Panthers excel at winter carnival

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College ski team rode strong second-day performances by its men’s and women’s alpine skiers to finish third at its own 92nd annual winter carnival this past weekend, the squad’s best finish of this winter’s season.
The Panther ski teams will next compete at the St. Lawrence Carnival on Feb. 27 and 28. That carnival will double as the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association championships this season.
Vermont kept its 2015 streak alive by winning the carnival with 931 points, followed by Dartmouth (788) and Middlebury (783), with New Hampshire (773) in fourth. Nordic races were held at the Rikert Nordic Center, while alpine events took place at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl.
On Saturday, the women’s alpine team turned in its best performance of the season, winning the giant slalom by placing racers three through five in the event, the best finishes of the year for each racer. Katelyn Barclay led the pack in third place with a two-run combined time of 2:13.14. On her heels was Mary Sackbauer, who crossed the line in 2:13.88. Elle Gilbert rounded out the winning team in fifth place in 2:14.00.
On the men’s side, the alpine team took second in the giant slalom as Rob Cone led the pack of three Panthers in the top six. Leading after one run, he slipped back a bit on his second effort to take third place (2:09.60). Christopher McKenna posted a solid fifth-place finish in 2:09.71. Earning his best result of the season was Riley Plant, who came in sixth in 2:09.86.
Both Middlebury alpine teams placed third in the slalom on Friday. Cone earned his third second-place finish of the season, finishing in 1:31.37. Colin Hayes crossed the line in 1:33.00 to place ninth, his best effort of the season. McKenna rounded out the team’s scorers in 12th in 1:33.08.
Sackbauer earned a season-best sixth-place finish in the slalom in 1:42.99 for the Middlebury women. Katy Green also turned in her best performance of the season, coming in 16th in 1:46.43. Gilbert wasn’t far behind in 19th, crossing the line in 1:46.51.
At Rikert on Saturday, Heather Mooney followed up a win in the women’s 10-kilometer classic on Friday with a second-place finish in the 5K freestyle on Saturday in 16:11. Stella Holt followed in 15th place in 17:13, while Nicolette Amber placed 18th in 17:20.
On Friday, Mooney headlined the action for the Middlebury women with her sixth win to lead the Panthers to victory in the women’s 10K classic. Mooney covered the course in 31:01, 10 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. Holt turned in a personal-best finish of sixth in 2015, with a time of 32:06. Rounding out the scorers was Amber, who placed 17th in 33:26.
On Saturday, Patrick McElravey was the top performer for the Middlebury College men’s Nordic team in the 10K free, coming in eighth place in 26:20. Next was Adam Luban in 24th (27:12), while Jacob Volz was the team’s other scorer.
McElravey led the Middlebury men by placing 14th in the 10K classic in 27:10. Luban was next for the Panthers in 18th place (27:32), followed by Evan Weinman in 26th (27:52).

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