Ski team takes second at Middlebury, sends 12 to NCAAs

by Max Kanefield | 3/2/16 6:30pm

In an up-and-down weekend, the Dartmouth ski team surged to an early lead with wins in men’s and women’s slalom on day one of racing before eventually dropping into a second place finish at the Middlebury Carnival. In the final carnival of the season that also served as the NCAA Regionals, the Big Green was unable to hold off University of Vermont but feels ready for the NCAA Championships that are next on its schedule.

The Big Green Alpine teams — both the men and the women — started off with strong performances in the slalom event. Brian McLaughlin ’18 and Kelly Moore ’18 led the charge for the Big Green. Both ended up on the podium with third place finishes in the slalom. Fellow sophomore Kevyn Read ’18 completed the race just one-ninth of a second behing McLaughlin. Thomas Woolson ’17 pitched in a seventh place finish that vaulted the Big Green to the top of the standings in the slalom events and cemented the result as one of the team’s best this season.

“The biggest highlight was definitely the slalom,” Alpine skier Alexa Dlouhy ’19 said. “Having both teams win was pretty impressive. At the beginning of the season the men’s team wasn’t winning as much, so I think it was great to recognize how far our team has come as a whole.”

Mclaughlin, Read and Woolson will travel next week to Steamboat Springs, Colorado to represent the Dartmouth men’s Alpine team. The team can only bring three representatives from each discipline. On the women’s Alpine side, Dlouhy, Foreste Peterson ’18 and Moore will ski for the Big Green.

The women’s Alpine team is perhaps the strongest in the field. The team boasts the current leaders in the giant slalom ranking (Peterson), the slalom ranking (Dlouhy) and Moore, who captured victories at both the Bates Carnival and NCAA Regionals at Middlebury.

“We are very excited,” Dlouhy said. “We know we can do really well. I think that we are all looking to get on the podium, individually. And because we know we are capable of that, I think we can go in confident and shoot to be the best team.”

On the Nordic side, both the men’s and women’s teams finished the carnival with solid performances that they believe set them up well for the NCAA championships. For the men, consistent leader Fabian Stocek ’17 and Callan Deline ’18 took fourth and fifth place in the 10K freestyle to help Dartmouth to a second place finish.

“I think we raced really well as a team,” Nordic captain Mary O’Connell ’16 said. “I think we all thought we had good races, but the results didn’t show it. We took positives away from the fact that we did put together really strong races, especially considering the fact that we haven’t been able to train like other teams because we don’t have snow to practice on and we had extra stress of midterm week. Even though we weren’t at the top of the results sheet, we were still able to put together really solid performances.”

The Middlebury Carnival was the last carnival in the circuit for the seniors on the team, who have contributed to one of the strongest seasons in recent memory. The team boasts two first place finishes in carnivals this year, which were the team’s first outright wins in almost four years.

“I’d say all together it was a surreal experience,” O’Connell said. “Dartmouth had one of our better seasons in terms of consistency throughout the carnival season. What was also exciting to me as a senior and a captain was the depth that our team showed. We had six girls get top 10 finishes, multiple podiums and five girls objectively qualify for NCAAs — more than any other team. It was a perfect way to finish off four years.”

Depth will take a back seat in the NCAAs, where the team will bring just its top three racers to the Championship races hosted by the University of Colorado. The Big Green feels confident that it can put up a strong showing in the races, which will take place March 9 to 12.

“I think our races this weekend were definitely a good platform to jump off of for NCAAs,” Lydia Blanchet ’19 said. “A lot of us thought we hadn’t been able to train as much as we’d like to heading into this race. I think we’ll be able to build our confidence with training because we’ll be in Steamboat for a few days before on snow. I think we will go into Steamboat with a lot of really positive momentum.”