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NMU Coach Voted National Collegiate Ski Coach of the Year

Friday, June 6th, 2014

University of Northern Michigan head coach Sten Fjeldheim received the 2014 National Coach of the Year award from United States Collegiate Ski Coaches Association as a result of the receiving the highest number of votes from his coaching colleagues.

“It was truly an honor,” Fjeldheim said in a press release. “I’ve won awards in the past but never anything quite like national coach of the year, and when the award is voted on by other coaches across the country, it’s something special that you won’t ever forget.”

NMU finished seventh overall and second place in nordic skiing at the 2014 NCAA Championships at Soldier Hollow, Utah, led by senior Rosie Frankowski and junior Kyle Bratud. The result was one of the program’s top finishes at the championships.

The coaching award was celebrated by NMU skiers, who respect the knowledge that Fjeldheim has shared with them over the years.

“It wasn’t that big of a surprise to me that he won the award,” junior Felicia Gesior said in a press release. “He has a great amount of knowledge for the sport, and everyone knows about his dedication for it and his team, and his success over the years has shown that.”

Gustavus Skiing Becomes a Club Sport with the Possibility of NCAA Eligibility

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Gustavus Adolphus College announced in late March that the Minnesota school would no longer fund the its varsity nordic ski team. The move by the administration, which came as a shock to both participants in the program as well as onlookers, ended a program that had produced several NCAA competitors as well as many accomplished student-athletes.

While the varsity program lost its funding, the ski team will still be able to exist as a club program and possibly continue to compete in Central Collegiate Ski Association. To compete in NCAA races, members of the team would need to fundraise for travel and race entry. Another key factor in the allowance of Gustavus Adolphus to participate at the collegiate level will be its NCAA eligibility, which the school’s administration is currently debating.

Frankowski, Schwencke named Central Region Athletes of the Year; Jorgenson and Fjeldheim take coaching honors

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Northern Michigan’s Rosie Frankowski and Fredrik Schwencke have been voted the Central Region’s Women’s and Men’s Athlete of the Year, respectively, by the CCSA coaches, the conference announced Monday. In addition, St. Olaf coach Tom Jorgenson collected the Women’s Central Region Coach of the Year recognition, while NMU head coach Sten Fjeldheim earned the same honor on the men’s side.

Frankowski earned the region’s top honor after writing a magnificent final chapter to her Northern Michigan career. The one-time walk-on was the national runner-up in the 15K skate race at the NCAA Championships, earning first-team All-American status. Frankowski also took sixth in the 5K classic race at nationals (good for a second-team All-American trophy), and also landed the top spot in both the regional and CCSA Championship skate events.

Schwencke, meanwhile, exceeded all expectations with his stellar first season with the Green and Gold. Like Frankowski, the freshman also collected a pair of All-American spots at the NCAA Championships, taking 10th in the 10K classic before finishing sixth as part of a massive lead pack in the 20K freestyle race. Schwencke found his best form at the right time of the season, helping the Wildcats to both CCSA and regional team championships by landing podium places at both events at the CCSA Championships.

The region’s Women’s Coach of the Year, Jorgenson has overseen a steady growth in St. Olaf’s skiing programs over his two-year tenure at the helm, culminating in an NCAA berth (and subsequent All-American finish) for Paige Schember this season. Schember took seventh place in the 15K freestyle at the NCAA Championships, and finished the season as the region’s fourth-ranked skier on the CCSA points list.

“I’m surprised, honestly, to win this award,” Jorgenson said. “I’m very honored, and I’m grateful to the other coaches for recognizing the improvements our program has made, as well as grateful for the high standards they have set that I can follow and work towards as a coach.”

Not far removed from CCSA competition himself – he skied for the Oles before graduating in 2011 – Jorgenson believes that experience has helped shape and inform his coaching. “It helps me to connect with my skiers a little bit more, and understand what they are going through as students and athletes,” he said. “For example, I know Paige so well at this point that the NCAA Championships was almost easy; we both knew what we needed from each other.”

Fjeldheim, meanwhile, continues to add to his impressive trophy cabinet, guiding his men’s team to team titles at both the CCSA and NCAA Central Region championships this season. Fjeldheim sent a full compliment of three men to the NCAA Championships earlier this month, where he helped the team ring up a total of three All-American places.

In addition, Fjeldheim, who earned the region’s men’s and women’s Coach of the Year honors a year ago, was also named the CCSA’s Coach of the Year following the regional championships in February.

 

Source: CCSA

 

NMU’s Cartwright, St. Scholastica’s Ahmed earn Skier of the Week honors; Fjeldheim named CCSA Coach of the Year

Monday, February 24th, 2014
For their contributions at the NCAA Central Region Championships last weekend, Northern Michigan’s George Cartwright and the College of St. Scholastica’s Sharmila Ahmed have taken home the season’s final CCSA Skier of the Week honors, the conference announced Saturday.
A fifth-year senior for the Wildcats, Cartwright played a vital role in helping NMU to secure the men’s and overall team titles over the weekend. The Wyoming native opened his stay in Houghton with a fifth-place finish in the men’s classic race (second-best on the team) before finishing as the top collegiate skier the mass start skate race, topping the rest of the CCSA field by more than 21 seconds. Cartwright’s efforts helped Northern Michigan to overturn a three-point deficit heading into the final day of regionals, lifting the Wildcats to a comfortable seven-point team victory.Likewise, Ahmed contributed crucial points to her squad as well, helping the St. Scholastica women claim their best-ever finish at regionals, as the Saints took second just behind perennial powerhouse Northern Michigan. Ahmed saved her best race of the season for when it mattered most, taking second place in the women’s skate race to score 23 important points for her team. The junior also scored for her team in Saturday’s classic event as well, taking 11th place overall in the event. Her points helped St. Scholastica claim its first-ever podium in the NCAA Central Region Championships combined team scores; the Saints placing third for the weekend, behind just NMU and Alaska.Northern Michigan head coach Sten Fjeldheim, meanwhile, collected the CCSA Coach of the Year honors for both the men’s and women’s side. Now in his 25th year at the helm for the Wildcats, Fjeldheim guided his team to a clean sweep at both the CCSA Championships and the NCAA Central Region Championships as NMU claimed the men’s, women’s and overall team titles at both events.

“It is a real honor to receive the CCSA Coach of the year award for both the men’s and women’s team, especially since it is all of the CCSA coaches who vote on this award,” Fjeldheim said. “It’s a real be honor to be selected by a group of coaches who we compete against all season long.”

Fjeldheim, however, was quick to praise his student-athletes for the team’s success.

“Much of the credit goes to the NMU ski team athletes and the way that they have supported one another all season, not just with their racing, but also their fall dry-land training and respecting one another as individuals. The team has depth and talent and most of all a very competitive atmosphere exists within this group, they pushed one another during the intense training sessions all fall and were ready to train no matter what the weather was, rain, shine, sleet or storm”.

Source: CCSA

Northern Michigan sweep regional titles as Cartwright, Frankowski win freestyle events

Sunday, February 16th, 2014
It was a green and gold final day of the CCSA season, as Northern Michigan not only saw two of their skiers — George Cartwright and Rosie Frankowski — top the podium in both the men’s 15K and women’s 10K mass start freestyle events, but the Wildcats also swept the men’s, women’s and overall team titles at the NCAA Central Region Championships in Houghton, Mich.
“It was a great team effort,” Northern Michigan head coach Sten Fjeldheim said. “We’ve got everyone healthy, had good skis, so everything worked out. I think it says a lot about our team depth on both sides: everyone really pushes one another to get better.”There was plenty of pressure in the build-up to Sunday’s start, since the races represented the final chance for CCSA skiers to improve their standing in the regional points list and stake their claim for a coveted spot at the NCAA Championships next month.

Cartwright, however, refused to be rattled and skied an intelligent, composed race, sticking within the lead pack for the first couple laps before teaming with the redshirting Erik Soderman to pull away in the final 5K. Cartwright would finish as the top collegiate skier with his time of 40:57.9 to successfully defend his NCAA Central Region skate title from last year.

“It takes a lot to rattle George’s cage,” Fjeldheim said. “He’s at his best when he can sit with the pack and then take off at the end. He’s always been a good skate skier and a good sprinter, so he’s tough to beat when he does that. It was really fun, as a coach, to watch a fifth-year senior go out and win regionals today.”

Fellow Wildcat Kyle Bratrud was next across the line, the in-form skier earning his second podium spot of the weekend with a second-place finish in 41:19.7. St. Scholastica junior Paul Schommer collected the bronze podium spot, finishing third in 41:21.0. A pair of Alaska skiers, Michael Fehrenbach and Logan Hanneman, were next across the line; Fehrenbach taking fourth in 41:22.5, while Hanneman just edged the Wildcats’ Fredrik Schwencke across the line by seven-tenths of a second.

Schwencke, Northern Michigan’s third scoring skier, took sixth in 41:24.3, followed closely by teammate Adam Martin in seventh. St. Olaf’s Jake Brown produced a solid performance to take eighth and boost his chances of NCAA qualification with his time of 41:28.8, while Michigan Tech’s Matt Dugan and Kyle Hanson rounded out the top ten.

On the women’s side, the rest of the CCSA field had no answer for Frankowski. The senior from Minneapolis, Minn. set the pace early, then pulled away on the second lap before eventually cruising to a 38-second victory. Frankowski has now won back-to-back mass start skate events since returning from the U23 World Championships last month.

“Having Rosie back has just given our whole team a boost of confidence — I think she decided to see just how fast she could ski in that second lap today,” Fjeldheim laughed.

St. Scholastica’s Sharmila Ahmed turned in one of her best performances of the season on Sunday, earning a regional silver medal with her time of 33:00.9 — good enough for second place. Northern Michigan’s Hannah Boyer wrapped up a solid weekend for herself as well, landing her second third place finish and second podium spot in as many days by taking third in 33:07.4.

St. Olaf’s Paige Schember strengthened her case for an NCAA berth with her fourth-place finish on Sunday, followed closely by Michigan Tech’s Alice Flanders, another skier who will be eyeing the points lists earnestly when the final standings are announced later this month. Northern Michigan’s Mary Kate Cirelli took sixth to wrap up the scoring for the Wildcats, and St. Scholastica’s Sarah Allen wrapped up a solid season for herself with a seventh-place finish. Alaska’s Nichole Bathe, Northern Michigan’s Kristen Bourne and Alaska’s Aly McPhetres complete the women’s top ten.

Sunday’s results mean that Northern Michigan successfully overturned the three-point deficit they faced on the men’s side after yesterday’s classic event. The Wildcats leapfrogged Alaska to claim the men’s team title by seven points, 129 to 122. St. Scholastica took third with 93 points.

It was a similar story on the women’s side, with the Wildcats’ women taking the crown with 128 total points for the weekend, topping second place St. Scholastica (109 points) and third-place Alaska (99 points) by a comfortable margin.

With the CCSA season now behind them, the region’s student-athletes now can do nothing but wait for the final points to be tallied and the official selections for next month’s NCAA Championships to be announced. The Central Region will send seven men and six women to this year’s national championships, to be held at Soldier Hollow Resort in Midway, Utah on March 6 and 8.

Source: CCSA

Bathe, Bratrud crowned champs at NCAA Central Region Championships classic meet

Sunday, February 16th, 2014
Alaska’s Nichole Bathe and Northern Michigan’s Kyle Bratrud captured the Central Region crowns in the women’s 5K and men’s 10K individual start classic events, respectively, to kick off the regional championships in Houghton, Mich. In near perfect skiing conditions, the Nanooks and Wildcats combined to occupy all six podium spots (three apiece) on the afternoon, meaning that Alaska heads into final day of the NCAA Central Region Championships with a three-point lead on the men’s side, while the Northern Michigan women hold an eight-point edge heading into Sunday.
Having missed the CCSA Championships in order to represent the U.S. Ski Team at the World Junior Championships last month, Bathe showed her experience in Italy paid dividends, dominating the field at the Michigan Tech Nordic Training Center. Despite only seeing the course for the first time at 5 p.m. Friday evening, thanks to a cancelled flight and some misplaced equipment, the freshman kept her nerve and sailed to a 15-second victory, completing her 5K in 17:14.4.”Nichole had a long travel day yesterday, plus she’d never even raced here before, so that would have thrown a lot of people off,” Alaska head coach Scott Jerome said. “But she took it in stride, didn’t get stressed at all and performed really well.”

Though Bathe took the top spot, the other two podium positions went to Northern Michigan, as Rosie Frankowski took second with her time of 17:30.0 and Hannah Boyer staked her claim for an NCAA berth — an increasingly competitive appointment on the women’s side of the region — with her third-place finish.

St. Scholastica’s Sarah Allen continues to find her top form at the right time, impressing with a fourth-place finish on Saturday with her time of 17:56.9. St. Olaf’s Paige Schember collected her second straight top-five finish as well, placing less than a second behind Allen.

St. Scholastica’s second scoring skier, Anita Kirvesniemi, took sixth place, helping the Saints into second on the women’s side on the day, after just edging out Northern Michigan’s Felicia Gesior by seven-tenths of a second. Alice Flanders (Michigan Tech), Mary Kate Cirelli (NMU) and Ulrika Axelsson rounded out the women’s top ten.

On the men’s side, Bratrud ended Alaska’s Logan Hanneman’s two-race winning streak by collecting his third CCSA win of the season. Bratrud, currently the top-ranked men’s skier on the CCSA points list and looking a likely shoo-in for an NCAA berth next month, bested Hanneman by just 1.9 seconds in an intriguing battle between two of the region’s most in-form skiers.

Though forced to settle for second place, Hanneman would receive some consolation in seeing a pair of teammates finishing directly behind him in the standings. Alaska’s Michael Fehrenbach battled through an illness to take the bronze position with his time of 30:02.2, leading early in the race before eventually falling behind the top two. Max Olex then turned in arguably his most impressive race of the season, taking fourth in 30:37.8 in an impressive display of depth from the Nanooks.

“I was so proud of our men’s team today,” Jerome said. “Max really stepped up today, and even though he wasn’t feeling well, Michael fought for the good of the team as well. But it was more than just them – all of our guys (Kenneth Brewer, Isaac Lammers and Jonas Loffler) gave it all they had today.”

A trio of Northern Michigan skiers posted the next fastest times, with George Cartwright (5th), Adam Martin (6th) and Fredrik Schwencke (7th) all finishing within 2.3 seconds of one another. St. Scholastica’s Paul Schommer took eighth in 30:57.7., while his teammates John Wessling and Chris Parr rounded out the top ten.

The results mean that the Northern Michigan women finish the day with 63 points, eight points ahead of St. Scholastica (55 points) and 12 ahead of Alaska (51). Michigan Tech sits fourth on 45 points.

Things are even tighter on the men’s side, with Alaska’s 66 points giving them just a three-point cushion over Northern Michigan. St. Scholastica sits third with 51 points.

The CCSA skiers head back to the Nordic Training Center course tomorrow for a vital mass start skate event, with a 15K on tap for the men and a 10K scheduled for the women. Not only will the regional titles be decided, but the two races also represent the final NCAA qualifiers for the region’s competitors.

“It’s high pressure, but we just try to keep things as normal as possible,” Jerome said. “This is what you’ve been preparing for months and months. But its a lot of fun, regionals is one of my favorites events of the year. It really is a nice capstone to the season.”

Northern Michigan sweeps team titles as Frankowski, Alaska’s Hanneman top podium at CCSA Championships

Monday, February 10th, 2014
An impressive display of depth saw hosts Northern Michigan capture the men’s, women’s and overall team titles at the CCSA Championships in Ishpeming, Mich. The Wildcats’ Rosie Frankowski and Mary Kate Cirelli teamed up to pull away from the rest of the field to capture the top two spots in the women’s 15K mass start skate race, while Kyle Bratrud and Fredrik Schwencke took silver and bronze, respectively, in the men’s 20K event. Alaska’s Logan Hanneman captured his second individual title of the weekend, edging Bratrud in the men’s race to boost the Nanooks to second in the men’s and overall team standings.
“Our team really came together today and showed our depth, and that’s critical to winning team events,” Northern Michigan head coach Sten Fjeldheim said. “I think we were just tired and needed a little bit of a break after Senior Nationals, so we got some good rest and good training last weekend, and everyone really responded well to that.”Having raced a limited CCSA schedule this season after competing for the U.S. Ski Team at the U23 World Championships, Frankowski showed she hadn’t missed a beat, combining well with teammate Cirelli to set the pace early and put some distance between themselves and the rest of the field. The duo never looked back, with Frankowski claiming her second win of the CCSA season. Cirelli, finishing just under two seconds behind her teammate, earned her second podium spot of the CCSA Championships, having won the women’s classic race on Saturday.

“I wasn’t 100 percent sure about Rosie racing today, but she talked me into it,” Fjeldheim said afterwards. “She skied a really solid race and never really redlined it. And having her up there was good for Mary Kate as well – her and Rosie really feed off each other.”

St. Olaf’s Paige Schember turned in arguably her finest race of the season, earning her first podium spot with a third-place finish in 36:38.5. St. Scholastica’s Sharmila Ahmed, an NCAA qualifier last season, looks to get back in the hunt this season as well, earning a fourth-place finish at the Al Quaal Recreation Area on Sunday. Northern Michigan’s third skier, Hannah Boyer, crossed the line in fifth, meaning all three of the Wildcats’ scorers finished in a top-five position.

Green Bay’s Kailey Mucha was next across the line; her pace of 37:06.3 good for sixth-place, followed closely by a pair of Michigan Tech competitors – Alice Flanders wrapping up seventh in 37:09.5 and Deedra Irwin eighth just under five seconds later. Alaska’s Aly McPhetres and Heather Edic rounded off the top ten.

On the men’s side, it was a bit of deja vu from Saturday’s classic race as Hanneman, Bratrud and Schwencke all occupied the same podium spots Sunday as they did 24 hours earlier. Sticking with a lead pack of around eight skiers for most of the race, Hanneman made his move at the final climb, eventually edging NMU’s Bratrud by 1.4 seconds to claim his second CCSA Championships title.

Bratrud, in turn, held off teammate Schwencke by five-tenths of a second to take silver: his sixth straight podium finish. Freshman Schwencke continues his late charge for an NCAA spot with his third-place finish, completing his four laps around the 5K track in 40:25.

“Fredrik had his best skate race of the year today,” Fjeldheim said. “His strength is his classic skiing, so it was good to see him up there today.”

St. Scholastica’s Paul Schommer returns to the top five with a fourth-place result on Sunday, while St. Olaf’s top skier on the day, Jake Brown, took fifth. All told, only 6.2 seconds separated the top five positions.

Alaska’s Michael Fehrenbach was next across the line, capturing sixth in 40:45.9, with George Cartwright not far behind in seventh (40:48.2). A pair of Michigan Tech Huskies, Raphael Bechtiger and Matt Dugan, along with Green Bay’s Matthew Nichols rounded out the top ten on the men’s side.

Sunday results meant that Northern Michigan comfortably captured the women’s team title; its 133 points nearly 40 better than second-place St. Scholastica’s, who finished on 95. Michigan Tech took third with 92 points. A little bit tighter on the men’s side, however, though Northern’s 129 points ensured it again took the top spot, ahead of Alaska (118) and St. Scholastica (96). The Wildcats’ combined score of 262 was more than enough to wrap up the overall team title, with Alaska second on 201 points and St. Scholastica third on 191.

The CCSA skiers now head to Houghton, Mich. for the NCAA Central Region Championships and the final two NCAA qualifiers on Feb. 15-16. For full results and team scores from today’s event, please see http://my1.raceresult.com/details/index.php?page=4&eventid=24797&lang=en.

Northern Michigan Take Classic Team Titles as Hanneman and Cirelli Open CCSA Championships With Win

Sunday, February 9th, 2014
Hosts Northern Michigan heads into the final day of the CCSA championships with the team lead on both the men’s and women’s side following the first day of action at the Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming, Mich. Alaska’s Logan Hanneman dominated the men’s 10K interval start classic, but NMU took the next three spots to open up a four-point advantage over the Nanooks. The Wildcats then went 1-2 in the women’s 5K event, with Mary Kate Cirelli and Hannah Boyer posting the top two times, to give them a comfortable 16-point advantage on the women’s side.
With cold (single-digit) but steady temperatures, sunshine and no wind, the weather played little role in determining  today’s races, and Hanneman took advantage of the ideal conditions to claim his first CCSA win and an individual title. Described by his head coach, Scott Jerome, as a typically conservative starter, the junior put the hammer down early and never let up, scorching the 10K course in 20:17.8 — 29 seconds better than his nearest CCSA competitor.

“He had a game plan from the get-go,” Jerome said. “He felt good, was confident in his body and confident in his skis, so he just went for it. Sometimes those plans don’t work out, but today it did, and it was excited to see.”

A pair of Northern Michigan skiers joined Hanneman on the podium: Kyle Bratrud’s time of 20:46.8 good enough to earn the silver for the junior, while teammate and freshman sensation Fredrik Schwencke strengthened his case for an NCAA place with a third-place finish.

The Wildcats George Cartwright was next across the line, meaning all three of Northern Michigan’s scoring skiers placed in the top four.

“Usually, going 1-5-7 as we [Alaska] did today is enough to win you a meet,” Jerome said, “but not when someone else goes 2-3-4.”

Alaska’s Michael Fehrenbach earned a top-five finish with his time of 21:11.9, despite admittedly skiing at less than 100 percent. St. Scholastica’s Paul Schommer placed sixth; the junior completing his 10K in 21:15.9. Another Nanook, Max Olex, continued his string of three straight top-tens in CCSA events in which Alaska attends by taking seventh in 21:18.1.

“I was really pleased with how Max raced today,” Jerome said. “He’s coming off of an injury just before Thanksgiving that set him back, but he’s just been steadily making progress and improving every race. He’s a man on a mission to get to Utah [to the NCAA championships].”

A trio of St. Scholastica skier rounded out the men’s top ten, with John Wessling taking eighth, Chris Parr ninth and Scott Johanik 10th.

On the women’s side, it was all Northern Michigan, as Cirelli cruised to her first CCSA title. The sophomore showed why she is one of the region’s top skiers in the classic tracks, finishing her 5K loop in 11:48.3 to top the field by a full 21 seconds.

Cirelli’s nearest competitor was also wearing green and gold, as teammate Hannah Boyer landed second place, as well as valuable points toward an NCAA berth in an increasingly competitive women’s field, with her time of 12:09.6. St. Scholastica’s Anita Kirvesniemi earned a podium spot as well, forced to settle for third after her time was just three-tenths of a second behind Boyer’s pace.

Michigan Tech’s Deedra Irwin took fourth in 12:15.6. to earn her team’s top spot, while St. Olaf’s Paige Schember finished fifth in 12:23.5. Felicia Gesior rounded out the scoring for Northern Michigan; her sixth-place finish wrapping up the classical crown for the Wildcats.

Michigan Tech’s Ulrika Axelsson earned seventh place with her time of 12:32.2., just ahead of St. Scholastica’s Sarah Allen – the reigning CCSA women’s skier of the week boosting her NCAA credentials with her eighth-place finish Saturday. Alaska’s Aly McPhetres and Green Bay’s Kailey Mucha rounded out the top 10 on a fast and competitive day of racing on the women’s side, as only 36 seconds separated second place from 15th.

The CCSA Championships will be decided tomorrow as the starting gun for the women’s 15K mass start skate sounds at 10:30 a.m. Eastern tomorrow, followed by the men’s 20K skate.

For complete results from today’s races, please visit:

St. Scholastica’s Allen, Schommer Named CCSA Skiers of the Week

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

St. Scholastica swept the CCSA skier of the week awards, as the Saints’ Sarah Allen and Paul Schommer collected conference honors for their performances at Mt. Itasca last week.

Allen etched her name into the St. Scholastica history books by becoming the school’s first women skier to win an NCAA qualifying event. The hard-working senior topped the podium in the Mt. Itasca 5K classic race, going 1-2 with teammate Anita Kirvesniemi to lift the Saints to their first-ever team victory in an event where perennial powerhouse Northern Michigan was present. Allen followed that up with a team-best seventh-place finish in the 5K skate on Saturday. Coming into the season with just one previous CCSA top ten finish in her career, the Minnesota native now has three this season alone – a testament to her improvement as a skier.

Schommer, meanwhile, has been a model of consistency in the CCSA this season, currently riding a run of five consecutive podium finishes. The Wisconsin native claimed his first career CCSA win over the weekend as well, and in convincing fashion: Schommer took the top spot in the men’s 10K freestyle by more than 24 seconds over his nearest competition. The junior also placed third in the 10K classic event at Mt. Itasca, giving him plenty of momentum and confidence heading into next week’s CCSA Championships.

The CCSA student-athletes enjoy a well-earned weekend off ahead before hitting the home stretch, with just four NCAA qualifiers (the CCSA and NCAA Central Region Championships) remaining in their 2014 season.

 

Source: CCSA

Flanders, Schommer Post Big Wins at Mt. Itasca Freestyle Events

Sunday, January 26th, 2014
Impressive individual performances from Michigan Tech’s Alice Flanders and St. Scholastica’s Paul Schommer saw the two juniors top the podium in the women’s 5K freestyle and the men’s 10K freestyle, respectively, in bitterly cold conditions at Mt. Itasca in Coleraine, Minn. Flanders has now taken the top spot in the last two CCSA skate races – both by substantial margins as well – while Schommer earned the Saints’ second win of the weekend, following teammate Sarah Allen’s victory Friday.
After winning the freestyle event at the Telemark Chase last weekend by more than 37 seconds, Flanders fared even better on Saturday despite racing at sub-zero (-2 degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures, crossing the line a full 42 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor.

“Alice has been skiing really well the last couple of weeks,” Michigan Tech head coach Joe Haggenmiller said afterwards. “She’s just a natural skater. She’s been on the bad side of the [NCAA qualifying] bubble a couple of times in her career already, so hopefully she can get to NCAAs this year and have a performance like this there.”

Northern Michigan’s Felicia Gesior turned in one of the best performances of her Wildcat career to date, capturing second place with her time of 15:19.6. Teammate Mary Kate Cirelli wasn’t far behind, earning her spot on the podium with a time of 15:22.6.

Michigan Tech’s second-scoring skier, Lynn Duijndam, just missed joining teammate Flanders on the podium, eventually settling for fourth place after crossing the line just eight-tenths of a second behind Cirelli.

“Lynn is another natural skater of ours,” Haggenmiller said. “She’s been battling some acid reflux issues this year, so we were excited she was able to hang in there and do well today.”

Gustavus Adolphus skier Marian Lund earned her school’s first top-five finish of the season, taking fifth after crossing the line in 15:23.7. Paige Schember turned in the top performance for the St. Olaf women by capturing sixth in 15:27.3, with St. Scholatica’s Sarah Allen not too far behind, in seventh. Gustavus’ Marit Sonnesyn, Northern Michigan’s Kristen Bourne and Green Bay’s Kailey Mucha rounded out the top ten.

On the men’s side, the consistent Schommer made it five straight podium finishes in a row with his win on Saturday. Like Flanders, the St. Scholastica skier enjoyed a comfortable margin of victory as well, finishing more than 24 seconds ahead of the next competitor.

Other than Schommer, Northern Michigan dominated the podium positions, with George Cartwright taking silver with his time of 25:17.6 and teammate Kyle Bratrud crossing the line soon after to earn his second podium spot of the weekend. St. Olaf’s Jake Brown continued his push for an NCAA berth this season; the junior finshed fourth at Mt. Itasca with his time of 25:41.1, while Northern Michigan freshman Fredrik Schwencke continued to impress as well, earning fifth place just a second and a half behind Brown.

Green Bay’s Matthew Nichols time of 26:41.2 meant the junior earned his team’s top spot and sixth place overall: his best finish of the young season. Michigan Tech’s Raphael Bechtiger took seventh place (also his team’s top finish), just ahead of St. Scholastica’s John Wessling in eighth. Bechtiger’s teammate, Matt Wong, continued his solid season for the Huskies with a ninth-place finish Saturday, while NMU’s Sam Elfstrom took tenth.

“Matt just continues to improve every year,” Haggenmiller said. “He’s made huge strides from where he started with us as a freshman. And its good to see Raphael working his way back into being competitive too [after being sick earlier in the year.]”

With Saturday’s results, Northern Michigan took home the overall team title for the weekend, finishing with 287 points, ahead of St. Scholastica (255 points) and Michigan Tech (247 points). The Wildcats earned both freestyle titles on Saturday as well, taking the men’s event with 74 points to top St. Scholastica (64 points) and Michigan Tech (58 points), and the women’s event with 70 points to edge Michigan Tech (68) and Gustavus Adolphus College (54).

The CCSA skiers now enjoy a well-earned weekend off before heading to the CCSA Championships on Feb. 8-9.

For complete results, please visit http://www.boreal.org/~durfee/mt_itasca_jnq_1_25_14.pdf.

Source: CCSA