Teams brought warm weather into Ishpeming, Michigan this past weekend for the final weekend of CSSA racing in the Midwest. Competing for the final positions for NCAAs, teams fought hard in the final weekend. In the women’s 5k skate on Saturday, it was a close battle up until the line, with Malin Börjesjö (NMU) nabbing the win over teammate Molly Miller (NMU) by just 3 seconds. Sarah Goble (MTU) was just .3 seconds behind Miller to take 3rd. In the men’s 10k, Mathias Rolid (NMU), and Kjetil Bånerud(NMU) were just .1 of a second apart after the first 5k, but in the second half of the race, Rolid finished up his strong CCSA season by putting 8 seconds on Bånerud. Reid Goble (MTU), who was 7th after the first lap, had a similar race strategy to Rolid. “On Saturday’s skate race, I started off at a comfortable pace and felt strong going into the second lap so I really focused on making up time and ended up in third place”.
The men had the cooler temperatures on Sunday, benefiting them in the form of faster tracks and easier kick waxing. A fairly big pack stayed together for the first half of the race before the leaders began to spread out. “On Sunday’s classic race the pace for the first half was relaxed and going into the third lap I decided to push it and broke away along with three others,” Goble said. On the last lap, Emil Book Bratbak (CSS) and Kjetil Bånerud broke away from the rest of the field, and had a battle to the finish, with Bratbak taking the win in the finishing stretch- CSS’s first-ever Regional Championship win.
The women struggled with quickly rising temperatures, and with half of the racing course being in the woods and half being in a field, it was inconsistent waxing conditions. Similar to the men, the women had a strict pack for the first 10k until Hilde Eide (NMU) and Malin Börjesjö made a break for the win right after the pack went through the stadium. Börjesjö took a fall on one of the downhills of the course on the last lap, leaving Eide to take her 2nd CCSA win. Nadine Matter (NMU) finished 2nd, Sarah Goble was 3rd, and Bojesjo took 4th. “I think this course is one of the hardest courses I have ever skied, but I enjoyed it. The classic was different from [previous] races because it was a klister race and I think everyone had problems with icing skis. I personally had to stop a few times to remove the snow on my skis because I couldn’t move”. Green Bay’s Lara Ketterer said.
While the CCSA racing season is over, CCSA athletes still have plenty of racing to do! Amanda Kautzer (MTU), Sarah Goble (MTU), Molly Miller (NMU), and redshirt skier Zak Ketterson (NMU) are all competing at the Junior World Championships/ U23 World Championships in Oberwiesenthal, Germany, starting February 29th. 8 men and 7 women have qualified from the NCAA Central Region for the NCAA National Championships in Bozeman, Montana, March 12th and 14th and several CCSA athletes will also compete at Jr Nationals in Northern California in early March!