RUMFORD, Maine. – First-year Rémi Drolet placed first out of nearly 75 competitors in the men's 20km classic race on Friday, the first day of competition. Drolet became the first Harvard male nordic skier to win a race since the 1972-1973 season, helping the team to an eighth place finish. Junior Nellie Ide had one of the best performances of the decade in the women's slalom, placing fifth. The squad brought in a total of 373 points throughout the duration of the weekend.
Day one of the carnival was a snowy one at both competition locations, with wind averaging 10-15 MPH and temperatures in the mid 20's. At Sunday River, the day consisted of spitting rain and ice. Ide notched her career-best finish, placing fifth overall in the women's slalom racing. Ide placed eighth in run one, followed by a huge third-place finish in the second run to bump her up to fifth. From first to fifth place, there was only a little over a second spread. Ide's performance gives her the best finish in a women's slalom race since the 2011-12 season (Rebecca Nadler / 3rd). Sophomore Emma Ryan would be the only other skier for the women to qualify for run two, placing 39th out of nearly 50 competitors.
The men's alpine squad had three athletes – seniors Carter Kendig and Robert Dorfman, as well as sophomore Jack Despres – qualify for run two. The course proved to be challenging, as only Dorfman finished the second run. Dorfman placed 39th, and brought in nine points for his team. His performance marks the first time he qualified for the second run this season.
On the nordic side of competition, it was a historic day for the group. The weather made the trail a difficult task, as there was snow, rain, and sleet mixed throughout the day. Drolet broke away early alongside two-time EISA skier of the week Ben Ogden (UVM), staying well in front of the rest of the skiers for the entirety of the race. Drolet and Ogden stayed toe-to-toe coming down to the last 1km, facing a steep, long, uphill climb followed by a downhill slope to the finish. Climbing up the hill, Drolet stayed by Ogden until he reached the top, jumping ahead of him and breaking away in the last 500m to the finish. Drolet's finish marks the first time the Crimson has placed first in a nordic race since Anna McLoon '04 in the 2003-04 season (5km classic).
Sophomore James Kitch notched his second top-10 performance of the season, coming in at 7th (59:17.4). Sophomore Liam McInroy captured the best performance of his career after placing 19th (1:01:00.6). With three top-20 performances, the men brought in 107 points, placing second. The team's finish marks the first time a team has placed second in a race during nordic head coach Chris City's tenure.
Contesting in the women's 15km classic race, first-year Annabel Hagen led the Crimson with a 36th place finish (50:41.5). Senior Teagan Thorley crossed the line right behind Hagen in 38th, grabbing 14 points for the team. First-year Lily Brunelle was the last athlete to earn Harvard points, placing 51st. Sophomore Ursula Volz finished 52nd behind Brunelle.
The second day of the Carnival brought three more top-25 finishes for the men in the 10k freestyle, led by Drolet in 7th. Senior William Rhatigan placed 18th (24:39.5), while McInroy crossed the line in 25th out of the 82 competitors. On the women's side, Thorley led the Crimson in the 5k freestyle coming in at 34th (14:13.6), followed by Hagen in 49th and Brunelle in 52nd. Day two of the Bates Carnival brought in 125 points for the team from the nordic crew.
On the alpine side, Ryan represented the women in the giant slalom races, placing 38th and bringing in nine points. Despres had a great day on the course, garnering a top-15 finish, coming in at 14th (2:17.21) on the day. Kendig placed 44th and brought in six points.
- Drolet finished 10 seconds faster than second-place in the 20km classic (55:49.5). His performance makes him the sixth Harvard male cross country skier to win, seventh overall.
- Ide's 5th place finish is the highest of her career, and the highest women's slalom performance since Rebecca Nadler '12 in the 2011-12 season.
- Kitch brought in his second top-ten performance of the season.
- Despres lead the alpine squad in the second day of the carnival, placing top-15.
The Crimson is splitting states to compete in the Williams Carnival next weekend, Feb. 14-15, for its last regular-season contest. The alpine team will stay in Mass. for the only time this season to compete at Jiminy Peak, while the nordic group will head to Woodford, Vt.