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More NCAA’s






NCAA week rolls on here in Utah. Stella and Heather did a skate workout with a few intervals this morning, Ben took some good pics and did some homework, and the coaches tested wax!

This evening we made our way up to Park City for the NCAA banquet, after which we convened fireside for some formal team pictures with a waterfowl theme.



Racing action starts tomorrow with the GS races in Park City, and continues on Thursday with the 5/10K classic races at Soldier Hollow. Follow all the action via live webcast at the links below. GO MIDD!!


Wednesday, March 5 Men’s/Women’s GS


Thursday, March 6 Men’s/Women’s Classic


Friday, March 7 Men’s/Women’s Slalom


Saturday, March 8 Men’s/Women’s Skate

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On Friday our NCAA team traveled to Utah for some training and prep ahead of next week’s NCAA Championships. The nordic portion of the Championships is at Soldier Hollow, which was the 2002 Olympic venue for nordic skiing, nordic combined, and biathlon. We also raced US National Championships here in January, so we have a good feel for the venue and courses. We’ll race a 5/10K classic on Thursday the 6th, and a 15/20K skate on Saturday, the 9th.

This year we qualified Heather Mooney, Stella Holt, and Ben Lustgarten. Kelsey Phinney and Austin Cobb ended the “regular season” just outside of qualifying – a couple strokes of luck in a different direction and they’d be with us, but sometimes that’s the way the ball rolls!


There’s not a lot of snow at “SoHo”… The race trail has good coverage but the rest of the area is pretty brown! Skiing has been excellent, though.


It’s a sticky situation in the wax room…


Heather and I did a little intensity workout today. After the cold of Vermont the last several weeks, the 50 degrees and sun of Utah is going to take a little getting used to. Heather skied great and we had a lot of fun skiing fast around the race loop!



Ben hurt his knee last week during Midd Carnival. We were optimistic that he’d be ready to race this week, but ultimately the injury is a little too serious for that to happen. We all feel for Ben and know that no one wants to be a part of the action more than he does – he’s had his eye on these races for a very, very long time. Though it may not be too easy for him to see now, Ben will move on to race in many bigger and more important races – and on bigger and more impressive stages – and we look forward to cheering him on in the future. In a year fraught with injuries and obstacles, Ben put together some great races including a 6th at US Nationals and a big win at Midd Carnival. More importantly, the guy known as “dad” by his teammates did all of this (and continues to do so) with remarkable passion and aplomb. Though we wish he was racing, we’re happy to have Ben with us this week. He’s taking some good pics, doing a lot of pushups, and being the same great teammate he’s been for 4 years.



Stay tuned for more updates – and good luck tomorrow to our junior skiers Patrick McElravey, Adam Luban, and Kelsey Phinney at Junior Nationals in Stowe! I have a feeling it’s gonna be a good day to be a Panther!




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Middlebury Carnival

Now that the dust has settled, it’s remarkable to look back on what an outstanding event the Middlebury Carnival was. Though we had some interesting weather for the classic race on Friday, the Rikert crew and our race volunteers did a great job in putting on a world class event.

We have 3 seniors on the team, and each left their mark in an indelible way on their final weekend of EISA racing.


Ben Lustgarten crushed the field in the 10K classic on Friday, winning with a 50 second gap on a stacked field. His result was impressive for too many reasons to list here, and is a testament to a season (and college career) characterized by a tenacity and resolve that is truly special.


Ben of course celebrated in appropriate fashion after receiving his syrupy reward!

Austin Cobb, a senior and second year captain, suffered a rough bout of food poisoning a few days prior to the Carnival. As of Thursday he’d managed to knock down some saltines and proclaimed himself good to go! He may not have had the best races of his life but I’d wager that he raced the hardest and toughest of anyone out there. Austin takes some serious pride in this event and let it show, scoring for the team in both races.


Congrats and thanks, Austin, on all you’ve done to help lead this team!

Emily Attwood is the lone senior on the women’s side. She brought her A-game to her final carnival and had the best classic result of her career on Friday with a 17th!



“Squirrel” enjoyed a celebratory dance with Patty on Friday evening…



Thanks, Squirrel, for working hard, keeping the mood light, and being an exemplary teammate!

We had lots of other good races this weekend and the team’s attitude, perspective, and approach – whether they were racing, helping with the races, cheering, or consoling – was the best of the year and made for a fitting end to the Carnival season.


First-year Adam Luban scored his best result of the season with a 17th in the 20K skate race.



Dylan McGarthwaite had his best weekend of the season – both on the results sheet and in the hair department – and the guys skied a great team race on Saturday.





Kelsey and Stella battled hard on Saturday and raced to 14th and 17th, respectively!










Many thanks to the Rikert staff, the Middlebury athletics department, Stever, Patty, Abby, and many, many volunteers for making this a great event. Onward we go! NCAA’s, Junior Nationals, Spring Series…there’s lots of winter left and this group is just getting warmed up!


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Carnival Update

Here we are, four weeks down, two to go, and yet this is only the second post about carnivals this season. It’s incredible how quickly the season is going by; I’ve been meaning to update the blog since UNH carnival, yet here I am, two short weeks later, finally doing it. So, apologies to the readers.

Anyway, the season has continued to be an exciting one for your Middlebury Panthers. The skiable trails at Rikert have slowly expanded to include pretty much every one at this point and the snow gods have blessed us with some white fluffy stuff on campus.

As for racing, UNH carnival in Jackson, NH provided many exciting features. For one, we were staying right across from the race venue at a hotel that also provided fabulous breakfasts and dinners. I remember seeing Jack’s face at the breakfast buffet in the morning; he was practically in a panic because there were so many delicious looking options. The race course was also a highlight as it featured a trail called The Wave, which had numerous humps, bumps, and turns. A tremendous race highlight on one of those very turns can be seen here if you have facebook.

[caption id="attachment_4053" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Squirrel (Emily Attwood) has been on fire this year. Squirrel (Emily Attwood) has been on fire this year.[/caption]

On both days, the ladies decided to stick together, as Kelsey, Heather, and Stella went 7, 8, 9 in the classic 5k on friday and then the three of them along with Kaitlin skied the majority of the 15k mass start together, finishing in spots 9 through 12. It was pretty sweet to watch those four ladies rip around the course in a Panther pack, and I heard it was even sweeter to be a part of it.

The guys had a nice weekend too, with Adam performing strongly in his first carnival starts ever and Dmac having his first carnival races of 2014.

[caption id="attachment_4051" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Adam pushing it with Kelsey cheering him on. Adam gunning it with Kelsey cheering.[/caption]

UVM Carnival brought about many monumental moments for the team. In the classic sprint on Saturday, the women WON the day (!!!!) with Stella achieving a personal best 3rd place (!!!), with Heather right behind in 4th, and Kelsey in 10th. They dominated the difficult course, skiing strongly throughout and then laying down the hammer on the final hill into the finish. That hill was pretty brutal too, as it went from essentially the low-point of the course to the high-point in the last 0.3k. Also, big ups to Heather who raced the heats like a boss to end the day as the top collegiate skier and to Stella who, along with a 4th place on Sunday, earned EISA skier of the week!

On that same Saturday, the guys had some highlights of their own. I had my first carnival top 10 in 10th, Patrick had his first top 20 in 18th, Jack had his first top 30 in 25th, and Nick had his first top 40 in 35th. Clearly, we showed our prowess in the speed category as so many successes were had on the one sprint day during the carnival season.

[caption id="attachment_4049" align="aligncenter" width="198"]Stella on the podium! Stella on the podium![/caption]

All in all, it was an exciting day for the team, though the tragic passing of a great friend and member of the ski community, Torin Tucker, put it all in perspective. He took his last breath doing the very thing we all love so much, ski racing. It really reminded us all how blessed we all are to be able to go skiing every day, appreciating the camaraderie, the wilderness, and the simple yet wonderful feeling of gliding on our skis. Our hearts still ache for him, and our thoughts have continued to go out to the Dartmouth team as well as his family and friends.

Last weekend, we raced Dartmouth carnival in Craftsbury, VT, the very place Torin was racing when he passed on. Thanks to Annie Hart, Erik Fagerstrom, and many others a very powerful ski took place on Thursday afternoon. Almost the entire EISA circuit skied out to the spot where Torin died to pay our respects. A beautiful cairn was awaiting us as some memories of Torin’s last race were shared. Then many took the opportunity to finish Torin’s final 8k for him on a truly beautiful evening. The course wound through untouched, open fields of fresh snow and some tighter, tranquil sections of forest. The sun was setting on a slightly cloudy evening, filling the sky with fabulous orange and purple colors. The ceremonial ski was amazing; I have never felt so close to so many people while skiing.

[caption id="attachment_4052" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Alia in her strong race at Craftsbury. Alia in her strong race at Craftsbury.[/caption]

On Sunday after the races, in which the team put out solid efforts but fell short in the results, we went on another incredible ski with the UVM team. It was a point-to-point that again wound through open fields and forest. The trail consisted of a lot of downhills too, meaning many fun turns and jumps were made by all. The two hour ski was another highlight to cap off a wonderful weekend in Craftsbury.

So, there is a nice little catch up, highlighting some of the standout moments for our team. Sorry for the delay. Oh also, thanks A TON to all the parents. We have had incredible lunches every race that are both delicious and nutritious. Without them, we truly would be lost. Anyway, check back after the weekend to hear about Williams Carnival! (Thanks to Stella for the pictures!)

[caption id="attachment_4050" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Lusty had some boss feeds during the classic 20k. Lusty had some boss feeds during the classic 20k.[/caption]


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Save The Date: February 22nd. Winter Carnival Reception

Middlebury Ski Team Alumni and Friends of Skiing Winter Carnival Reception

You are cordially invited to join current Middlebury Ski Team members, as well as the coaching staff, in celebrationof the Middlebury Winter Carnival


WHEN:    Saturday, February 22nd, 2014


                6:00 p.m.


WHERE:  Two Brothers Tavern (lounge downstairs)


                Middlebury, Vermont

 The reception will include light food and beverages.

We hope to see you there.




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Go Ben!

Back in early January Ben Lustgarten qualified for the U23 World Championships with some strong racing at US Nationals in Utah. Today, Ben raced the 15K Classic at the U23′s in Val di Fiemme, Italy. Ben finished 30th – a great race that we’re very proud of!


[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="300"] It was snowing throughout the race and looked to be a tough day for classic waxing and skiing.[/caption]



[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="300"] Underway![/caption]


Ben’s been in Italy since early last week training with the rest of the U23 and Junior World Team in preparation for these races. While we have missed him and eagerly await his return, it’s been fun to watch all of his hard work be rewarded.


[caption id="attachment_4009" align="alignnone" width="300"]Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 6.32.04 AM Nearing the finish…[/caption]



[caption id="attachment_4010" align="alignnone" width="300"]Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 6.32.14 AM Finishing…[/caption]


Ben will race again on Saturday in the 30K pursuit. Thus far the U23 races have been aired live at - I don’t know if that’ll continue but if so Ben races at 5:30 AM on Saturday.


[caption id="attachment_4011" align="alignnone" width="300"]Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 6.32.15 AM Done!![/caption]


The rest of the Midd nordic team will head to Stowe this weekend for the UVM Carnival. We’ll race a classic sprint on Saturday and a skate race on Sunday.

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So it Begins!

With January comes the real start to our racing season. The team has been somewhat split up at different races across the country in the past few weeks, but we were happy to come together this weekend for our first carnival.

Nine members of the team met in Park City, UT for races at U.S. Nationals during the first week of January. Overall, the team was able to post respectable results against a field of many of the best skiers in the country, professional, collegiate and otherwise. Kelsey had an excellent day of racing in the 10k classic race while for the first time, Heather qualified for the open heats of the skate sprint. Austin barely missed the open heats of the skate sprint while Patrick qualified in an impressive 8th later in the week in the classic sprint.


Ben had a fantastic week of racing placing in the top ten for both of the distance races with a 6th in the 15k classic and a 10th in the 30k skate mass start. His results earned him the Collegiate Cup, an award given to the highest placing collegiate skier and also placed him as the second qualifier for the U23 World Championships, a series of races he will compete in during the coming weeks. Ben will travel to Val di Fiemme, Italy with the other top athletes in his age group to represent the United States against the best teams from around the world. While the team will surely miss Ben during the two weeks he will spend in Italy, we are all celebrating his success and excited to see his races throughout the rest of the season.


As the nationals crew finally straggled back to campus on various delayed flights, the team was fully reunited with a little more than a week to prepare for our first collegiate carnival of the season. Despite several days of unseasonably warm and rainy weather, we were very fortunate to continue consistent training thanks to the hard work of the Rikert staff. The first carnival is especially exciting and anticipated as it is our first race as a whole team together. We spend all the other months of the year training for race season, and as collegiate skiers these six carnival race weekends are our one shot at proving to ourselves that the past years work has been well worthwhile. Fourteen members of the team headed to Waterville, Maine to compete at Colby Carnival. Dylan, Adam, Sam, Issy, and Nicolette all stayed at Midd to recover from sickness or injury.

On Friday morning, the women raced 5k through intermittent rain on soft tracks. Heather skied to 9th place with Stella finishing just seconds behind her in 10th. Both were less than 15 seconds from the podium, giving them confidence going into the carnival season, reassuring them that they have been working on the right things in the past months.

stella and heather

Kaitlin finished third for the team in 24th while Emily finished 34th. Kelsey suffered a tough fall putting her back in what proved to be a very tight race. Alia got her first experience racing as one of six athletes on the carnival team and Luna got her first taste of collegiate racing!

The men raced four laps around a course that had significantly deteriorated throughout the women’s race. Ben finished second in the 10k individual start, proving that he will again be one of the strongest competitors on the eastern circuit. Austin finished just inside the top 30 while Jack, Nick, Evan, Patrick, and Eliot also had strong races.

heather cheering

Heather skied to her best skate finish in a carnival on Saturday in the 10k race finishing 5th. Stella again skied to a strong finish in 11th, posting her second personal best of the weekend. The team was also excited to have four girls finish in the top twenty with Kaitlin in 17th and Kelsey in 20th. Ben had another solid race on Saturday finishing 3rd in the men’s 15k skate. Austin skied smoothly to 15th and Jack was the third scorer for the men’s team in 33rd.


As we return to Middlebury, Ben prepares to leave for Italy on Tuesday (follow his results while the rest of the team will regroup and prepare for another week of racing next weekend!

- Heather and Stella

[gallery ids="3962,3965,3966,3968,3969,3970,3971,3972,3973,3975"]
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Incredible day for Middlebury alum Simi Hamilton, who scored the first men’s World Cup XC win for the US in over 30 years. Today’s race – a skate sprint in Lenzerheide, Switzerland – marks a monumental achievement for Simi and US Skiing as a whole.

Congrats, Simi! Lots more good stuff to come, and we’ll be cheering all the way!

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Winter Carnival Schedule




2014 Schedule and Info



UVM Carnival (Alpine)


January 10-11, 2014
Info Packet



Colby Carnival


January 17-18, 2014
Info Packet
Nordic Virtual Meeting


UNH Carnival


January 24-25, 2014



UVM Carnival (Nordic)
February 1-2, 2014
Info Packet
Nordic Virtual Meeting


Dartmouth Carnival


February 7-8, 2014
Updated Schedule
Info Packet
Nordic Virtual Meeting
Nordic Maps



Williams Carnival


February 14-15, 2104
Info Packet
Nordic Virtual Meeting



Middlebury Carnival/EISA Championships/NCAA East Regional


February 21-22,2014
Info Packet
Nordic Virtual Meeting



NCAA Skiiing Championships


Hosted by University of Utah

March 5-8, 2014

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Icebury, 2013!

This past weekend our Eastern contingent of skiers met up in Craftsbury for a few days of training and the first Eastern Cups of the season. On Saturday we raced a skate sprint, and the team had some great results. Junior Heather Mooney finished 2nd in the open women’s race and sophomore Alia Johnson skated to 2nd in the junior women’s race. Senior co-captain Austin Cobb battled to a strong 7th in the men’s race. All 9 of our skiers in Craftsbury had strong races that promise good things to come!

On Sunday, we were ready and raring to go for a 10 and 15K mass start classic race. Unfortunately, the weather proved to be a worthy adversary and we got shut out due to a massive ice storm. So many trees, limbs, and power lines were coming down that calling the race off was the only reasonable decision.

[caption id="attachment_3745" align="aligncenter" width="400"]It was kind of pretty... It was kind of pretty…[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3748" align="aligncenter" width="400"]And, it was pretty destructive... And, it was pretty destructive…[/caption]

After watching a transformer blow up right outside our rental house and waiting for the roads to clear up, the team made their way safely home for the Holiday break. We weren’t able to show our stuff on the race course, but it was still an exciting day! Some of us will reconvene in Midway, Utah for US Nationals right after the New Year, while others will return to campus a little early for a training camp.

Until then, Happy Holidays from the Middlebury Ski Team!




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