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Cook, Compton Win Big in Christmas Classic Races

Sun, Dec  17, 2006 - By Dean Woodbeck

Three top Midwestern skiers dominated the 2007 Christmas Classic races held December 15-16 at the Michigan Tech Nordic Training Center in Houghton, Michigan.

Bryan Cook, an alumnus of Northern Michigan University's ski squad, won both men's events, taking the 10 km freestyle on a sunny and cold December 15, then capturing the 15 km classic title on Sunday in blowing snow conditions.

In the women's competition, Caitlin Compton, skiing for Wisconsin-based Team CXC, captured the 5 km freestyle title. Compton is also skiing for the U.S. Biathlon squad this season. Another Northern Michigan alum and former Olympian, Lindsey Weier Dehlin, took the 10 km classic title.

The races were a tune-up on the courses to be used at the U.S. Cross Country Championships, which will take place January 1-6, 2008, in Houghton.

Cook ran away with the freestyle title, posting a 53 second lead over second place Karl Walczak, an alumnus of Michigan Tech's ski program. Santiago Ocariz, from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay was third.

In the classic race, Cook scored a 14-second victory over former teammate Phil Violett of Northern Michigan. Michigan Tech's Jesse Lang finished third, 1:17 behind the leader.  

Compton also scored a big win in the freestyle, with a 1:03 lead over second place Maria Stuber and 1:06 over third place Morgan Smyth, both skiing for Northern. Weier Dehlin won the classic race by 12 seconds over Smyth. Michigan Tech's Laura Dewitt was third, 24 seconds back.

The race was a four-way collegiate competition, with teams from St. Scholastica, Northern Michigan and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay joining hosts Michigan Tech.  There was also a Junior Olympic qualifier for the Great Lakes Division.

Complete results are available at www.keweenawtrails.com.