Carnival weekend recap

by Evan Morgan | 2/13/17 2:05am

One slalom run encapsulated the Big Green’s outing at Dartmouth’s 111th Winter Carnival. In his second descent on a brisk Saturday afternoon, Brian McLaughlin ’18 came charging down Winslow Ledge. He looked to be headed for a fast time when he stumbled on a section of the course which announcers Brian Francis ’18 and Nolan Kasper ’14 called “Hangman’s Corner.” McLaughlin hiked back to the gate and made it to the bottom, but he had lost seven seconds over his first run and finished in 35th place.

The Dartmouth ski team had a carnival run that mirrored McLaughlin’s. Despite a strong start, which saw Dartmouth ride out to a 40-point lead on the first day, the Big Green stumbled near the end. On Saturday, the University of Vermont overtook Dartmouth in dramatic fashion. The final margin was just 15 points — 884 points for the Catamounts to 869 for the Big Green.

The pivotal moment came during the final men’s slalom run of the weekend. Thomas Woolson ’17 reached the bottom of Thomas Trail in a blistering 48.12 seconds and was declared the unofficial winner. But video replay showed Woolson straddling a gate near the bottom of the course. He was disqualified, and the Big Green’s potential overall men’s slalom score dropped from 108 to 68.

“I thought I just kind of hooked the gate a bit, and so I definitely felt a little twist, but I thought it was alright,” Woolson said. “Some of the coaches protested, so we had to go back to our video, and the video showed I had straddled.”

Woolson was not the only Dartmouth man who had a difficult outing on Saturday.

“There was one gate on the men’s slalom second run that was our nemesis,” Ed Hauck, men’s alpine assistant coach and the Carnival’s chief of course, said. UVM “capitalized on seeing our top three men [Tanguy Nef ’20, McLaughlin and Woolson] drop like flies on the second run.”

To their credit, the Catamounts were strong opponents on Saturday, scoring the most team points in both alpine events. UVM’s Paula Moltzan and Laurence St-Germain finished 1-2 in the women’s slalom, ahead of Dartmouth’s Alexa Dlouhy ’19 in fourth, Foreste Peterson ’18 in fifth and Kelly Moore ’18 in seventh. UVM skiers also took first and third in the men’s slalom, the event where Dartmouth ceded the most points. The Big Green’s scorers were David Domonoske ’20 and Nef, in 13th and 15th place. McLaughlin, after his struggles on the second run, also scored in 35th.

At the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, UVM did not outshine Dartmouth but scored well enough to take the overall crown. The Big Green’s Fabian Stocek ’17 continued his sensational senior season by winning the men’s 10-kilometer classic, his fifth win of 2017, with teammate Callan DeLine ’18 in seventh position and Gavin McEwen ’19 finishing 12th. The Big Green was also represented on the podium in the women’s 5-kilometer classic, where Abby Drach ’20 finished second. In both events, Dartmouth took second overall and UVM took third.

Saturday’s drama overshadowed a very good first day for Dartmouth. Strong performances in the cross-country relays pushed the host team out to the overall lead. The depth of the Big Green Nordic team was on display in the men’s 3x5-kilometer freestyle, where Dartmouth took first and second positions. McEwen — part of the winning team, along with Stocek and DeLine — posted the fastest lap of the day at 11:57.0 seconds. On the women’s side, Dartmouth’s Drach, Taryn Hunt-Smith ’19 and Lauren Jortberg ’20 settled for second, just over 13 seconds back of the top spot, won by the University of New Hampshire. The Big Green and the Catamounts dueled to a draw in Friday’s giant slalom, each team racking up 234 points. Peterson, after skipping last weekend’s race to compete on the NorAm circuit, won her second giant slalom of the season, beating UVM’s Moltzan by 0.61 seconds. Steph Currie ’20 was just off the podium in fourth. On the men’s side, McLaughlin finished ahead of a trio of UVM skiers, putting the Green and White on the podium in second position.

Dartmouth rode an avalanche of success into this weekend’s carnival, looking for its fourth-straight overall win. Instead, it was UVM that came away with the victory over the Big Green.

“Our coach [Cami Thompson] said that this weekend was a good thing,” Hunt-Smith said. “It keeps us in check. It keeps us honest.”
The weekend’s finish order — UVM first, Dartmouth second — has repeated itself every year since 2010, the last time Dartmouth won its home carnival.

“It’s important to know that we have to work really hard to get those wins,” Hunt-Smith said. “The team is pretty mad we didn’t win this weekend, so hopefully we can translate that anger into momentum to ski faster next weekend.”