The University of Vermont won this season’s opening Carnival hosted by Saint Lawrence University, edging Dartmouth’s Big Green by just 32 points scored between their alpine and cross-country teams. Middlebury College took the third spot on the podium with strong performances in the cross-country skate races and also in team scoring for the men’s giant slalom.
UVM’s cross-country teams cleaned up in all four races, placing first in the men’s and women’s skate and classic races, while the Catamount’s alpine teams struggled for a team win. The Big Green’s alpine women skied to first in team scoring in both the giant slalom and slalom, achored by an individual win in giant slalom by Claire Thomas and the Dartmouth women going 3,4,5 in the slalom.
Due to weather, the standard schedule was swapped at Whiteface and the alpine teams raced slalom on Friday. Dartmouth finished well ahead of the competition, tallying 244 points to the University of New Hampshire’s 195. The fight for third was tight between three teams. UVM scored 170, followed by St. Mike’s and Middlebury, who were separated by just one point: 165-164.
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In the women’s race, UVM’s Paula Moltzan continued where she left off last season, winning the race (and both runs) in a combined time of 1:34.18. Moltzan recently returned from a block of World Cup Racing; the former World Junior Champion placed 12th in Flachau, Austria a little over a week ago. Emma Woodhouse of UNH skied to her first career podium finish, grabbing second in 1:35.37. And Dartmouth’s Alexa Dlouhy (3rd, 1:35.74) led a Big Green 3-4-5 sweep as Claire Thomas (1:36.34) and Steph Currie (1:37.08) finished in fourth and fifth, respectively.
“It’s super exciting to be back with the team,” Moltzan said. “We have a really strong team this year and we know Dartmouth also does. What’s different this year is we have no new first years, so everyone knows what expected and knows what the goal is: to win.”
Since Moltzan was racing World Cups, she missed the early block of training and preparation with her UVM teammates and said it was great to come back to the circuit and have so many familiar faces around.
“That early block with the team was something I missed out on this year and I know they worked hard, it was also successful for me on a separate note,” Motzan said.
One of Friday’s other highlights was Woodhouse’s breakthrough race. In past seasons, the junior had cracked the top-10 with a handful of ninth- and tenth-place results. Her best finish to date had been seventh. Today, though, marks a big step forward.
“Emma’s been skiing well all year,” said UNH Head Coach Brian Blank. “She came into the fall super fit and motivated. I expected her to do well.”
On the men’s side, Dartmouth’s Drew Duffy won the slalom in a time of 1:31.63, moving from bib 16 to the top of the podium. Guillaume Grand, skiing for Saint Mike’s, took second in 1:32.25 and Middlebury College’s Erik Arvidsson was hot on his heels finishing third in 1:32.41.
Duffy, a former U.S. Ski Team athlete, said his first official weekend of college racing was exciting.
“Skiing for a team and having my results count toward a team score was new for me and made me a little nervous all weekend. I already really enjoy that aspect of college skiing, it’s less of an individual sport and it motivates me to do well, so that we can win as a team. It’s so much fun being back at east coast mountains that I have been racing at for years. There is a comfort level there that helps a lot,” Duffy said.
UVM’s Patrick McConville (1:33.95) finished fourth, but his teammates had a rare off-day. Spencer Smith (31st; 1:46.43) and Max Roeisland (34th; 1:48.65) were the Catamounts’ next two scorers, and the men finished seventh as a squad.
The major jump in the men’s results came from UNH’s Patrick McConville, who finished ninth. He began the race wearing bib 40. Not to be outdone, SLU’s Jake Van Deursen took full advantage of the home turf and rocketed to 10th place from bib 61.
Frigid temperatures continued Saturday for the giant slalom. The Big Green built on their lead and finished the alpine events with a commanding 495 points. UNH held on to second place, wrapping up the weekend with 371, and Middlebury College moved ahead two places to claim third on the weekend — just edging out UVM, 356 points to 354.
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“Every year we set goals,” Dartmouth Women’s Head Coach, John Dwyer, said. “This year we want to try to win every Carnival.”
In pursuit of that goal on Saturday, his women’s squad pulled their weight. Claire Thomas won the GS in a combined time of 2:17.08. Her teammates Steph Currie (2:18.04) and Hannah Utter (2:19.93) claimed third and fifth places, respectively. As an added exclamation, the Big Green’s Alexa Dlouhy finished off the day in seventh (2:20.87).
In the midst of all that green was a bit of blue: UNH’s Emma Woodhouse (2:17.60) took second place for the second time. The Wildcat was in first after run one, fell back a few positions in run two and she was able to hold on for secon; proving that yesterday’s fine SL performance was no fluke.
Dartmouth’s Drew Duffy also matched his slalom finish, winning the men’s GS race in a time of 2:10.34. Duffy was dominant winning both days, and showing a strong start to his NCAA Carnival career.
“I had some career best Noram finishes in Canada last week which gave me confidence in the GS this weekend. Our team is very excited for this season. We have a strong team on both the men’s and women’s sides. I’m new to the team and the support I’ve recieved from my teammates has been amazing. We all bring a lot of different ski racing experiences to the team, which I think is a huge asset. I think we all have some very high expectations for this season,” Duffy said.
Guillaume Grand of St. Michael’s College took second place (2:10.62), and St. Lawrence College’s Jake Van Deursen thrilled the hometown crowd with third (2:11.47).
SLU Head Coach and Carnival host, Willi Steinrotter was elated with Van Deursen’s podium finish.
“It’s been a long time. Long overdue,” Steinrotter said. “Jake had some medical issues that he was dealing with in the spring, and for him to come back in the first weekend and have a podium and a top-10, it’s just awesome. He works so hard at it. It’s definitely sweet.”
Grand led a strong charge by St. Mike’s Purple Knights: they placed three men in the top-8 and won the men’s competition outright, beating Dartmouth by three points.
St. Mike’s Assistant Coach Jamie Bender was pleased with his team’s finish.
“It’s awesome to see our guys, especially some of our younger guys like Ben [Throm (8th; 2:13.10)], do really well,” Bender said. “It’s awesome to see Colby [Jordan (5th; 2:11.98)] come back from his ACL surgery and throw it in the top-10. And it’s great to see our senior leader Guillaume finish in second.”
Next week the EISA heads to Mittersill in Franconia, NH, for the UNH Carnival, Jan. 18-19.
Full results from the SLU Carnival can be found HERE.
EISA Skiing contributed to this report.