STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo.—The Central Collegiate Ski Association wrapped up intercollegiate racing at the final day of the NCAA Championships Saturday. The Steamboat Springs event was 15 kilometers for the women and 20 for the men.
Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Santiago Ocariz was the lone All-American finisher among the 15 CCSA racers, taking 10th place in the men’s race in 49 minutes, 44 seconds, 25 seconds behind the winner—UVM’s Franz Bernstein.
The men’s race was a close one near the top, with less than a minute separating 1st place from 19th. His finish also snagged a 12th-place team finish for the Phoenix in the men’s race. It was the best men’s race at the NCAA championships in school history. Still, the CCSA men after Ocariz had a tough time with the 20k course. Northern Michigan first-year George Cartwright (51:43) was the next conference finisher in 30th place. NMU, the only CCSA team with 3 men in the field, also had redshirt freshman Chris Bowler (52:18) in 34th and sophomore Kevin Cutts (54:19) in 38th. The NMU men were 14th as a team in the race.
Alaska first-year Tyler Kornfield (52:00) finished just behind Cartwright in 31st. John Parry, Kornfield’s Alaskan teammate, was 35th in 52:34. The Nanooks took 15th as a men’s team. Michigan Tech’s Oskar Lund (52:11) was 33rd in the senior’s final collegiate race. Jens Brabbit (55:09) was 39th for Gustavus Adolphus College.
Although the CCSA women didn’t place any finishers in the top 10, 3 from the Central Region were in the top 20. Laura DeWitt (43:26) was 12th to lead the conference and the NMU women. Teammate Monica Markvardsen (43:36) was not far behind in 14th.
Carolyn Freeman (43:59) had a very strong race representing the UW-Green Bay Phoenix in 17th place.
Aurelia Korthauer (45:16), who just missed All-American honors in the classic race, was the first Alaska Nanook to cross the line in 26th. Theresia Schnurr, the other UAF skier in the field, was 37th in a time of 47:50 to put the Nanooks in 13th as a team for the race. NMU’s Christina Gillis (47:02) took 34th to round out the scoring for the Wildcats, who were an impressive 6th place for the women’s race with 60 points. Michigan Tech’s Henna Riikonen-Purtsi did not finish the race.
In the final team standings, Northern Michigan was the top conference team in 14th of 22 teams, scoring 166 points. Alaska was 15th with 118, and Wisconsin-Green Bay was 17th with 88. Denver took the overall team title with 785.5 points.
Saturday’s event marked the final collegiate race for several CCSA skiers. Santiago Ocariz, the top male skier in the conference this year, is in his final year of eligibility at Wisconsin-Green Bay. Michigan Tech senior Oskar Lund also wrapped up a very fine career that included several trips to the NCAA’s.
Laura DeWitt skied her final race for the Northern Michigan Wildcats, going out with a strong finish. Aurelia Korthauer, among the conference’s top skiers all year long, is in her final season with the Alaskan women. It was also the final race for Henna Riikonen-Purtsi of Michigan Tech.
Still, the conference also sent several underclassmen to Steamboat Springs that provide hope for next year and beyond. All three NMU men were sophomores or younger, while Alaska’s Tyler Kornfield is a first-year. NMU skier Monica Markvardsen just completed her first collegiate ski season as well, and Theresia Schnurr still has 2 season left with the Nanooks.