Northern Michigan University’s Kyle Bratrud continued his winning streak in Sunday’s 15 kilometer freestyle race with teammate Jordyn Ross winning the women’s 10 kilometer event in Telemark, Wisconsin.
Bratrud led the race along with teammates Erik Soderman and Adam Martin. Martin held on until 10 kilometers into the race when Bratrud attacked, leaving the race to be decided between himself and Soderman. Bratrud won with a time of 42:38, 11 seconds ahead of Soderman. Bratrud has been unstoppable so far this season in CCSA distance races, and continued to prove that he is the region’s man to beat. “Kyle’s still strong,” said NMU Head Coach Sten Fjeldheim. “His prep for U-23 [World Championships] is on track.”
Fjeldheim was also pleased with Soderman’s race, seeing his second place finish as an indicator that he has recovered from recent illness. “Erik is feeling a lot better,” said Fjeldheim. “Today it looked like he’s coming back.”
Chasing Bratrud and Soderman was a pack that included Paul Schommer of St. Scholastica, Jake Brown of St. Olaf, and Logan Hanneman of Alaska Fairbanks. On the last lap they caught Adam Martin of NMU who had dropped from the lead and the four vied for a position on the podium.
Brown attacked on the last lap and opened up a gap ahead of the rest of the chasing group, but not quite enough to hold off the hard-charging pack. In the end it was St. Scholastica’s Schommer who had the most finishing speed, taking third with a time of 43:15. “I think Paul’s race was uplifting for him personally, and for the coaching staff as well,” said St. Scholastica Head Coach Chad Salmela, who added that Schommer’s podium was a big step forward in confidence “knowing that we’re within striking distance of those guys from Northern Michigan as we head into the meat of the season. It was definitely a great day in that respect.”
Martin finished two seconds behind Schommer, and Brown took fifth, just one second behind Martin. St. Olaf Head Coach Tom Jorgenson said that he thinks that is “right where he need to be right now,” adding, “I think it’s interesting that he was able to contest the sprint with Adam [Martin], it showed that he’s developed a lot more speed.” Jorgenson was pleased with the result, saying, “it was a successful weekend for us. We’re looking for more as the season progresses.”
Hanneman of UAF was 6th, Ian Torchia of NMU took 7th, and Jonas Loffler of UAF came in 8th. Kyle Marshall of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay had another breakout race, finishing 9th. Green Bay Head Coach Steven Teclaw said that the top ten result was “huge for Kyle, I’m happy to see that. With Matt Nichols redshirting this year, it’s really what the men’s team needs. He skied a strong, confident race. It’s an exciting finish for Kyle.”
Michigan Tech’s Alice Flanders led the women’s 10 kilometer freestyle race for much of the distance, with NMU’s Jordyn Ross in close pursuit. MTU Head Coach Joe Haggenmiller said that about a kilometer from the finish Flanders “ended up straddling a tree” after a crash. “She was able to get back to Jordyn Ross,” said Haggenmiller, “but catching up to Jordyn didn’t do anything for her sprint.”
Ross won the race with a time of 34:11. Flanders finished 12 seconds behind to take second place. “It was really exciting to see Alice skiing today: she’s really close to how she was skiing last year,” said Haggenmiller, “probably a little better than last year.”
Megan Edic of NMU was the third CCSA woman across the finish line, followed by Deedra Irwin of Michigan Tech, who also suffered a fall in the race. Felicia Gesior of NMU took fifth, followed by teammate Sophie Schimpl. It was a good day for the NMU women. “I think they were a little fatigued from Senior Nationals and needed one race to get back into it,” said Fjeldheim. “Today the women were feeling a lot better and were back on their feet.”
In 7th was Sharmila Ahmed of St. Scholastica, with Marit Sonnesyn of Gustavus in 8th. Gustavus Head Coach Jed Friedrich said that Sonnesyn’s result was “not a huge surprise, she’s really fit. She came into the fall as one of the school’s top cross country runners, and she’s a good skier.”
Rounding out the top ten for the CCSA women was NMU’s Vera Gruber in 9th and Alyson McPhetres of UAF in 10th.
Full results can be found at www.racetecresults.com