The Williams men led the team today at the UNH Criterium in Jackson, NH, exchanging the lead with the top skiers from Bates and UNH, and skiing in a pack for most of the race. The criterium format had the men and women each ski as many laps as they could for 20 minutes on the wide, perfectly groomed sprint course and then finish out the race with three final laps. The weather was beautiful, a little chilly, but quite sunny and most of us are sporting slight sunburns from spending the morning outside.
In the men's race, Williams skiers led at times, alternating with the top skiers from UNH (Dylan McGuffin and Steve Bedard) and Bates (Sylvan Ellefson and Sam Evans Brown). Alex Taylor finally emerged as the top Eph, finishing 3rd in a sprint finish over Ellefson. Bedard (UNH) took the top spot with Evans Brown (Bates) close behind. Evan and Keith came together for 6th and 7th, just behind McGuffin of UNH. Dimitri took 9th with Sam and Caleb right behind. Erik, Nick, Robby, and David all looked strong and moved up through the field in the last two laps of the race to finish well.
The women had a tougher time overcoming a dominant Middlebury squad, who took several of the top places. Kirsten led the women's team, despite having her glove and pole ripped off her hand in a pileup of skiers, with Holly and Sarah skiied together towards to the end of the race for a close finish following Kirsten. Liz, Maddy, skiing with a sore shoulder, and Gabby finished it off for Williams.
The team will ski in Jackson tomorrow morning before heading home to Williamstown for week two of winter study and a trip to Rumford next weekend for the Eastern Cup.
The men's mass start.
Evan and A-Tay right on the heels of the leaders.
Erik looks good in his first race.
Sam goes stride for stride with a UVM racer.
Evan and Keith controlling the pace.
The men, with Caleb in the lead, on the first uphill of the sprint course during the second lap of the race.
Evan and A-Tay power up the final hill of the sprint course mid-race...
...with Dimitri and Keith close behind.
Robby looking fast on a sharp downhill corner.
The sharp downhill corner in the sprint course.
Nick getting forward on the hill.
The lead pack of women early in the race.
Sarah and Liz skiing together with two laps to go.
Gabby goes after a UVM racer.
Maddy and fellow Minnesotan and former high school teammate Katie Walsh of UNH.
Sarah and Holly, all smiles after a tough race!