After a weekend of struggle at the Dartmouth Carnival, where UNH skiing dropped below Vermont, Dartmouth and Middlebury for a fourth place overall score, the Wildcats had hoped to recover some of that lost ground at this weekend’s Middlebury Carnival. It didn’t go quite as well as they’d intended, but the team has every reason to be optimistic in the following weeks.
Already physically tapped out due to several weekends of skiing in a row, the ‘Cats nordic team caught some bad luck when they lost several of their skiers due to sickness. That included three of their six men’s nordic skiers, who normally put in a substantial contribution for the team.
UNH finished in fourth place overall for the second weekend in a row, this time behind Middlebury, UVM and Dartmouth. Those teams had 750, 816 and 1027 points, respectively. The Wildcats’ modest 648 was enough to solidify their spot ahead of Williams College, the next best team.
Despite similar results to last weekend’s carnival, nordic coach Cory Schwartz didn’t feel as confident in his team’s performance.
“I thought we did better last weekend. It’s tough when you’re limited in terms of how many skiers you have, and if you look at the points, we probably had our worst numbers of the year. Although those who weren’t sick came together and did well, all things considered,” Schwartz said.
Schwartz chose to speak highly of his team and their ability to fight through the adversity. To lose critical scorers and still place fourth overall is a testament to the ‘Cats’ resilience.
The NCAA Regional Championships are approaching quickly and UNH is focused entirely on getting ready for it.
“You’ve got to wish this weekend didn’t turn out the way it did, but it’s over. We’re focused on moving forward now by making sure our qualifiers are ready for the next few weeks,” Schwartz said.
Things looked more optimistic this weekend for the alpine team. Coach Brian Blank was thankful to have a complete and healthy team. Some of his best skiers this weekend, Lisa Wedsjö, Peter Martins and Emma Woodhouse, all put up impressive numbers to end the weekend on a high note. Martins finished 12th in the slalom, his best numbers since joining UNH skiing. Woodhouse, a freshman, continues to impress with one of her best finishes of the year, placing ninth in the grand slalom.
Blank feels strongly about nationals, and the path lying ahead of them.
“We feel prepared for next weekend at Sunday River. Our top skiers are starting to reach their peak on the season as NCAA’s approach, and with a little more training over at Cannon [Mountain], they’ll be ready for nationals,” Blank said.
The ‘Cats will participate in the NCAA Regional Championships on Feb. 24-25 at Black Mountain and Sunday River.
For more information, visit unhwildcats.com.