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Former MNU skiers win team sprint

CCSA

Tue, Jan  8, 2008 - By Matias Saari

HOUGHTON, Mich. — Lindsey (Weier) Dehlin and Lindsay Williams pulled off an upset victory while Torin Koos and Andy Newell won as expected Sunday in the team sprint competition that wrapped up the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships on Sunday.

Dehlin and Williams, just a year removed from winning NCAA individual championships as seniors for Northern Michigan University, completed the six-lap team sprint (each skier alternated on the 1.3-kilometer course) in 21 minutes, 24 seconds.

Rossignol’s Karen Camenisch and Martina Stursova were six seconds back and favored Laura Valaas and World Cup sprint winner Kikkan Randall of Alaska Pacific University finished 17 seconds behind. Camenisch and Dehlin broke the race open by dropping Valaas on the fifth leg. Williams got the final tag a few seconds behind Stursova but overtook her to win going away.

“The whole last lap I just hammered it. I caught up going into the downhill and passed and just kept hammering,” said Williams, who like Dehlin is on the USST but still sometimes trains with NMU. “I was a little nervous (about Valaas and Randall) but I think that might have helped a little bit,” Dehlin said. “It made us race faster. It was good having them there to push us.”

The Central Collegiate Ski Association was represented in the final by NMU’s Laura DeWitt and Maria Stuber, who took ninth, and by Aurelia Korthauer and Alaska Nanooks redshirt Julia Coulter, who placed 12th.

In the men’s race, the Nanooks pair of Marius Korthauer and Vahur Teppan were in contact with the leaders through four laps before dropping back on the final grueling legs. Newell, the ninth-ranked sprinter in the world, ended up outsprinting Lars Flora of the Factory Team by 1.4 seconds for the title in 17:49. Korthauer and Teppan landed in fourth at 18:09.

“The U.S. is a big country. To be fourth, two college guys, I would say is not bad,” said Teppan, who chose to remove the kick wax for the final to improve his glide. His ski bases instead were roughed up with sandpaper to at least offer minimal kick. “They’re both strong enough on a short course with only one real climb that they can muscle their way through it,” Alaska coach Scott Jerome explained.

NMU’s Justin Singleton and Phillip Violett also reached the final and placed 14th.

In Saturday’s individual sprints, Teppan surprised the field by taking third behind Newell and Koos. The Estonian was in last place in the six-skier final with 400 meters to go before charging onto the podium. Teammate Marius Korthauer was 16th.

Teppan will soon see Newell and Koos again as he recently accepted an invitation from the Estonian National Team to compete in World Cup sprints later this month in Canmore, Alberta.

Martin Stuge Banerud of NMU earned his second top 20 result of the weeklong championships at Michigan Tech University Nordic Training Center by placing 17th in the sprint while Wildcat Bill Bowler was 20th. Christina Gillis, an NMU redshirt, led the CCSA women in 20th while Aurelia Korthauer was 22nd.

Randall overcame a fall in her quarterfinal heat and two rounds later handily won her second title of the championships with Valaas runner-up.

On Saturday night, the U.S. teams for the upcoming World Junior Championships in Poland, the U-23 World Championships (also in Poland) and the J1 Scandinavian Championships in Estonia were named. Morgan Smyth of NMU made the U-23 team for the second straight year; she previously competed three times at the WJC. Jesse Lang of Michigan Tech was named an alternate to the U-23 squad.

The top CCSA results for the sprint races are as follows:

Sprint:
  • Alaska, Teppan, 3rd;
  • NMU, Banerud 17th;
  • Gustavus Adolphus, Kathleen DeWahl, 45th;
  • Wisconsin-Green Bay, Jackie Pribyl, 47th;
  • MTU, Jenna Klein, 49th;
  • St. Benedict, Anna Roessler, 98th;
  • St. Cloud St., Diane Vezendy, 111th;
  • St. John’s, Trevor Drake, 138th;
  • St. Olaf, Tom Jorgenson, 168th.

Team sprint:

  • Alaska, Teppan/Korthauer, 4th overall;
  • NMU, DeWitt/Stuber, 9th overall;
  • Kathleen DeWahl (GAC), Christina Nowak (CSB), 6th in semifinal heat;
  • UWGB, Nick Maki/Santiago Ocariz, 7th in semifinal heat;
  • MTU, Jared Cregg/Jesse Smith, 8th in semifinal heat;
  • SJU, Derek Neal/Mason Bacso, 10th in semifinal heat;
  • SCSU, Diane Vezendy/Mariah Featherly, 12th in semifinal heat.