BOZEMAN, Mont. – Northern Michigan’s Marie Helen Soderman and Saint Scholastica’s Paul Schommer emerged as the CCSA’s top finishers in the final race of the college season at the third day of the NCAA Skiing Championships.
Fresh off of an All-American performance in Wednesday’s skate race, Soderman earned 13th place in the women’s 15K mass start classic on Friday, while Schommer wrapped up an impressive freshman campaign for the Saints with an 18th place finish in the men’s 20K mass start classic.
“Paul definitely raced better than his seed,” Saint Scholastica head coach Chad Salmela said. “To be seeded 33rd and finish 18th, there’s no way you can say that’s anything but a good thing. He had his best classic race of the year today, and his best skate race of the year on Wednesday, so to have everything come together like that, I’m just thrilled.”
Though there was to be no repeat of Wednesday’s trio of All-Americans from the CCSA, Soderman came the closest, coming within three spots of the top ten with her time of 55:46.5. Teammate Monica Markvardsen was the next closest CCSA skier, edging St. Lawrence University’s Caroline Carpenter to earn 24th spot.
Alaska’s duo of Raphaela Sieber and Marit Rjabov took 28th and 29th place, respectively; the former finishing exactly 14 seconds ahead of her teammate with her time of 58:11.2.
“It was a better performance from our women today,” Alaska head coach Scott Jerome said. “We are certainly not satisfied with this week, but it was better at least. At this level, it’s a whole different ball game.”
Michigan Tech freshman Deedra Irwin finished 36th with a time of 1:01:15.3, while NMU’s Molly Burger (38th) and Crystal Pitney (39th) rounded out the CCSA field.
On the men’s side, another solid race from Schommer gave Saint Scholastica plenty of reasons to be excited about the future; the Kimberly, Wis. native kept pace with a group of Northern Michigan skiers before pulling away late on, completing his 20k around the Bohart Ranch Cross Country Ski Center course in 59:06.7.
“Even though we had to drive to do it, we’ve been concentrating on our classic skiing, and it’s really starting to show,” Salmela said. “[Saint Scholastica] only had one top 30 finish at NCAAs before this year, and we came in here and put down three top 20s, between Wednesday and today.”
Another freshman, Alaska’s Logan Hanneman was next across the line for the CCSA, earning 23rd place with his 1:00:07.8. Northern Michigan’s Kjell-Christian Markset, also a first-year skier, took 25th a time of 1:00:25.9, while his Wildcat teammate Chris Bowler placed 30th.
Alaska’s Tyler Kornfield led a quartet of CCSA skiers soon after, with the junior taking 34th place in 1:02:12.4. Michigan Tech’s Mikko Harju soon followed in 35th place, while Jeremy Hecker (36th) and Erik Soderman (37th) rounded out the field.
After three days of competition, Northern Michigan is currently the highest ranked CCSA team in the NCAA Championship team standings, sitting in 10th with 227 points, making them the highest-ranked team without an alpine team. Alaska is in 14th with 81 points, while St. Scholastica is 16th with 75 points and Michigan Tech 19th with 22 points.
The NCAA Skiing Championships concludes tomorrow with the final alpine slaloms.