2018 Nordic Skiing Preview

(L-R): Cate Brams and Adam Luban along with teammates open the nordic season on January 13-14 at the Colby Carnival.
(L-R): Cate Brams and Adam Luban along with teammates open the nordic season on January 13-14 at the Colby Carnival.

The Middlebury nordic ski teams both return relatively experienced groups back to the race course for the 2018 season. Last year's team results saw the Panthers come on strong with third-place finishes in the final three carnivals of the season prior to NCAA competition.

On the men's side, junior Lewis Nottonson qualified for the NCAA Championships a year ago and will look to build on his impressive season. His best individual finish of the season came at Middlebury, when he placed sixth overall in the 20K freestyle event. He finished 11th earlier in the year during the 10K free event at St. Lawrence.

Senior Adam Luban and junior Sam Wood narrowly missed the NCAAs a year ago and will look to move up in the rankings this winter. Luban's best individual effort last year came at the Dartmouth Carnival, where he finished ninth overall in the 10K classic event. Wood's personal-best finish a year ago was at the Vermont Carnival when he crossed the line ninth in the 10K classic.

Senior Evan Weinman began last winter with a ninth-place effort in the classic sprints at St. Lawrence. He earned four other top-10 finishes during the year, including a 10th-place finish in the freestyle sprints at the University of Vermont. Senior Jacob Volz is primed to have a breakout season for the Panthers as one of the team's top racers.

Sophomores Gabe Mahoney and Max Polito gained experience a year ago and will join a pair of first-year racers who will look to break onto the carnival squad.

The women's team boasts a pair of experienced seniors who are coming off strong seasons with hopes of NCAA qualification this year. Cate Brams and Katie Feldman were the team's top-two finishers in many of the races in 2017. Brams' best individual finish came at the EISA Championships hosted by Bates, where she came in sixth overall in the 5K classic. In the freestyle sprint at the Vermont Carnival, she earned a fifth-place finish. Feldman crossed the line in 15th place in the 10K classic at UVM for her top individual finish of the season.

With no juniors on the squad, four sophomores follow on the depth chart, all of which have carnival racing experience. Alex Cobb, Sophia Hodges, Annika Landis and Orli Schwartz comprise the group that will battle for points during carnival races. Joining them will be a pair of first-year racers who look to challenge the returners.

Lead by head coach Andrew Johnson, now in his fifth season at the helm of the program, the Panthers began their season with a November camp in Stoneham, Quebec, and pick things up after the winter break with a training and racing camp in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec. Middlebury's six-carnival schedule begins with the Colby Carnival on January 13-14. St. Michael's, Vermont, Dartmouth and Williams will host before action comes to Middlebury for the EISA Championships on February 23-24. The NCAA Championships are slated for March 7-10 and will be hosted by the University of Colorado.