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NCAA qualifying race dominated by Krothauer and DeWitt

Mon, Jan  21, 2008 - By Matias Saari

The weather was far from balmy, but at least the Central Collegiate Ski Association was able to hold the opener of its second set of NCAA-qualifying races Saturday in Marquette, Mich.

Senior Marius Korthauer of the Alaska Nanooks dominated the 10-kilometer men’s freestyle race while Laura DeWitt of Northern Michigan University edged teammate Morgan Smyth as the top collegian in the women’s 5-K.

The races at the NTN Trails — freestyle on Saturday and classic on Sunday — were moved to Marquette on Wednesday due to forecasted frigid weather for a weekend SuperTour event in Coleraine, Minn., that all the CCSA schools had planned to participate in (the SuperTour event was subsequently canceled).

Amidst fresh snow, a temperature of 6 degrees and a bit of wind, Korthauer, a threat to win an NCAA individual championship, negotiated the hilly and curvy course in 27 minutes, 22 seconds. Alaska teammate Vahur Teppan of Estonia (28:18) leapfrogged NMU’s Phillip Violett (28:22) in the last two kilometers for the runner-up spot in the interval-start event. Justin Singleton of NMU, Santiago Ocariz of Wisconsin-Green Bay and Bjorn Bakken were the next three college finishers.

Three top racers who were signed up did not start: Martin Baanerud of NMU, Jesse Lang of Michigan Tech and Open Class skier Andrey Golovko of the Factory Team.

For the women, DeWitt, with a time of 17:26, edged two-time NCAA medalist Smyth by 3.1 seconds. Anna Coulter of Alaska was the third collegian at 17:49. Anna’s twin sister, Julie Coulter, a redshirt for the Nanooks skiing in the Open Class, actually won the race in 17:14. The Nanooks opted to redshirt Julie Coulter because they have four skiers capable of qualifying for NCAAs this year (but each school is only allotted a maximum of three spots).
Aurelia Korthauer of Alaska, Maria Stuber of NMU, Tanya Cook of NMU, Kathleen DeWahl of Gustavus Adolphus and Shaina Short of St. Olaf were the next five collegiate finishers.

Sunday’s classic races will be an endurance test as the men stride 15-K and the women go 10-K.

Seventy-one men and an equal number of women completed the freestyle races. The top finishers (and their overall ranking) for each school, and the men’s and women’s team rankings, are as follows:

Alaska, Marius Korthauer, 1st.
NMU, Laura DeWitt, 2nd.
Wisconsin-Green Bay: Santiago Ocariz, 8th.
St. Scholastica, Bjorn Bakken, 9th.
Gustavus Adolphus, Kathleen DeWahl 13th.
Michigan Tech, Kevin Heglund, 13th.
St. Olaf, Shaina Short, 14th.
St. Benedict, Christina Nowak, 22nd.
Northland, Sara Domek, 25th.
St. John’s, Mason Basco, 32nd.
St. Cloud St., Diane Vezendy, 37th.

Team scores after Day 1
Men -
1. Alaska, 83
2. NMU, 76
3. St. Scholastica, 63
4. MTU, 60
5. UWGB, 56
6. St. Olaf, 40
7. Gustavus Adolphus, 39
8. St. John’s 27
9. Northland, 11

Women -
1. NMU, 85
2. Alaska, 77
3. GAC , 69
4. UWGB, 53
5. MTU, 44
6. St. Benedict, 38
6. St. Olaf, 38
8. St. Scholastica 30
9. Northland 16
10. St. Cloud St. 14