The weekend of Jan. 28-29 brought the teams of the CCSA to Duluth, Minn., for the Duluth Hilltop Invite hosted by the College of Saint Scholastica. Saturday’s race, 5 k and 10 k individual freestyle for women and men respectively, went as planned but the Sunday classic distance was changed to freestyle, due to the insufficient amount of snow. This change left only the first day as a CCSA/NCAA qualifier point race causing some teams to leave after the first race.
Starting the day off with the women’s 5 k, Nicole Schneider from Northern Michigan captured another freestyle victory with a time of 13:19 followed by her teammates Vivian Hett (2nd) and Sophie Schimpl (3rd). “I thought it was a good day of racing for our team. All of our athletes were out there giving it all they had on a fast icy course.” added NMU assistant coach Shane MacDowell.
Michigan Tech women were led by Carolyn Lucca finishing 11th, a few seconds ahead of her teammate Sonja Hedblom (14th). The fastest woman from the College of Saint Scholastica was Kelsey Dickinson (12th) followed by Green Bay’s Bree Mucha (13th) only three seconds behind. The top finisher from St. Olaf College was Bri Olsen (32nd).
Michigan Tech’s Gaspard Cuenot clocked in at 24:24 during the men’s 10 k freestyle which secured him a first spot on the podium. His performance, along with his teammates Tom Bye (4th) and Tomi Mikkonen (9th), helped MTU to score the most points among the men’s teams.
Second place went to Reitler Hodgert representing Saint Scholastica and coming in third was Lars Sonsterud from NMU. University of Wisconsin Green Bay was represented by Kyle Marshal coming in 12th and Tyler Radke from St. Olaf finished 38th.
Even with the Northern and Tech men’s teams leaving the night before, there was not a lack of competition on Sunday. Kyle Marshal from UWGB placed 2nd with a time of 24:54 in the men’s race, and he was the top CCSA skier that day. Chasing down Marshal were Jack Christianson (4th), Samuel Boardman (10th) and Gerrit Garberich (14th), all skiing for the College of St. Scholastica. Tyler Radke from St. Olaf moved up to 21st from the previous day.
On the women’s side, the fastest CSSA skier was MTU’s Carolyn Lucca who took 3rd place with her time of 28 minutes flat. The closest collegiate skier to Luca was Sadie Paterson (7th) skiing for UWGB. In the field of St. Scholastica’s women, Nicole Gilman was their top finisher coming in 17th.
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