Panthers finish 10th in NCAA Nordic skiing

STOWE — The Middlebury College ski team finished 10th this past weekend at the 2019 NCAA Ski Championships, hosted by the University of Vermont at Stowe Mountain Resort and the Trapp Family Lodge. Utah won the national title with 530.5 points, followed by Vermont (476), Colorado (455) and Dartmouth (447). Middlebury scored 150 points. 
Action began with Nordic skiing on Wednesday. Peter Wolter and Lewis Nottonson paced the Panther men in the 10-kilometer freestyle. Wolter took 15th in in 25:16, and Nottonson in 25:18. 
On the women’s side, Alexandra Lawson was 26th in the classic 5K in 14:31.  
In alpine action on Thursday Middlebury’s Justin Alkier finished ninth in the men’s giant slalom in 1:58.42, but two teammates fell. As a top-10 finisher Alkier earned All-American designation.
Middlebury’s top finisher in the women’s GS was Caroline Bartlett, who captured 11th in 2:02.90. Madison Lord placed 30th in 2:09.90.
In Friday’s Nordic racing Nottonson claimed 10th in the 20K classical race in 56:56. Wolter was 30th in 59:15.  
Nottonson, a resident of Addison, came back from 19th place in 12.4-mile race, to finish in the top 10 in the country, making the senior the Panthers’ sole Nordic “All-American” at this year’s NCAA meet.  He was second Eastern skier, behind UVM’s Ben Ogden. Middlebury was the top Division III school in the competition.
The mass-start race was held on a beautiful winter day with temperatures climbing into the 30s. Coaches and wax techs apply kick wax to the kick zone on the underside of the ski so that the skiers may propel themselves forward over the snow before initiating the glide phase. Temps around the freezing mark make it challenging to dial in the proper wax, and climbing temps during a race make it challenging for skiers, who rely on technique to keep from slipping, especially on the uphills.
According to a report from a spectator, Nottonson lost the front two packs, which formed early in the race, due to the blistering pace and single file nature of skiers gliding in the two pairs of tracks on the winding downhills of the open fields, preventing him from taking advantage of the benefit of drafting off of the skier immediately in front of him. Thus, he spent much of the race slowly clawing his way through the string of skiers as he moved toward the front.  
Also on Friday, Middlebury’s Avery Ellis was 18th in the women’s classical 15K, taking 18th in 49:40. Panther Annika Landis finished 25th spot in 50:25.  
On Saturday Caroline Bartlett paced the Panther women in the slalom, taking 19th (1:53.77). Madison Lord was 26th (1:55.80). All three Panther men missed gates and had to hike on either their first or second runs. Tim Gavett fared best and placed 24th.

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