The Bates Nordic and alpine skiing teams had a fruitful trip to Sugarloaf Mountain for the Colby Carnival this weekend, showcasing the depth and potential they possess.
The first event of the Carnival took place on Friday, as the men’s and women’s alpine teams competed in the giant slalom. For the Bates men, several first-year skiers starred. Max Lash’s combined time of 2:06.72 earned him 35th place out of 63 total competitors, while fellow first-year Michael Cooper was slightly more than a second behind Lash, finishing in 2:07.96 and 44th place. Senior captain Tanner Dirstine came in 46th, meaning that Bates ended in 11th place out of 13 teams.
On the women’s side, upperclassmen came to the fore. Junior Kelsey Chenoweth placed 13th out of 55 competitors, and sophomores Sierra Ryder (16th) and Hannah Johnson (19th) also finished in the top 20. Based on the trio’s strong runs, Bates’ women finished fifth in the 13-school competition.
After a night’s rest, the same core group for the Bobcats had another great day, this time in the not-so-giant slalom. Chenoweth was 12th of 55 racers with a combined time of 1:35.85, while Ryder placed 13th and Johnson 15th. Ultimately, that performance positioned the women’s alpine squad in fourth place out of 13 teams. The men also placed two skiers, with Cooper finishing 23rd of 65 racers and senior captain Chris Bradbury 44th.
For the Nordic teams, the 15-kilometer race and the freestyle sprint relays were the order of business for the weekend. Both teams were sixth of 13 schools in the 15-kilometer event based on contributions from many members, not just one standout. In a 92-competitor race, the Bates women had five skiers in the top 30, as senior captain Gracie Wright (12th) led the way, followed by juniors Laurel Fiddler (19th) and Sadie James (22nd), sophomore Halie Lange (26th), and senior Britta Clark (30th). Senior Corky Harrer crossed the line first for the men in 22nd out of 85 racers, with sophomore Parker McDonald in 25th and junior captain Max Millslagle in 31st also turning in impressive performances.
Ties don’t happen very frequently in a sport with miniscule margins like skiing, but Bates was involved in two ties during the final event of the Carnival on Sunday, the freestyle sprint relay. Incredibly, both the men (tied for fifth) and the women (tied for fourth) finished with identical scores to Middlebury. The duos of Wright and Clark, senior Helen Sudkamp-Walker and Lange, and juniors Fiddler and James came in seventh, eighth, and ninth respectively in the 45-pair field. The men’s pair of Millslagle and McDonald finished 15th, and their teammates junior Nathan Moreau and Harrer were 17th.
Overall, the combined Nordic and alpine teams placed seventh out of 16 teams, right behind Middlebury, Colby, and Williams, and ahead of Bowdoin in 11th. The alpine team will stay busy, competing in the University of Vermont Carnival this weekend, while the Nordic squad has a week off before they travel to Stowe, Vermont for the Nordic portion of the Carnival on February 6 and 7.