Ski teams poised to build on strong 2018 efforts
The Dartmouth ski team racked up a laundry list of accolades last season. Men’s alpine skier of the year? Yep, that was Tanguy Nef ’20, honored by the United States Collegiate Ski Coaches Association last April. Women’s Nordic skier of the year? Check — Katharine Ogden ’21 was a shoo-in after sweeping the Nordic races at the NCAA Skiing Championships. How about alpine and Nordic coach of the year? Yes and yes, won by Dartmouth’s Peter Dodge ’78 and Cami Thompson Graves, respectively. Only two of the USCSCA’s six yearly awards went to athletes or coaches outside of Dartmouth, a sign of how well-positioned the team is entering 2019.
Though World Cup racer Foreste Peterson ’18 graduated last spring, this squad still has quite a bit of speed. Two of the three athletes Dartmouth sent to the 2018 NCAA championships, Steph Currie ’20 and captain Alexa Dlouhy ’19, will return to provide veteran leadership. Slalom specialist Dlouhy finished last season as the fifth-ranked skier in the east with five podiums to her name, while Currie finished sixth in the east. Claire Thomas ’21 was the next member of the Big Green on the NCAA qualifier list. Though Thomas has no NCAA championship experience, she can mix it up with the best skiers on the team — in North American Cup racing last week, she got the better of Currie in both the slalom and giant slalom. Also in the mix is Stephanie Lebby ’20, who was among the top 10 slalom skiers in the East last season.
With the departure of Brian McLaughlin ’18 and Thomas Woolson ’17, Nef is the only remaining member of the three-man men’s alpine team that won the team title in Steamboat Springs, Colorado last March. But his decision to compete for Dartmouth for another year gives the Big Green a leg up on its EISA opponents. Nef finished on the podium in nine of 12 races last season before winning the NCAA slalom title. He returns to campus having notched two top-15 World Cup slalom finishes in the past two months and figures to be the favorite to wear the leader bib all season in the slalom and giant slalom. David Domonoske ’20 will likely be next down the slope after Nef. Domonoske had the best outing of his collegiate career at last season’s Dartmouth Carnival, taking fifth in the giant slalom and sixth in the slalom. A pair of fast sophomores, Kalle Wagner ’21 and Peter Fucigna ’21, had top-10 finishes last season and will look to keep improving.
The women’s Nordic team remains extremely deep in 2019. Ogden won both the classic and freestyle NCAA titles by more than 30 seconds and is the first Dartmouth skier to win multiple NCAA titles in 56 years. Now that she has proven herself as the fastest collegiate skier in the nation, Ogden will be a threat to podium — or win outright — in every carnival race this season. Lydia Blanchet ’19 and Lauren Jortberg ’20 were both second-team All-Americans in 2018, Blanchet in the 5-kilometer classic and Jortberg in the 15-kilometer freestyle. Other Big Green skiers will be hot on their heels during the carnival season. Veteran Taryn Hunt-Smith ’19 skied at the NCAA championships two years ago and finished agonizingly close to the podium in a string of carnivals last season. Leah Brams ’20 is another name to watch after she was the second fastest Dartmouth skier in the 10-kilometer classic at the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships on Thursday. With strong first-years Molly Gellert ’22, Rena Schwartz ’22 and Callie Young ’22 also on the roster, the competition to make the carnival team will be intense.
Fast seniors — first Fabian Stocek ’17, then Luke Brown ’18 — have led the men’s Nordic team each of the past two seasons, and Callan DeLine ’18 will be asked to do the same in 2019. At Steamboat Springs, DeLine made the All-America first team in the 20-kilometer freestyle and the second team in the 10-kilometer classic. He has the legs to be a weekly podium threat this season. Gavin McEwen ’19 was a consistent top-10 finisher in freestyle races last season and skied in Steamboat Springs with Brown and DeLine. He returns for his senior season. Behind DeLine, Hanover native Adam Glueck ’21 is quickly rising up the ranks. Glueck skied well at the Dartmouth Carnival last season and was the second-fastest Big Green skier in the 15-kilometer classic and classic sprint at U.S. Nationals. Koby Gordon ’19 had a pair of top-10 carnival finishes in 2017 and will look to break back into the top 10 this season. Using carnival points as a yardstick, the men’s Nordic team was the weakest of the four Big Green teams last season — although that says more about the overall quality of Dartmouth’s skiing program than it does about the men’s Nordic team. But the team competition will be stiffer this season. The University of Vermont, Dartmouth’s main eastern rival, adds first-year Ben Ogden, who has numbered among the top collegiate skiers at U.S. Nationals this week. Ogden will make the Catamounts a much tougher team to beat in 2019.