HOUGHTON, Mich—Michigan Tech’s Oskar Lund and Northern Michigan’s Laura DeWitt were the individual winners on day 1 of the NCAA’s Central Regional Championship on Saturday. The 5/10 kilometer classic race was held at Michigan Tech’s trails in Houghton, Michigan as part of the CCSA’s final NCAA qualifying weekend. The Northern Michigan women and men were each in first place as a team after the first day of competition.
A sweep of the women’s podium put NMU leaps and bounds ahead of its competition Saturday. Laura DeWitt, Christina Gillis, and Monica Markvardsen took places 1-3, respectively, for the Wildcats. In an incredible display of speed as well as depth, the three finishers were separated by less than 3 seconds. DeWitt finished in 16 minutes, 59 seconds and her team finished with the best possible score of 87 points.
Alaska’s top skier, Aurelia Korthauer, was undefeated in CCSA competition until this race, but an early tumble derailed her hopes at first place in this race. Korthauer nevertheless finished in 5th in 17:10, just 11 seconds off DeWitt’s winning pace. Theresia Schnurr (17:28) in 7th and Anna Coulter (18:04) in 12th completed the scoring for the Nanooks and put the women’s team in 2nd place with 71 points.
Henna Riikonen-Purtsi (17:08) took 4th place to lead Michigan Tech into 3rd place. Elizabeth Quinley (18:03) was 11th and Jenna Klein (18:21) was 18th to give the Huskies 65 points. The St. Benedict women’s team put their depth on display, placing 3 skiers in the top 20. Megan Smith (18:19) in 14th, Katelyn Engel (18:21) in 17th, and Christi Nowak (18:26) in 20th put the CSB women in 4th with 53 points.
Eleanor Magnuson (17:37) led the College of St. Scholastica with an impressive 8th-place finish. Julia Curry (18:27) was the next teammate across the line in 21st, and the Saints sat in 5th after day 1. Carolyn Freeman (17:41) took 9th to pace Wisconsin-Green Bay. Erica Hett (17:57) was just behind in 10th as the first Gustavus Adolphus finisher across the line. St. Olaf skier Emma Lee was 24th in 18:36. Hannah Sanborn (19:13) led St. Cloud State from 33rd.
Oskar Lund continued a strong season with a 15-second victory on Saturday’s 10k course. His time of 29:43 bested runner-up Chris Bowler (29:58) and led Michigan Tech to a close 2nd-place team finish with 76 points. Lund’s finish was backed by Jesse Lang (30:29) in 7th place and Jesse Smith (30:36) in 9th. Bowler, meanwhile, led the NMU men to their spot in 1st. George Cartwright (29:59) was just .3 seconds behind his teammate and took 3rd, while Kevin Cutts (30:32) was the final scorer in 8th.
Tyler Kornfield (30:01) was 4th as the top Alaska racer and finished just 3 seconds out of 2nd place. John Parry (30:20) was 6th and Ray Sabo (30:58) 11th to put the Nanooks in 3rd with 72 points. Jens Brabbit (30:18) tore through the classic loop to finish 5th as Gustavus Adolphus’ fastest skier. Anders Bowman (31:35) was 18th to help the Gusties into 5th with 54 points. Just ahead of them was the College of St. Scholastica with 56. Kasey Bacso (30:36) was 10th, Waylon Manske (31:09) was 14th, and Mason Bacso (31:21) was 17th for CSS.
Grant Cook (31:03) put in a strong finish for St. John’s, leading the team for 12th place. Teammate Bob Gerten (32:05) was 22nd. Brandon Piechowski (32:52) paced the St. Olaf men with his 29th-place finish. Wisconsin-Green Bay, notably without Santiago Ocariz, got their top result from Jeff Cook in 39th.