Host: Mountain Top Resort
Course description: Fast first half kilometer with a long gradual downhill in the middle of the course and a hard last 400 meters with a long gradual climb to the line.
Course distance: 1.3k
Conditions: Mid 30's, fog in the morning with some sun peaking through for the knockout heats in the afternoon. The snow was soft because the temperature didn't get below freezing overnight making for some challenging skiing.
Eirik Fosnaes- 4th overall, 12th in qualifying
Joey Bard- 28th overall, 25th in qualifying
Justin Fereshetian- 31st overall and in qualifying
Dan Dermody- 34th overall, 33rd in qualifying 2nd junior outside the top 30
None of the women qualified for the heats but Hilary Saucy, Kati Christoffel, Molly Lindsey, Natasha Smith, and Ghaz Sailors raced.
Thoughts from head coach Paul Stone:
It was a long day but successful. The qualifying round started at 10am and Dan didn't finish the Junior A finals until 3pm. It was successful though. Eirik had the best Eastern Cup finish for an UMPI skier. He shook off jet lag from Wednesday's trip back to the US and finish 12th in qualifying and qualify for the afternoon heats. In his quarterfinal he skied a smart race hanging around in second place and holding position all the way to the finish line to ensure he moved on to the semifinals. In the semi-finals he faced a stiff test with two Swedish brothers from UNH, a Maine Winter Sports Center biathlete, and a guy from Dartmouth. He skied another smart heat hanging around the top 3 and distancing the UNH brothers in the finishing stretch and moved on to the final heat. In the final he made a tactical mistake on the long downhill and left himself too much work on the finishing climb and could not get back to the front. The fourth place finish was still a best for the UMPI ski team.
Despite feeling a little flat Joey managed to slip into the heats with a 25th place finish in qualifying. Unfortunately he had some bad luck in his quarterfinal heat. His poles punched through the snow in the start lanes and he was caught towards the back of his heat for the first 2/3 of the course. He made a strong move in the outside lane coming up the finishing stretch but soft unpredictable snow left him face down 100 meters from the line and he did not advance to the semi-finals.
Justin had the cruelest luck of all finishing 31st .01 seconds from 30th and a spot in the quarterfinal heats. Since he is no longer a junior his 31st place showing meant his day ended prematurely.
Sophomore Dan Dermody is only 19 and his 33rd place finish in qualifying landed him a spot in the Junior heats. He skied a great semifinal heat. He slotted into second through the first half of the race and put on a surge at the base of the finishing climb taking the lead at the base of the finishing climb and holding it to the line and advancing to the Junior A final. In the final he tried the same tactic hanging in second into the long downhill halfway through the course, unfortunately he was late into his tuck and a couple of skiers behind him were able to slingshot by him and get position going into the final climb. He ran out of gas going to the line but still ended the day with his best Eastern Cup finish to date.
Everyone is excited about the classic races tomorrow. Unfortunately the weather forecast is ugly with warm temps tonight and throughout the day tomorrow. It will make for a sloppy race but we are excited to race.