Houghton, MI – The first weekend of February brought Central Collegiate teams to Houghton, Michigan in order to find the CCSA distance champions. The hosting university, Michigan Tech, and its grooming crew, prepared outstanding trail conditions. Temperatures stayed around 20 degrees with mostly cloudy skies and small snow showers on both days. Men took on an individual start 10k classic on Saturday and mass start 20k skate Sunday while the distances for women were 5 and 15 kilometers respectively.
Saturday’s racing kicked off with the men’s 10k classic. Northern Michigan swept the podium placing Fredrik Schwencke in first with a time of 28:22.0 a 40 second lead on second place Zak Ketterson and third place Sam Elfstrom. Finishing just outside the podium was Tech’s Tom Bye with Scholastica’s Reitler Hodgert following in fifth, trailing only 1.1 second behind Bye. The top finishers from University of Wisconsin Green Bay and College of St. Olaf were Kyle Marshall (12th) and Mitchell Miller (24th) respectively.
The fastest time for the women’s 5k classic, 17:03.0, was set by Kristen Bourne from NMU, outskiing her teammate Nicole Schneider (2nd) by only 0.5 seconds and Vivian Hett (3rd) by 14.7. “It was great to see Kristen making the jump back to the top of the podium. Kristen came down with mono the very first week of the semester this fall so she had to take many weeks off and then we laid out a plan to come back slowly, this took some discipline and patients on her part and the road back from mono isn’t easy to do but she stuck with our plan and it worked.” Added Sten Fjeldheim. Also to squeeze into top 10 was MTU’s Carolyn Lucca (8th) and Sonja Hedblom (9th) as well as Bree Mucha (10th) skiing for Green Bay. Scholastica’s top woman was Alison Ternes (13th), Maria Hauer from St. Cloud finished 16th and leading woman for St. Olaf was Bri Paulsen placing 19th. “Our women skated well with a couple of top 20 performances from Bri Paulsen and Shelby Arendt. The men continue to improve.” Said St. Olaf’s head coach Kevin Brochman.
Sunday begun with the women’s 15k mass start with Kristen Bourne outsprinting Nicole Schneider in another tight finish with the time of 47:06.2 for first and 47:06.4 for second. Both of Tech’s athletes Carolyn Lucca (8th) and Sonja Hedblom (9th) placed the same as the previous day and Kelsey Dickinson representing CSS rounded off the top ten in 10th place. Sadie Peterson (12th) took the top spot for Green Bay’s women, Bri Paulsen (18th) for St. Olaf and Anna Lindell (27th) for St. Cloud. “Sadie Peterson continues to ski strong and improve week to week during her first year in the CCSA.” Noted Steven Teclaw, coach of UWGB.
Zak Ketterson representing the Wildcats took the first collegiate spot for the men’s 20k skate. Ketterson was closely followed by Tech’s Gaspard Cuenot (2nd) and his own teammate Fredrik Schwencke (3rd). Tom Bye, skiing for the Huskies, was just 4.2 seconds short of the podium finish. Kyle Marshall (6th) from Green Bay recorded another top 10 performance as well as Reitler Hodgert (7th) representing Scholastica. The St. Olaf men were led by Tyler Radtke crossing the finish line in 24th.
“We had a great time racing in Houghton. Trail conditions were outstanding and the race crew is the best. The CSS team had some performances that we are really proud of and we are feeling better each week and looking forward to a new course in Rhinelander next weekend,” said Maria Stuber, head coach of Saint Scholastica.
In the women’s team point standings, Northern Michigan captured 138 points, Michigan Tech 114, Saint Scholastica 97, Green Bay 91, St. Olaf 64 and St. Cloud 54.
On the men’s side, NMU finished with 135 points, MTU scored 119, CSS 100, UWGB 90 and St. Olaf captured 66 points.
Joe Haggenmiller commented on Michigan Tech’s performance: “Tom Bye was pretty strong this weekend. Overall, I thought we competed pretty well. NMU beat us pretty handily, you have to give them credit. We will take another shot at things next weekend.”