Feb. 19, 2012
The 98th running of the Williams Carnival was held this past weekend at the Jiminy Peak ski resort in Hancock, Mass. After a difficult three days on the road the previous weekend at the Dartmouth Carnival and UNH makeup GS, the team was eager for redemption. Due to the warm conditions on Thursday night, the Slalom was moved to Friday and the GS pushed back.
The men's team qualified two athletes for a second run. Junior Stacey Bolger toughed out a strong 49th place first run finish from bib 71. Bolger finished his second run with some trouble, but was disqualified for straddling a gate mid course. The men's team was carried by a fantastic performance from junior Jimmy Campbell. From bib 82 Campbell qualified for a second run with a 51st place finish. Campbell ran well despite the marginal course conditions to finish 38th on the day, moving up 44 spots while turning heads on the hill.
The women skied to their best team finish of the year, scoring three in the top 40. The day was led by sophomore Katie Cutting, who finished 29th on the day, scoring team and NCAA points. Starting at bib 60 Cutting had a career day and led the team to an 8th place finish. Close on her heels were season best performances from junior Kelly Burgart (starting bib 62 and finishing 37th) and freshman Shannon Quinn (starting bib 60 and finishing 38th). Junior Alexandra Boit qualified for a second run with a 55th place first run finish, but did not finish the second run. Notably, the women's team beat out D1 powerhouses UVM and UNH with strong and consistent skiing.
Jiminy Peak's Giant Slalom trail offers one of New England's toughest venues for this event. Both courses offered a difficult mix that required athletes to be tactical and strong. Snow conditions changed dramatically from extremely hard on the upper steeps, to rutted and soft on the lower. The women's team was led by a season best finish from Quinn. From bib 68, Quinn qualified for a second run with a 42nd place finish. She missed the top 30 flip by a mere .87 seconds, showing how tight the field stacked up. Quinn skied well again in her second run to take a team-best 39th place finish, leading the team on the weekend by scoring 29 team points for the Eagles. K. Burgart qualified for a second run for the second day in a row, finishing 48th from the 73rd bib. Boit continued her late season surge with a 50th place finish. K. Burgart and Quinn carried the Eagles squad, scoring nearly half of the entire team's points between the two days.
The men faced the same technical courses with substantially deteriorated conditions. The team was again led by Bolger who finished 37th on the day after starting near the back of the pack. Bolger finished 51st on the second run and completed an incredibly difficult course that took out a good portion of the field. Bolger's finish was a season best and kept the men's team in contention. The field was incredibly competitive with the first 50 athletes within 5 seconds of the leader after the first run.
The team is off to the last college event of the season next weekend at the NCAA Eastern Regional Championships at the Middlebury Snow Bowl. As an NCAA event, this race will be a USSA race where the Eagles will take advantage of improved starting positions.