Soderman, Sieber take titles as NMU lead heading into CCSA Championship finale

CCSA News, Race Results

Men’s 10K results
Women’s 5K results

Northern Michigan’s Erik Soderman and Alaska’s Raphaela Sieber each earned their first conference titles on Saturday, cruising to victories in their respective interval start classic races at the CCSA Championships at Mt. Itasca.

Despite Sieber’s victory, however, Northern Michigan, who claimed four of the six podium spots on offer today, remains on top in both the men’s, women’s and overall team standings heading into the final day.

With just four qualifiers remaining in the CCSA season, the tension is beginning to heat up in the race for NCAA berths. Soderman, a national champion in the freestyle event last year, took a major step toward confirming his spot on Saturday, turning in another impressive classic performance to earn the CCSA crown. The sophomore finished his 10K in 26:14.2 – good enough for a five-second margin of victory.

Teammate Kyle Bratrud, who has already pre-qualified for this season’s NCAAs, turned in the second best time on the day, as his time of 26:19.7 bested everyone but Soderman.

Alaska’s top men’s skier on the day, Jonas Loeffler, earned a podium spot (and a crucial 25 points for his team) with his time of 26:24.7. St. Scholastica’s Jeremy Hecker, who came into the weekend as the CCSA’s second-ranked skier, did his NCAA chances no harm with a solid fourth-place finish in 26:27.8.

Northern Michigan’s third scoring skier, Chris Bowler, posted the conference’s fifth-best time: his 26:42.0 ensuring the Wildcats’ claimed three of the top six spots on the day. Alaska Michael Fehrenbach placed sixth in the CCSA (seventh overall) to land 22 points for the Nanooks.

Seventh-place in the conference fell to Northern’s George Cartwright, as his time of 26:49.0 put him just above St. Scholastica’s John Wessling, who took eighth in the CCSA and ninth overall. Alaska’s Lex Treinen and Michigan Tech’s Luke Gesior rounded out the conference’s top ten.

On the women’s side, it was Sieber’s day, as she continues to show signs that she is back to her best form. The German native bested the field by a full 13 seconds, tearing through her 5K in just 15:05.1.

Northern Michigan’s Hannah Boyer, who won the classic event at the Saints Invitational last month, continued to demonstrate her prowess in the tracks as well, earning a second-place finish in 15:18.6. Boyer’s time meant teammate Jordyn Ross would have to settle for a third-place finish; the junior earning bronze with a time of 15:19.3.

The Wildcats third-scoring skier, Mary Kate Cirelli, took fourth place in the CCSA (fifth overall) with her time of 15:24.1, finishing just ahead of Saint Scholastica’s Sharmila Ahmed, who took fifth (sixth overall).

Michigan Tech’s top skier, Deedra Irwin, took sixth in the conference with her time of 15:26.7, followed closely by a pair of Alaska racers in Theresia Schnurr (seventh in CCSA) and Rebecca Koneiczny (eighth in CCSA). Northern Michigan’s Rosie Frankowski and Alaska’s Crystal Pitney rounded out the conference’s top ten.

With today’s results, Northern Michigan lead the overall team standings by a comfortable margin – the Wildcats 447 points putting them well ahead of second-placed Alaska’s 369 points. Both St. Scholastica and Michigan Tech finish the day with 348 points, making the shuffling for podium positions interesting going into the CCSA Championships final day tomorrow.

Full men’s and women’s team scores are as follows:

Northern Michigan: 227 points
St. Scholastica: 196 points
Michigan Tech: 174 points
Alaska: 172 points
Green Bay: 124 points
Gustavus Adolphus College: 101 points
St. Olaf College: 77 points

Northern Michigan: 220 points
Alaska: 197 points
Michigan Tech: 174 points
St. Scholastica: 152 points
St. Olaf College: 123 points
Gustavus Adolphus College: 104 points
Green Bay: 99 points
St. Cloud State: 17 points