February 27, 2012 (Hancock/Stowe, VT) – Under steady snowfall and gusting winds, the University of Vermont claimed its second consecutive and 32nd EISA Championship in the program’s history on Feb. 25. Vermont led the charge totaling 955 points followed by Dartmouth with 848 points. Middlebury and New Hampshire, who battled all season long for the coveted third place result at carnivals, tied with 724.5 points.
Vermont’s Kate Ryley of Toronto, Canada claimed her win in the women’s slalom utilizing an uncharacteristic number of “old school” inside hand clears on her way to the finish line. She remarked, “My old schooling three gates in the middle of the course was probably from my hand injury [earlier in the season], but I almost never shin gates. I’m working on creating pressure above and that’s given me too much room, so maybe I can tighten it up more and go faster.” Despite this unorthodox technique on the collegiate circuit, her tactical line proved to be over a second faster than Dartmouth’s Annie Rendall who finished second. New Hampshire’s Catherine Blanchard was third.
The second day of alpine racing saw Vermont’s Kevin Drury, also of Toronto, charge into the lead in the men’s giant slalom from his first run performance. It was his first win of the season and second straight EISA giant slalom title. Drury remarked, “On the bottom of the course, I knew it was bumpy from watching the girls, so I was trying to be really smooth and let my skis run.” Graham Scott of St. Lawrence, whose previous best result had been a ninth place finish, barrel rolled from the 20th starting position into second overall.
He won the second run, punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships, and turned out the best performance by a St. Lawrence alpine male in over a decade. Vermont’s Jonathan Nordbotten was third. Kate Ryley of UVM won her second race of the weekend in the women’s giant slalom. She overtook first run winner and her teammate, Kristina Riis-Johannessen, who finished second overall. New Hampshire’s Jenna Kantor had been knocking on the door of the giant slalom podium all season, and she finally secured her much earned third place result after winning the second run.
The Nordic races were held over an hour away from Middlebury at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, a venue that served as home to the EISA for three weekends of racing during this low snow winter. Middlebury’s Patrick Johnson claimed a convincing win in the men’s 10k freestyle followed by Vermont’s Franz Bernstein in second and Dartmouth’s Sam Tarling in third.
The Big Green’s Eric Packer was still in Turkey at the U23 World Championships, and his absence certainly factored into Vermont’s ability to take the team win for the day. Caitlin Patterson found her jets in the 5k freestyle—a shorter race than her preferred distance—to claim the win for Vermont. Catamount teammate Lucy Garrec was second, and Dartmouth’s Sophie Caldwell was third.
The classic races the following day were downright brutal for all competitors with heavy snowfall and wind plaguing best efforts. On the challenging conditions, Vermont’s Caitlin Patterson noted, “It was snowing an inch per hour throughout both Nordic races, with serious wind blowing snow into the tracks and in the stadium, and the times were some of the slowest I’ve ever seen for a 15k and 20k. I heard that the temperature dropped just as the women were starting, so there was no time to adjust wax even if we had realized the change.
While a few people managed to have pretty good skis, many of us out there had problems with icing on the uphills and dragging skis on the downhills.” Despite the weather, Vermont managed to claim two podium slots in the women’s 15k classic with Lucy Garrec’s win and Amy Glen’s third place finish. Dartmouth’s Sophie Caldwell was second. In the men’s 20k, Patrick Johnson of Middlebury secured his second EISA title of the weekend with the victory. Dartmouth’s Gordon Vermeer and David Sinclair finished second and third, respectively.
The University of Vermont and Dartmouth College both qualified full 12-skier rosters to compete at the NCAA Skiing Championships in Bozeman, Mont. from March 7 to 10.
Team scores at the conclusion of the EISA Championships:
- Vermont – 955
- Dartmouth – 848
- Middlebury – 724.5
- New Hampshire – 724.5
- Williams – 539.5
- St. Lawrence -518.5
- Colby – 502
- Bates – 488
- Harvard – 313.5
- St. Michael’s – 295.5
- Bowdoin – 183
- Maine Presque Isle – 131
- Plymouth State – 128
- Boston College – 111
- Colby-Sawyer – 70
- Clarkson – 19