Day two of the CCSA/NCAA Regionals was host to another day of hard fast racing. After the warm temperatures of Saturday, the weather took a turn and produced colder temperatures overnight. This caused the courses to freeze solid, making it difficult to set a solid track around the 5k course at Al Quaal Recreation Park in Ishpeming, MI. The grooming crew did a great job with what they were given and the races went off without a hitch.
The men and women of the University of Alaska Fairbanks were out to make a statement today, and did just that by winning the team events for the day. The men led it off with the 20k classic mass start. University of Alaska Fairbanks Michael Fehrenbach took the win after just over an hour of racing, by out sprinting Northern Michigan’s Jake Brown.
“It was great for Michael Fehrenbach grab his first win of the year in the last CCSA race” said UAF coach Nick Crawford. “We knew he could do it all year and I’m glad it finally came together today.”
Today’s racing was extremely close with the top six being separated by only 26 seconds. Michigan Tech’s Gaspard Cuenot crossed the finish line in third, less than four seconds behind Brown. From there, UAF and Northern Michigan traded blows as UAF took fourth with Jan Cech, Northern countered in fifth with Samuel Elfstrom. Reitler Hodgert snuck in to sixth, for Saint Scholastica’s solo men’s top ten. Applying the finishing blow to Northern Michigan’s run for today’s win was UAF’s Max Donaldson in seventh, beating out Northern’s Fredrik Schwenke by four seconds to register their third scorer and take the team win for the day with 63 points to Northerns 60. Michigan Tech’s Kyle Hanson and Didrik Elset finished ninth and tenth to give their team 53 points and third in the team scores.
On the women’s side, Northern Michigan and UAF continued to trade haymakers for the top spot in the days team scores. The day was ruled by Michigan Techs Andrea Lee as she attacked on the last lap of the three lap 15k race to win by over 15 seconds. Once Lee was across the line the battle ensued with UAF’s Nichole Bathe and Anne-Tine Markset delivering a one two punch, finishing second and third.
Northern Michigan responded with three big shots and put their three top girls in fourth, fifth and sixth with Caroline Brisbois, Sophie Schimpl and Lea Buenter. The assault of UAF proved to be too much today as their third scorer, Sarissa Lammers crossed in seventh, giving her team 63 points and the win over Northern by 3.
“Our women had an outstanding day with four in the top 10 and two on the podium!” said coach Crawford. “It was really fun for Nichole and Anne-Tine to go 2-3 today and we’re excited to see how they do at NCAA’s.”
Kelsey Dickinson of the College of Saint Scholastica led her team in eighth place. She was followed by another UAF skier, Ann-Cathrin Uhl in ninth and teammate Elizabeth Evans in tenth.
In the overall team scores the men of Northern Michigan were able to weather the storm today and kept their lead from day one to take the overall Regional Championship with a total of 122 points. University of Alaska Fairbanks was second with 112 points, just narrowly beating out Michigan Tech with 111 points.
Northern Michigan’s women were able to hang on after the onslaught from the women of UAF to finish first for the weekend and taking the Regional Championship with 122 points. UAF followed closely with 120 points. Michigan Tech took third with 100 points, just beating out Saint Scholastica for the last podium spot by one point.
With both men and women’s teams taking Regional Titles, Northern Michigan University was awarded the combined Regional Championship.
“I’m really proud of our team today” said Northern Michigan coach Sten Fjeldheim, “we saw some great racing out there this weekend and everyone dug really deep to get this win. We had some awesome results from some of our athletes like Sam Elfstrom who had two of the best results of his career this weekend, and our two freshman Lea Buenter and Sophie McDonald who also posted season best results.”
As these races mark the end of the CCSA regular season, some athletes will be looking to the NCAA Championships in Steamboat springs that start March 9th.
For a full list of results and team scores please visit Superiortiming.com.