The weekend of racing took place at Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming, MI. Hosted by Northern Michigan University we saw solid competition from Michigan Tech University, University of Wisconsin Green Bay, and the College of Saint Scholastica. This early season race was the first look at the 2018-2019 Ski Season.
The Saturday race for the women consisted of an interval start 5k freestyle race. Leading the field was Sarah Goble (MTU) with a blistering time of 14:35.4. Following +7.3 seconds behind was Nicole Schneider (NMU), and rounding out the podium was Sarah Bezdicek (NMU) in 14:54.9. Both Goble and Schneider are the top returning women for their respective teams. Top UWGB skier, Sadie Peterson, finished 9th place on the back end of a very close group of women, only 20 seconds back from 4th.
The men completed two laps of the 5k course. Top returning NMU skier and 2018 NCAA National Champion, Ian Torchia, is currently out west skiing at Super Tour races. His absence left the top spot on the podium up for grabs. Teammate Zak Ketterson rose to the occasion and dominated the field by nearly 30 seconds in a time of 24:41.0. Gaspard Cuenot (MTU) was the closest competitor at 25:09.3. Kjetil Baanerud (NMU) took the third step 35 seconds back from Cuenot in 25:54.8. All three men were qualifiers at last seasons NCAA National Championships. Top skier for the Phoenix (UWGB) was Jake Ajax in 12th.
On day two the women doubled the distance for the classic race and completed two laps of the grueling course. Sarah Goble showcased her fitness for a second day in a row and topped the womens field in 33:16.5. Freshman Nadine Matter (NMU) made a big splash on her first CCSA race weekend finishing closely behind in second at 33:20.1. Sarah Bezdicek returned to the 3rd step on the podium for the second time in as many days. Sarah finished the 10km course in 33:42.2. Sadie Peterson (UWGB) and Nicole Gilman (CSS) both cracked the top 10 on the day in 8th and 10th respectively.
The men also added an extra lap for Sunday’s classic interval start race. Zak Ketterson proved his dominance once again topping the field by over a minute in a time of 41:05.4. Mathias Rolid and Kjetil Baanerud rounded out the NMU podium sweep in times of 42:08.1 and 42:32.2 respectively. Emil Book Bratbak (CSS) finished in 10th while Jake Ajax (UWGB) had a repeat performance in 12th place.
CCSA racing picks up again next weekend in Houghton, MI at the Michigan Tech trails. This race will be combined with a CXC Junior Cup so the field should be much deeper. There will be a 5/10km interval classic on Saturday, with a 10km mass start freestyle for both genders on Sunday.