On Jan. 17-18 the Bates Nor- dic Ski teams kicked off the competitive season with the Harvard Carnival held in Craftsbury, Vt. The Bobcats placed sixth out of 15 teams with a combined Nordic and Alpine score of 420 points.
The Harvard Carnival was originally supposed to take place at the Dublin XC Ski Center in Dublin, N.H., yet lack of snow earlier last week pushed organizers to move the carnival to Vermont. With frigid temperatures of 11 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday and 16 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday plus wind chill, the weather conditions were far from ideal for the long ski races.
“Combatting the cold [was] definitely a challenge. We raced in zero or sub-zero temperatures this past weekend, which was tough on the body and the soul,” Team Captain Carter Ros said.
To stay warm, skiers not only wear lots of layers, taping their face to protect against frostbite, he said. They also bring extra clothes to wear before and after their race so they don’t have to stay in their sweaty race clothes for long.
The freestyle races began with a 30-second interval start for each athlete, while the classic races supported a mass start.
Team Captain Kaelyn Woods ‘20 led the women’s team in both races, placing 28th in the 5K skate (14:55.2) and 20th in 15K classic (48:41.2). Olivia Skillings ‘22 and Sarah Gal- lagher ‘23 crossed the finish in 56th (15:54.1) and 67th place (16:15.2) to help earn 41 total points for Bates in the 5K skate. Gallagher and Rebecca Feist ‘22 rounded out the team scoring the next day in the 15K classic, placing 50th (52:35.8) and 68th (55:47.6) to win 47 more points.
Although Annie Blakslee ‘20 placed 62th (54:38.6) in the 15K classic, she was not part of the six-member-scoring carnival team for Bates.
In total, there were 88 skiers competing in the women’s 5K skate, and 80 in the 15K classic.
On the men’s side, Henry Raff ‘22 led the Bobcats on the first day in the 10K skate plac- ing 58th (27:55.4), followed by first-years Zander Martin in 61st (28:17.8) and Cal Schrupp in 6th (27:48.8). These same three ski- ers scored for Bates on day two; Schrupp in front led Bates in the 20K classic finishing in 37th (58:12.6). Martin soon crossed the line to grab 48th (58:55.2) and Raff followed less than a minute later in 54th (59:45.1).
There were 92 skiers in the 10K skate and 88 in the 20K classic overall. Bates earned 26 carnival points in the men’s skate and 37 points in the classic. Two Bobcats additionally earned NCAA points: Woods received five points in the skate and 14 in the classic, while Schrupp grabbed three in the classic.
Underclassmen played an outsized role in this carnival; besides Woods, a senior, every one of the other six point scorers is an underclassman, half of which are freshmen.
Schrupp noted that one challenge during his first collegiate carnival was gauging his pace after the interval start. In this type of start, a single athlete begins the race after a set period of time, in this case every 30 seconds.
“Having everyone start at the same time made it easier to see how you are doing, because you can see where everyone else is,” Schrupp said, “But [the inter- val start], on top of the fact that the race was an hour long, made it very hard to read how I was doing with how I was feeling. In the end though, I think I man- aged to weigh and time all of this correctly and I am very happy with the weekend all together.”
For both the men’s and women’s teams, Bates won slightly more points in the classic technique than in the skate. Overall, the nordic team amassed 151 of Bates’ total 240 carni- val points to earn sixth, beating Williams by 29 points. The Uni- versity of Vermont (UVM) took first with a total score of 867.
“Our biggest strength [this season] is the positive energy and cohesiveness that exists around this team,” Ros said. “We have eight first years this season, who bring constant energy and passion allowing the team to feed off this energy and reach new heights.
“We are also guided by two of the best coaches in the business, Becky Woods and James Upham, which gives us a leg above the competition as we receiving invaluable guidance and coaching from these two amazing coaches,” he continued. “This all comes together perfectly with the fresh, young energy that the first years bring and should set us up for an- other fun and successful season.” This weekend, Bates Ski will once more travel to Bradbury, Vt. for the UVM Carnival. This event will feature shorter, faster events than the Harvard Carnival.