An impressive team performance on both sides from Northern Michigan sees the Wildcats atop the men’s and women’s team leaderboards after the first day of racing at the Michigan Tech SuperTour stop in Houghton, Mich. NMU swept the CCSA men’s podium in the 10K classic, led by Martin Banerud, while the Wildcat women placed two in the top four collegiately in their 5K event.
No one, however, could keep pace with Green Bay’s Carolyn Freeman, who scored second place overall and took the women’s title in 17:48.3, four seconds ahead of Northern’s Christina Turman, who earned the bronze spot on the overall podium.
For the men, Banerud won his second straight CCSA event, crossing the line in 29:44.9: good enough for fifth place overall and just nine seconds off the pace of race winner Michael Sinnott.
Wildcat teammate Andy Liebner, who, along with Banerud, has provided NMU with a dangerous one-two punch this season, took second in the CCSA and sixth overall.
Erik Soderman completed the sweep for the Wildcats – his time of 30:50.0 securing third place collegiately and 12th overall.
Michigan Tech’s Mikko Harju earned his team’s top finish and fourth place collegiately with his 31:10.9. The Finn’s teammate, Jesse Smith, just missed out on a top five CCSA finish, as Northern’s Chris Bowler nipped in ahead of the junior to take fifth. Smith would finish sixth collegiately and 18th overall in 31:31.0.
Saint Scholastica’s Jeremy Hecker and MTU’s Matt Dugan provided the most dramatic finish of the individual start race, with Hecker edging Dugan for seventh place in the CCSA by just three –tenths of a second. Dugan, in eighth place in 31:36.8, still finished as his side’s third scoring skier, hauling in 21 points for the Huskies.
Michigan Tech’s Sondre Sandvik took ninth place collegiately and 21st overall with his 31:40.0, while Saint Scholastica’s Kasey Bacso rounded out the region’s top ten with a 22nd-place overall finish in 31:43.2. Green Bay’s Edward Gurney finished as his team’s top scorer with a 14th-place CCSA finish, as did Saint John’s Jared Sundstrom in 19th.
On the women’s side, Freeman continued to enhance her credentials for an NCAA berth with her second victory of the season, finishing as the top collegiate skier and second overall to only former NMU skier Maria Stuber.
Turman, another figure likely to be joining Freeman at the 2011 NCAA Championships, continues to find her stride as well, the in-form Wildcat earning second place in the CCSA with a 17:52.7.
Another skier making great strides as the season goes on, Michigan Tech’s Malin Eriksson, earned a spot on the college podium and fifth-place overall as she completed the 5K course in 17:56.6.
Fourth-place in the region went to Monica Markvardsen, the Northern Michigan skier earning 24 points for her team with her 18:03.0.
MTU’s Sarah Daniels earned a fifth-place collegiate finish (eighth overall) with her 18:26.3, while St. Cloud State sophomore Elizabeth Simak was not far behind, landing ninth overall and sixth in the CCSA in 18:32.4.
Northern’s Marie Soderman rounded out the scoring for the Wildcats, taking seventh in the region and tenth overall. Teammate Libby Ellis skied to a eighth-place CCSA and 12th-place overall finish in 18:42.6, while a pair of Huskies (Lynn Duijndam, 13th overall and Alice Flanders, 14th overall) completed the CCSA’s top ten for the day.
Julia Curry earned Saint Scholastica’s top spot at the event with her 12th-place finish, while College of Saint Benedict’s Megan Smith took 15th in the CCSA.
Behind their sweep of the podium on the men’s side, Northern Michigan jumped out to a ten-point lead over second-place Michigan Tech, 78 to 68. Saint Scholastica currently sits in third with 60 points, while Green Bay’s men earned 51.
On the women’s side, the Wildcats cling to a slightly smaller advantage; their 71 points giving just a three-point edge over hosts MTU. Green Bay sits in third with 58 points, while Saint Scholastica is eight points back in fourth with 50.
The skiers return to the course tomorrow for the skate events of the Michigan Tech SuperTour stop, with the men’s 15K getting underway at 9:30, followed by the women’s 10K at 10:45.