy added that the men’s alpine team also came through and added its best performance of the year, with two podium finishes. She added that it was a great weekend for the team all around, and the team left the event happy with its performances.

Peterson and Moore’s one-two finish in the giant slalom — along with Hannah Melinchuk’s ’19 seventh place finish, earned women’s alpine wins in both their events. The Big Green found some momentum in this last race before championship races begin.

Dartmouth’s Nordic teams used energy and motivation from a new race format to surge to strong performances in the 10K freestyle and the 5K Classic. With first day times used to start the races on day two, racers had the chance to catch and pass other skiers who were a few seconds ahead of them during the day one race.

“It was a really fun way of racing, the way they set it up was really unique,” Mary O’Connell ’16 said.

O’Connell said that though the team had never participated in this race format before, the skiers had a “lot of fun.”

Lydia Blanchet ’19 led the Dartmouth Nordic women in the 5K classic with a 44:54.7 combined time that was good for fifth overall. O’Connell turned in a seventh place finish and Emily Hannah ’16 rounded out Dartmouth’s top three finishers at ninth. For yet another carnival this season, the Nordic women’s top three scores came from inside the top ten.

On the men’s side, the Nordic team got solid showing from consistent sources as well as new ones. First, it was Stocek putting in another pair of top finishes, finishing on the podium at third in both the 10K freestyle and the 5K classic.

“I was really satisfied,” Stocek said. “I have been trying to hold that standard all season, so I haven’t left the top five in any of my distance races. I was expecting a finish that would be around that, but obviously third is better than fourth.”

Stocek added that he was really happy to place in the top three and prevent UVM from sweeping the event.

While Stocek continued his trend of consistently excellent races, the team looked to new racers to step up and deliver good performances. The need became heightened when captain Oscar Friedman ’16 dropped from the race due to a fever after the first day.

“On Saturday, I was really happy with all the new guys’ performances,” Stocek said. “Gavin McEwen [’19], who’s a freshman, and his goal was to be able to get a top ten this season, and he got a top ten [in the 10K freestyle] for the first time, so I was happy about that. The overall team put four people in the top ten, so it was definitely a solid performance on our end.”

The Big Green now turns to the Middlebury Carnival, which will host the NCAA Regional Championships and EISA Regionals. The championships will be raced on Feb. 26 to 27.