Ski Teams Finish Third at Season-Opening Bates Carnival

Heather Mooney won her second-straight event, capturing the 5K free.
Heather Mooney won her second-straight event, capturing the 5K free.

The Middlebury ski teams began their carnival season by competing at the Bates Carnival on Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, the Panthers improved one spot to finish third overall. Vermont won the event with 914 points, followed by Dartmouth (854), Middlebury (720) and UNH (706).

During Friday’s action, the nordic women had a great day on the 15K classic course, placing second overall. Middlebury was led by senior Heather Mooney (Peru, Vt.), who won the event with a time of 49:33. The Panthers featured three racers in the top 11, as junior Kelsey Phinney (Boulder, Colo.) finished 10th overall in 50:02. Just behind her was senior Stella Holt (Whitefish, Mont.), who placed 11th with a time of 50:11.

On the men's side, three Panthers finished among four racers during the 20K classic race. Sophomore Patrick McElravey (Tahoe City, Calif.) led the group in 27th place, finishing with a time of 1:02.42. Next up was sophomore Adam Luban (Syracuse, N.Y.) in 1:02.48, who was just six seconds behind in 28th place, while rookie Evan Weinman (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) was 30th (1:02.50).

The men's alpine team also had a big day, with two finishers in the top three to help the squad win the GS. Sophomore Rob Cone (Killington, Vt.) led the field with a combined time of 2:10.14, including a blistering 1:05.85 in the first run (almost two seconds faster than any other competitor). Not far behind was sophomore Christopher McKenna (West Hartford, Vt.), who earned a third-place finish in 2:11.27. Rounding out the team's scorers was junior Ghassan Gedeon Achi (Dubai, United Arab Emirates), who covered the course in 2:13.30 to place 13th.

Senior Mary Sackbauer (Vail, Colo.) led the Panther women, finishing with a time of 2:16.21 to place 11th in the GS. Senior Kara Shaw (Hanover, N.H.) was next for Middlebury in 24th place (2:17.56), followed by junior Elle Gilbert (Woodstock, Vt.) in 25th (2:17.59).

On Saturday, the women's nordic team took home the 5K freestyle title, as the men's slalom team finished second to highlight the day.

Mooney earned her second win of the weekend for the Panthers, finishing with a time of 15:52 taking home the title in the 5K freestyle race. Phinney was next for Middlebury, finishing fifth overall (14:22), while Holt was the third Panther in the top 10 with a time of 14:44, good for 10th place.

The men's team saw its top effort come from Luban, who covered the 10K free course in 24:55, finishing in 10th place. McElravey came in with a time of 25:13 to finish 15th overall. The finishes for Luban and McElravey were both personal bests. Junior Jack Steele (Whitefish, Mont.) rounded out the Panther scorers in 34th place (26:21).

On the alpine slopes, Cone, who won the GS on Friday, finished second in the slalom by just .03 seconds, coming in with a time of 1:44.78. McKenna earned a 12th-place finish in the event (1:46.12), while sophomore Colin Hayes (Evergreen, Colo.) was 18th (1:46.78).

Sackbauer earned a top-10 finish in the slalom event to pace the women, coming in ninth overall with a time of 1:51.20. Shaw was next for Middlebury in 18th place in 1:52.68, while Gilbert crossed the line in 22nd (1:53.66).

• Ski teams compete at Bates Carnival
• Up next: 1/23-24 @ Vermont Carnival