On January 20-21, the men’s and women’s nordic ski teams competed in the St. Michael’s Carnival at Sleepy Hollow in Huntington, Vermont. Parker McDonald ’18 and Kaelyn Woods ’20 led the men’s and women’s teams to a combined placement of eighth out of 12 teams at this event with 229 carnival points.

Despite the relatively warm weather this weekend, Bates posted a strong showing at the event with some standout performances to help push the Bobcats through the rankings.   

The men had some impressive results in the 10 kilometer classic on Saturday, earning 76 carnival points total during the event. McDonald raced a personal record of 24:58 in this race, placing sixth out of 97 collegiate skiers and earning 37 points. Following him to round out Bates’ point scorers were Graham Houtsma ’20 with a time of 25:54 in 22nd place and Leo Lukens ’20 in 54th place with a time of 26:54.

The women’s team raced the five kilometer classic on the first day of the carnival. Taking 22nd place in a field of 87 skiers, Woods raced a time of 14:20, earning 22 carnival points for Bates. Zoe McKinney ’21 came in second for Bates, placing 54th with a time of 15:12. Samantha Pierce ’19 followed close behind and placed 66th in 15:30.

At the end of the first day, the men’s team was tied with Bowdoin for fifth place and the women’s team held 10th place with 39 carnival points.

“Parker was sixth yesterday, which was awesome,” Woods says. “[It] put the team in a really good place going into day two.”

There was no break for the Bobcats this weekend. On Sunday, both teams were back at it for the second day of the event. Here, the men raced the 15 kilometer and the women raced the 10 kilometer freestyle.

McDonald once again led Bates’ men in a time of 39:57, placing 17th out of 86 athletes and earning 25 carnival points for the team. As in the classic 10 kilometer race the day before, Houtsma and Lukens rounded out Bates’ point scoring trio with times of 40:12 and 41:47, placing 19th and 48th respectively.

On the women’s side, Woods also came in first for the Bobcats in a personal record time of 30:04. She placed eighth out of 80 skiers in the race and earned 33 carnival points for her efforts. In 50th place, McKinney crossed the finish line in a time of 32:31; not long after, Annie Blakslee ’20 came in 61st place with a time of 33:37 to earn Bates’ final points of the event.

“It’s really fun,” Woods comments. “The racing in the EISA in college is just so fun, the atmosphere around it, getting to see all the teams every weekend. It’s a hard sport but you feel pretty good afterwards.”

In total, the men’s team earned 137 points and the women earned 92 for a total of 229 carnival points. Throughout the competition, McDonald, Houtsma, and Woods earned 54, 23 and 43 NCAA points respectively.

“I thought we did really well,” Houtsma says. “I think it was a really good weekend for us. The team’s looking good right now which is all that matters…We didn’t really have too good of a season last year but things are looking up this season.”

   Until their next competition at the University of Vermont Carnival in Stowe, Vermont next weekend, the nordic ski teams will continue to train hard and wear their new, bright red pom pom hats conspicuously around campus.

“We just got brand new hats, so we’re all sporting the Bates skiing hats,” Woods says. “It makes it really easy to find us.”