Northern Michigan on top again as Markvardsen, Soderman lead CCSA at Mayor’s XC Challenge

CCSA News, Race Results

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The second day of the Mayor’s XC Challenge at Theodore Wirth Park brought another two CCSA wins for Northern Michigan skiers. The Wildcats claimed the top two spots in both the women’s 10k and men’s 15K skate races, with Monica Markvardsen and Erik Soderman leading the charge.

The results earned the Wildcats both the men’s and overall titles for the weekend, while NMU and Alaska tied for the women’s title with 145 points a piece.

After qualifying for the NCAA championships a year ago, Markvardsen has quickly staked her claim as one the CCSA elite this season, landing back-to-back overall top five finishes at the Mayor’s XC Challenge. Markvardsen, who took fifth in Saturday’s classic event, completed her trek around Wirth Park in 23:58.9 to take sixth overall on Sunday.

Another Northern skier who has started the 2012 off in impressive form is Molly Burger – the sophomore took second in the CCSA and 11th overall with her time of 24:19.9. Alaska’s Aly McPhetres, who herself has been impressive in her freshman campaign with the Nanooks, took third in the conference, and 12th overall in 24:26.0.

Michigan Tech’s Alice Flanders was next across the line, the sophomore enjoying a solid race with a 13th-place overall finish (second among OJ skiers) in 24:27.0. A trio of Nanooks followed the Huskies’ skier – Alaska’s Crystal Pitney taking 14th (fifth CCSA), Raphaela Sieber finishing 15th overall and sixth in the CCSA while Marit Rjabov placed 16th (seventh CCSA) in 24:42.2.

Michigan Tech’s second scoring skier, Lynn Duijndam earned 17th place overall with her time of 24:48.8, as Northern Michigan’s Jordan Ross (19th overall) and Libby Ellis (20th overall) rounded out the CCSA top ten.

On the men’s side, sophomore Soderman earned his first top spot of the CCSA season, pounding out a sixth-place overall finish in 34:04.9. Another of the Wildcats’ young guns, freshman Kjell-Christian Markset, produced the conference’s second-best time in the interval start event, finishing with a time of 35:02.1 – good for 15th place overall.

Alaska’s Logan Hanneman turned in the Nanooks top finish on the men’s side, placing third in the CCSA and 18th overall in 35:11.9. Michigan Tech’s Mikko Harju, who missed the season’s opening races, showed signs of getting back to his top form by taking fourth in the conference and 22nd overall.

Saint Scholastica’s Jeremy Hecker continued his solid run of results in 2012 by taking fifth in the conference, 23rd overall and second among OJ skiers with his time of 35:37.1. Teammate Scott Johanik produced his best performance of the CCSA season as well, taking sixth in the conference and 25th overall in 35:50.4 – a strong showing for the Saints skiers.

Northern’s Chris Bowler’s time of 35:55.0 earned the junior the conference’s seventh-best finish as well as 26th place overall. Teammate Kyle Bratrud captured eighth in the CCSA (27th overall) in 35:56.1, as Michigan Tech’s Matthew Wong (28th) and Alaska’s Ian Wilkinson (29th overall) rounded out the CCSA top ten.

The CCSA competitors now head to St. Paul, Minn. for the fourth NCAA qualifier of the season in the Central Grand Prix Super Tour stop on Jan. 28-29.