The St. Lawrence University Nordic ski teams opened competition at the 2013 SLU Carnival at Mt Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid, NY on Friday in the first full stop on the EISA circuit. Sophomore Austin Meng recorded a 22nd place finish in the men's 20k Free, while senior Kelsey Nichols paced the women's team in 31st place in the 15k race.
The women's team closed in ninth position overall while the men were 10th in the team standings.
"Today was an OK start to the season for such a young team," said St. Lawrence head coach Ethan Townsend. "Certainly Austin and Kelsey were bright spots for us as they both skied well in the opening event."
Meng's time of 50:51.2 was his best freestyle race of his collegiate career, and landed the Truckee, CA native 25.0 points. Will Frielinghaus and Eric Lustgarten added to the team's scorers in 34th and 45th places, respectively, while sophomore Reed Likly (57th) was the only other veteran in the Saints' line-up.
The Saints' men's team started five first-year students in the 20k free, with Kyle Curry leading his classmates in 55th position. James McCatherine (66th), Matt Dier (71st), Evan Martell (74th) and Phillip Marshall (78th) also raced for the Scarlet and Brown for the first time.
Meanwhile, Nichols' time of 45:22.6 was the Pownal, ME native's best collegiate time in the 15k Free. She was joined in the scoring by newcomer Cassidy Cichowicz in 40th place and sophomore Kate Mulcahy in 47th.
A trio of first-year students rounded out the St. Lawrence line-up, including Sienna Searles (50th), Erin Perryman (57th) and Melanie Swick (71st).
The men's 20k Free was won by Dartmouth College, while the University of New Hampshire claimed the women's team event. Scott Patterson and Anja Gruber, both of UVM, won the men's and women's individual titles respectively.
The Saints will continue to host the home carnival tomorrow, Saturday, January 19th when the teams race in the classic.