By: Rick Bender
HANOVER, N.H. — The carnival season is upon the Dartmouth ski team, beginning with the St. Lawrence Carnival that starts with the giant slalom at Whiteface on Friday and concludes with the 10K Classic at Mt. Van Hoevenburg on Sunday with both sites hosting events on Saturday.
The Big Green are coming off a third-place finish at the 2018 NCAA Championship, their best showing since claiming third back in 2011. Although four of the 12 skiers that competed at the championships have graduated — all of whom earned All-America honors during their careers, including 2018 giant slalom champion Brian McLaughlin — Dartmouth has a deep and talented roster once again to make a run at the national title.
On the slopes, the men’s alpine team will be anchored by junior Tanguy Nef who won the slalom at the NCAA Championship and placed second in the GS for All-America First Team honors in both events. The Swiss native also finished on the podium in 10 of his 12 races during the season, tying for the team lead for any Big Green skier. Junior David Domonoske routinely finished in the top 10 last year, and sophomore Kalle Wagner picked up a podium stop in the GS at Williams during his rookie season, but senior James Ferri finally shook off injuries to give a glimpse of his abilities and could make a run for a top-three slot on the squad. Add in sophomore Peter Fucigna, a cast of other veterans and a pair of newcomers in Andrew Miller (Park City, Utah) and Devon Toribio (Mercer Island, Washington), and the men look to lead the charge in the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA).
For the women, three-time slalom All-American Alexa Dlouhy returns for one more run through the carnivals. The senior has 20 slalom races under her belt and landed on the podium a dozen times, providing a steady stream of points to the Dartmouth total week in and week out. Joining her will be junior Stephanie Currie, who finished as high as second in the GS and also competed at NCAAs last year, narrowly missed out on All-America honors in the slalom, placing 13th. Seniors Hannah Melinchuk and Audrey O’Brien will be pushed by a strong class of newcomers, particularly sophomore Tricia Mangan who competed at the Olympics at Pyeongchang and finished fourth in the super-G at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships last winter.
On the trails, we must begin with sophomore Katharine Ogden, who dominated the women’s Nordic field at the NCAA Championship last year, winning both the classical and freestyle races by more than 35 seconds each. She became the first Dartmouth skier in 56 years to win two titles in one season. But she won’t be alone at the top with All-Americans in senior Lydia Blanchet and junior Lauren Jortberg racing with her, as well as senior Taryn Hunt-Smith who placed in the top five seven times last year with one podium. That foursome alone makes the women’s team the most formidable in the EISA, and that doesn’t even include junior Abby Drach, who raced at NCAAs two years ago, senior Emily Hyde and junior Leah Brams, nor the quartet of freshmen looking to prove their worth.
The men return two of their three NCAA competitors from last season, led by Callan Deline. The senior earned a spot on the All-America Second Team in the classical race, then moved up to the first team in the freestyle race by placing fifth overall. Deline’s classmate, Gavin McEwen, excelled in the freestyle races a year ago with five top-six finishes and a podium before racing at the championship. A host of skiers will vie to fill that third slot with sophomore Adam Glueck as the frontrunner based on his six finishes in the top 11 during the carnival season as a rookie. Seniors Koby Gordon and Paolo Takagi-Atilano will have one more year to make their push while the rest of the roster is comprised of underclassmen, including a pair of freshmen.
The women will begin the carnival season with their first run in the giant slalom on Friday morning at 9 a.m. The men’s slalom kicks off Saturday’s activities at 9 a.m. with the women’s 5K freestyle race launching an hour later and the men competing in the 10K at 11:30 a.m. The 10K classical races begin on Sunday with the women at 10 a.m.