A Balanced Team Effort Leads to Third-Place Finish at Dartmouth

Angie+Duke+%E2%80%9919+races+at+the+UVM+Carnival+on+Friday+and+Saturday%2C+Feb.+2+and+3%2C+at+Stowe+Mountain+Resort.
Angie Duke ’19 races at the UVM Carnival on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 2 and 3, at Stowe Mountain Resort.

Angie Duke ’19 races at the UVM Carnival on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 2 and 3, at Stowe Mountain Resort.

Emma Stapleton

Emma Stapleton

Angie Duke ’19 races at the UVM Carnival on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 2 and 3, at Stowe Mountain Resort.

By JAKE TURTEL

While the rest of Middlebury was enjoying its last days of February Break, the Middlebury Alpine and Nordic ski teams were competing at the Dartmouth Carnival on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9 and 10. The teams earned a third-place finish with 699 points, behind Dartmouth and University of Vermont.

After the first day of competition, Middlebury sat in third place, behind the hosts and University of Vermont, because of a strong showing on the alpine side. Riley Plant ’18 led the way with a time of 2:02.17, good for third place in the Giant Slalom. Erik Arvidsson ’21 continued his strong rookie campaign, placing ninth (2:03.06). Pate Campbell ’20 and Angie Duke ’19 placed 24th and 25th, and the men as a team placed second in the Giant Slalom behind Dartmouth.

On the women’s side, Caroline Bartlett ’19 led the team, placing fifth with a combined time of 2:06.74 in the Giant Slalom. Also posting a top-ten finish was Lexi Calcagni ’19 (2:07.53), good for ninth. Katie Utter ’20 and Lucia Bailey ’21 earned NCAA points for the squad, placing 17th and 18th (2:09.79 and 2:09.98), respectively. Overall the women placed third in the Giant Slalom.

Even after a foot of snow on Wednesday at Dartmouth, the alpine teams have enjoyed the icy snow conditions this year. “It is actually great for us because courses hold up better (less ruts and bumps) as more people ski it,” said team captain Plant. “Dartmouth wasn’t much of an exception, though the foot or so of snow we received on Wednesday meant the icy layer took some work from the groomers and racer to access.”

For the nordic teams, Annika Landis ’20 was the first Panther woman to cross the finish line during the 5K Classic, placing ninth with a time of 37:31.20.

Just behind her was Cate Brams ’18, who finished 10th (37:34.00). Also earning NCAA points for Middlebury were Alexandra Lawson ’21 (13th), Avery Ellis ’21 (15th), and Katie Feldman ’18 (25th). These five Panthers carried Middlebury to a third-place finish in this race.

Team captain Brams was thrilled to see Middlebury’s underclassmen lead the Panthers on Friday. “We had some underclassmen really step it up on the women’s side,” said Brams, “which for me was more exciting to see than any standout individual results, and indicates that we have a lot more to give these last couple weekends.”

Jacob Volz ’18 (31:54.60) paced the men with a 16th place finish in the 10K Classic event, with Sam Wood ’19 just three-tenths of a second behind. Adam Luban ’18 also earned points with a 22nd place finish.

On Saturday, the Alpine teams competed in the Slalom event. The women took home third place (98 points) while the men placed ninth. Once again Bartlett finished fifth with a time of 1:48.88 (her second run time of 54.29 seconds was the best out of any skiers). Bailey (ninth in 1:50.22) and Utter (16th in 1:52.23) also finished in the top-20. Rounding out the top-30 was Madison Lord ’21 (30th – 1:55.39).

Justin Alkier ’21 finished the day with a career best 21st-place finish (1:47.25), while Plant also earned points, finishing two spots behind Alkier with a time of 1:47.40.

In the women’s 5K freestyle event, Feldman and Brams paced the Panthers, placing sixth and seventh (14:57.2 and 15:05.5) overall, respectively. Also earning points were Lawson (17th in 15:18.6), Landis (27th in 15:39.7), and Ellis (29th in 15:43.3). As a team, the women finished third in this race.

In the men’s 10K freestyle, Wood led the squad this time, crossing the line in 26:32.7 (7th place) while Luban also placed in the top-15 (12th, 26:46.0). Just seconds between them, Lewis Nottonson ’19 placed 27th while Volz placed 28th.

Middlebury will travel to Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vermont, to race in the Williams Carnival on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 16 and 17.

Then, the following weekend, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24, the Panthers will host the Middlebury Carnival at Rikert and the Snow Bowl, which will double as the EISA Championships.

“We’re generally really strong as a team later in the season,” Brams said, looking forward to the rest of the season. “I’m excited to see those younger athletes build on this weekend’s performances.”

Following these two carnivals are the NCAA Championships in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, which Plant and the Panthers have set their sights on.

“Moving into the final 2 carnivals, we are hoping to qualify a couple more individuals for the NCAA Championships,” Plant said. “We can take a maximum of 3 men and 3 women and currently have 2 of each qualified, so it’s really important that we act selflessly on race day the next few weekends to make sure everybody is in a great head space when they get in the starting gate.”

Calcagni agreed with Plant that the Panthers have what it takes to finish the season on a high note. Dartmouth, where a number of skiers achieved personal bests, was “a great start to the second half of the season,” said Calcagni. “There is so much potential on our team to put it all together.”

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A Balanced Team Effort Leads to Third-Place Finish at Dartmouth