Northern Michigan’s Rosie Frankowski cracked the overall top 10 against some of the nation’s top skiers in the women’s mass start 20K skate, and St. Olaf’s Jake Brown cruised to his first career CCSA win in the men’s 30K event in the third day of racing at the U.S. Cross Country Championships at Soldier Hollow Resort in Utah.
Northern Michigan’s Adam Martin also placed 11th in the junior 10K freestyle, meaning that the freshman has now qualified for the Junior World Championship team and earned an automatic berth to this season’s NCAAs.
Fresh snow falling on top of the manmade base made for tricky waxing conditions for skiers and coaches alike, and brought a slower overall pace to today’s events – a change from the fast conditions that have characterized much of this year’s U.S. Nationals thus far.
The change in pace, however, suited Frankowski just fine.
“I think the conditions played right into Rosie’s hands,” Northern Michigan head coach Sten Fjeldheim said. “Tougher, slower skiing really works to Rosie’s advantage, and she just had a great race today.”
After losing her legs a little following a fast start in the season opening distance classic race on Saturday, Frankowski wouldn’t make the same mistake Tuesday. In the top third of the field after the start, the senior moved up four or five places nearly every lap around the 5K loop, crossing the finish line in 1:00:10.2 – more than two and a half minutes ahead of the next CCSA competitor.
“Rosie just ran out of real estate,” Fjeldheim said. “If she had just had a few more kilometers, she would have caught more skiers and finished even higher.”
Northern Michigan’s Mary Kate Cirelli took the conference’s silver medal, finishing her 20K skate in 1:03:42.8. Michigan Tech’s Alice Flanders wasn’t far behind, crossing the line just under four seconds later to earn the region’s third place and 23rd overall.
Alaska’s Nicole Bathe completed an impressive debut week in the CCSA with a fourth-place finish in the region (36th overall). Michigan Tech’s Deedra Irwin then won a sprint to the finish between a trio of central region skiers – Irwin’s time of 1:06:25.3 just edging out her teammate Lynn Duijndam by twenty seconds to earn 39th place overall. Duijndam, in turn, nipped Green Bay’s Kailey Mucha by 12 seconds, forcing the Phoenix skier to settle for 41st overall and seventh in the region.
A fourth Michigan Tech skier, Sarah Daniels, was next across the line, placing 43rd overall, while NMU’s Felicia Geisor and Alaska’s Heather Edic completed the CCSA top ten.
On the men’s side, it was a day to remember for Brown. After impressing with a seventh-place finish in the region on Saturday, the junior did even better, topping the CCSA podium for the first time in his career after a dominating performance. Brown’s time of 1:20:42.7 not only earned him 11th place overall (missing out on the top ten by less then seven seconds), but also put him a full two minutes ahead of his nearest regional competitor.
Paul Schommer was next across the line for the CCSA, taking 25th overall with his time of 1:22:49.0 – a promising sign that the junior has shaken off any ill effects from an injury-shortened 2013 campaign. Northern Michigan’s George Cartwright landed the region’s bronze medal with his 33rd-place overall finish.
Alaska’s Kenneth Brewer captured fourth place (40th overall) with his time of 1:25:16.1, followed closely by a pair of teammates: Logan Hanneman, in 45th overall, and Max Olex, in 48th. Saint Scholastica’s second scoring skier, Joe Dubay, took seventh in the region after completing his six 5K loops in 1:27:11.3. Alaska’s Jonas Loffler (53rd overall), NMU’s Kyle Bratrud (54th) and Alaska’s Stefan Hajdukovich (55th) rounded out the CCSA’s top ten.
The CCSA skiers stay at U.S. Nationals concludes on Friday, as they hit the course for the classic sprints. For complete results from all U.S. Nationals events, please visit Summit Timing’s results page.