Panther Skiing Fourth in EISA

By Colin McIntyre

The ski teams finished the EISA carnival circuit this past weekend, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 27-28, at the St. Lawrence carnival in the Lake Placid, N.Y. area, which served as the EISA championship. The alpine teams in the carnival competed competed at Whiteface while the nordic teams raced at Mt. Van Hoevenberg. Middlebury’s alpine and nordic teams took fourth place behind undefeated Vermont, second-place Dartmouth, and UNH in third.

 On Friday, Heather Mooney ’15 won the 5K skate race for the women’s nordic team, coming in 16 seconds ahead of the freestyle leader Annika Taylor of UNH. Stella Holt ’15 was just over a minute back, in 12th place, while Kelsey Phinney ’16 finished a further seven seconds back in 20th place. The three women combined to win third place in the event. Saturday saw the same three women win the classic race. Mooney, the classic leader on the season, came in second behind UNH’s Taylor. Phinney was 24 seconds behind Mooney in third, and Holt came in 11th to give the Panthers the win.

 The men took ninth on Friday in the skate races. Adam Luban ’17 led the Panthers in 28th place. Patrick McElravey ’17 came in 35th place and Jacob Volt ’18 took 40th. Dartmouth and UVM combined to take the first eight spots in the race. The following day, the men fared slightly better as McElravey, who came in 12th place, led Middlebury to an eighth place finish. McElravey finished four minutes behind the leaders, and was only the second finisher not from UVM or Dartmouth. Luban finished four minutes behind McElravey in 34th, and Jack Steele ’16 was another 30 seconds back in 40th.

At Whiteface on Friday, the Panther men took second in the giant slalom by packing three finishers in the top 10 despite GS leader Rob Cone ’17 not finishing his second run. Riley Plant ’18 led the way for the Panthers, taking fifth after a stellar second run, just two seconds off the pace. Christopher McKenna ’17 was .5 seconds behind Plant in sixth place, while Ghassan Gedeon Achi ’16 took eighth, just .05 seconds behind McKenna. In slalom, Colin Hayes’ 17 led the team to fourth place, winning the ninth-place spot himself ahead of McKenna in 15th and Christoph Niederhauser ’16 who took a close 16th place.

On the women’s side, Kara Shaw ’15 and Elle Gilbert ’16 placed ninth and tenth in giant slalom, leading the Panthers to a fourth place finish. Shaw was just 2.5 seconds behind the leader, and Gilbert only a quarter of a second behind that. Katelyn Barclay ’15 finished another two seconds back in 20th to round out the squad.

On Saturday, the women again placed fourth, racking up the same number of points as Mary Sackbauer ’15 took ninth place with a combined time of 1:56.47. Sackbauer led her teammate, Barclay, who placed 13th, by one second. Gilbert finished another half second back in 19th.

Two weeks from now, Middlebury will send the individuals who have qualified to represent the east at the NCAA championships back to Lake Placid for the last race of the season.

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