The CCSA got its competitive season off to an impressive start at the Chisholm Ski Club on Wednesday, as the association’s skiers landed a podium spot, four top-10, and six top-20 finishes in the classic races at U.S. Nationals in Rumford, Maine.
In both the men’s 15K and women’s 10K events, the story of the day belong to Alaska. The Nanooks placed four skiers in the top 10 and five in the top 20, landing five of the six CCSA podium spots. Freshman David Norris turned in the CCSA’s top finish of the afternoon, taking third in men’s race, while Alaska teammate Raphaela Sieber led the women with a ninth-place result.
“It was a good day for the Nanooks,” head coach Scott Jerome said. “From top to bottom, I was pleased with the team. It’s one of our better days at U.S. Nationals since I’ve been here.”
On the men’s side, Alaska swept the CCSA podium and saw three skiers crack the overall top 10, led by Norris’ outstanding performance. In sixth place at the midway point of the race, the freshman turned it over the final kilometers to earn a podium spot on his collegiate debut.
Fellow newcomer Lex Treinen wasn’t far behind, finishing fourth overall with his 44:19.6 time, while Tyler Kornfield capped off a fine day for the Nanooks with a 10th-place finish in 44:48.4.
“David, Lex, and Tyler just had amazing races,” Jerome said. “They were all somewhere between seventh and 13th going into the final 2.5K lap, and just put on the gas. It was great to see a final lap like that.”
Northern Michigan’s Martin Baanerud, back for his senior season after a redshirt year in 2010, took fourth place in the CCSA and 23rd overall with a solid 45.50.8. Wildcat teammates Andy Liebner and Erik Soderman came in fifth and sixth, respectively, with their times of 46.10.4 and 46.22.8 good enough for 32nd and 35th overall.
Alaska John Parry, an NCAA competitor a year ago, took 36th overall and seventh in the CCSA with a time of 46:25.3, followed by teammates Erik Soederstroem (43rd) and Ray Sabo (51st).
Michigan Tech’s Luke Gesior (11th CCSA, 69th overall), Saint Scholastica’s Kasey Bacso (12th CCSA, 84th overall) and Gustavus’ Jens Brabbit (13th CCSA, 84th overall) all scored the top spots on their respective teams.
On the women’s side, Nanooks skier Raphaela Sieber dominated the CCSA field. Sieber completed the 10K course in an impressive 33:26.6 for a ninth-place overall finish. The German native finished just a mere eight seconds out of the top five, and earned the second highest-finish of any collegiate skier (Colorado’s Eliska Hajkova took eighth).
Teammate Theresia Schnurr capped off a solid day for Alaska by coming in second among CCSA skiers, and 14th overall. Schnurr stayed in the top 15 in each of her four splits, finishing with a time of 34:44.0.
“Raphaela and Theresia just had great races for us today,” Jerome said.
Northern Michigan’s Marie Helen Soderman and Green Bay’s Carolyn Freeman both rallied late to take third and fourth place, respectively. Both racers moved up 15 spots from their first split to the finish line; Soderman finishing the course in 35:08.5 (20th overall), Freeman in 35:16.4 (24th overall).
Northern Michigan’s Christina Turman rounded out the CCSA top five on the women’s side (33rd overall), crossing the line just ahead of Alaska’s third scoring skier, Rebecca Konieczny (6th CCSA, 34th overall).
St. Olaf’s top skier, Emma Lee, turned in a solid performance to take seventh with her 35:58.0 time, the sophomore finishing just behind Konieczny and in 37th place overall.
Michigan Tech’s Sarah Daniels earned her team’s top spot with a 45th place finish in 36:21.4, finishing ahead of teammate Malin Eriksson in 48th. NMU’s Monica Markvardsen rounded out the CCSA top ten with her 36:28.0.
After a lack of snow wreaked havoc on the sprint races and forced the classic races to be postponed, the course conditions seemed to hold up on Wednesday.
“Conditions were thin, but they did a good job at the venue,” Jerome said. “There were some stones and rocks, but overall it was not too bad.”
The CCSA skiers now face a quick turnaround, as they head back out to the course Thursday for the women’s 20K and men’s 30K freestyle events, starting at 10:00 a.m. Originally schedule for a mass start race, the two events are now likely to be individual starts due to course conditions.
For more information on the CCSA, including a detailed breakdown of each of its 11 member schools, please visit www.ccsaski.com.