2019 CCSA Skiers and Coach of the Year



Male Skier of the Year – Zak Ketterson (NMU)

Zak Ketterson has been voted as the Male Skier of the Year for the CCSA. Ketterson was one of the most consistent skiers during his entire Junior year season. Coming off a strong 17/18 season where he finished as the 4th ranked CCSA skier, he moved up to take the top spot in the CCSA, over 9 points in front of the next finisher. Ketterson started the year off strong, claiming the top collegiate spot in both of the classic races at the US Senior National Championships in Craftsbury, VT. He continued on his dominant form during the regular season, winning every CCSA race he started. Ketterson capped off his season with two separate All-American performances at the NCAA National Championships finishing 10th in the individual start skate race and 7th in the mass start classic race. With one more year of eligibility remaining, Ketterson will have high hopes for the 19/20 ski season!

Female Skier of the Year – Abigail Jarzin (NMU)

Abigail Jarzin had a breakout freshman year with the Wildcats. Coming in from the Ashwaubenon Nordic Ski Team based in Green Bay, WI, Jarzin was expecting to be one of the top competitors in the region. She met and surpassed those expectations by being the top-ranked CCSA skier for the entire season. After a slow start to the season, Jarzin began to pick up momentum through January and February winning 3/6 qualifier races that she entered and finished on the podium in all 6 events. That torrid pace did not stop at the NCAA National Championships as she earned her first All-American accolades. She finished 7th in the individual start skate race. Jardin has a bright future in front of her and will one to watch for the remainder of her collegiate career.

Male and Female Coach of the Year – Sten Fjeldheim (NMU)

Sten Fjeldheim has also been named as the CCSA Coach of the year for both Men and Women. This is Fjeldheim’s 32nd season at the helm of the Nordic Team. Both the men’s and women’s team dominated the central region, consistently have athletes in both the men’s and women’s events atop the podium. Notable team accomplishments from this season include winning the College Cup at the US National Championships and finished as the 4th place Nordic team at the NCAA Championships. Fjeldheim also achieved a big milestone after the NCAA championships. The Wildcats finished with 6 All-American performances, which pushes Fjeldheim to 103 total All-Americans. Congratulations to a future Hall of Fame coach for another outstanding season.

CCSA Recap of the 2019 NCAA Championships

CCSA News, Race Results

The NCAA National Championships have just wrapped up in Stowe, Vermont. The races, hosted by the University of Vermont, were located at the famous Trapp Family Lodge just outside of Stowe. It was a picturesque week with plenty of sunshine and great weather for all of the athletes. In total, 12 athletes from the CCSA were represented at the championships. NMU qualified a full 6 member team including Kjetil Banerud, Zak Ketterson, Ian Torchia, Julie Ensrud, Abigail Jarzin, and Nicole Schneider. MTU qualified 2 men and 2 women including Patrick Acton, Kristoffer Vollset, Sarah Goble, and Amanda Kautzer. CSS qualified 1 man, Emil Book Bratbak, and UWGB qualified 1 woman, Sadie Peterson.

The first races on Wednesday were the 5 and 10km skate interval starts competitions. The men were the first ones to race on the day and it was clear that the times were going to be very tight from the start. The top 4 skiers were pretty clearly ahead of the rest of the field, with Ian Torchia taking his second NCAA podium finish in 3rd place, less than 1 second away from 2nd place. There was only a 30-second difference between 5th and 25th meaning there was a finisher almost every second after the top 4. Zak Ketterson managed to sneak into the last All-American position in 10th place. Kjetil Banerud finished in 16th, only 10 seconds away from 5th. Kristoffer Vollset, Emil Book Bratbak, and Patrick Acton also finished very close to each other in 31st, 32nd, and 34th. The NCAA skate champion came from the University of Colorado – Boulder, Erik Dengerud.

Shortly afterward the women took to the difficult course to decide the 5km skate NCAA national champion. It was again an extremely tight race with less than 1 second separating the top three women. NMU again had two women earn All-American honor, matching the mark set by the NMU men earlier in the day. Abigail Jarzin finished in 7th, while Nicole Schneider finished in 9th. Sarah Goble finished in 20th, Amanda Kautzer finished in 29th, Julie Ensrud finished in 34th, and Sadie Peterson finished in 38th. The women’s NCAA skate champion came from the University of Utah, Julia Richter.

After a rest day for the Nordic athletes where the alpine competitions took place on Thursday, racing picked up again on Friday with the Classic mass start races. Using the same 5km course that was showcased during the skate races, the women were the first to hit the course skiing three full laps to get to complete the 15km race. The race exploded as soon as the gun went off with skiers putting in big efforts right away and the pack was strung out very quickly. It was a true test of grit to see who could hold on the longest. Abigail Jarzin for the second day in a row was the highest placed CCSA Woman, finishing in 14th. Amanda Kautzer finished shortly behind in 17th, and Sarah Goble reached into the top 20 for the second day in a row in 19th. Nicole Schneider and Julie Ensrud finished back to back in 32nd and 33rd, and Sadie Peterson finished in 38th for the second day in a row. Dartmouth’s Katharine Ogden won her second classic NCAA title in two years, skiing away from the field with one remaining.

For the men’s race coaches had to adapt to the warming conditions to try to find their athletes winning skis. The men’s race was much more tactical than the women’s, but there was still an early breakaway group. An 11 man group formed in the first 2 laps of the race, and it all split apart on the last lap. Ian Torchia was the best placed CCSA skier to come out of the group, finishing in 6th place. An unlucky broken pole for Zak Ketterson with only 2 km to go hurt his chances to fight for the top spot on the podium, but he still managed to hang on for 7th place. Kjetil Banerud held on for an 11th place finish, just 1 spot out of All-American. Kristoffer Vollset had an amazing last race of his collegiate career, finishing in 15th. Emil Book Bratbak moved up through the entire race, finally ending in 28th place. Patrick Acton ended the day of racing in 37th place. The skier that came out victorious on the day was Ricardo Izquierdo-Bernier from the University of New Mexico.

The NCAA Championships were the final races of the 2018-2019 ski season. It was a great year for all the athletes and racers from all schools. Montana State University will be hosting the 2019-2020 NCAA National Championships out of Crosscut Ranch in Bozeman, MT.

Central Regional Championships Recap

CCSA News, Race Results

It was an exciting last weekend of racing in the CCSA at the Central Regional Championships in Houghton, MI. Mother nature threw everything she could must at the athletes and made for an unforgettable weekend. Saturday was a perfect day for the interval start skate races, but things turned interesting on Sunday when the UP snow machine turned on and the winds started to crank up. Nearly 12 inches of snow and wind gusts above 50 mph made for a wild mass start classic race that took more mental strength and perseverance than physical to win the day.

The first race on Saturday was the men’s 10km interval start skate race. This race used the same 5km course that many of the athletes have raced earlier on in the season in December. During the first few kilometers of the race, it was any ones to win with only 20 seconds separating the top 11 men. As the race pushed on, a clear separation was made with Ian Torchia (NMU) taking a 30 second lead after 7km of racing over Patrick Acton (MTU). When everything was said and done, Torchia came home with the victory. Acton faded a little in the latter parts of the second lap and was passed by Xavier Mansfield (NMU). Acton was still able to hang onto third. The College of Saint Scholastica was led by Tamer Mische-Richter in 5th, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay was led by Jake Ajax in 13th, and Saint Olaf was led by Spencer Warejoncas in 32nd.

In the women’s race, it was pretty clear from the start that this was going to be a two women battle yet again to determine the winner of the day. Abigail Jarzin (NMU) and Nicole Schneider (NMU) were only separated by 3 seconds after the first two kilometers of the race, with the Sarah Goble (MTU) being the next competitor a further 10 seconds back. The day ended with Jarzin taking the win, only 5 seconds in front of teammate Schneider. Goble finished strong, keeping the third spot on the podium, 38 seconds behind Jarzin. The University of Wisconsin – Green Bay was led by Sadie Peterson in 5th, College of Saint Scholastica was led by Greta Jenkins in 14th, Saint Olaf was led by Rebecca Walton in 16th, and Saint Cloud State was led by Anna Stockinger in 23rd.

On day two, the women were the first to brave the snowy conditions that Houghton had to offer. The heavy snow and wind did nothing to keep the race from happening and it showed that true mental grit was needed to perform well. The race organizers decided to change from the standard 5km lap to a shorter 3.3 km lap to hopefully keep the track skied in more with the heavy snowfalls. The field stayed in a long single-file line for the first lap and a bit to take advantage of a skied in track. After lap two, things began to string out some with a fairly clear five women lead group. This lead group consisted of two MTU athletes, two CSS athletes, and one NMU athlete. As the race moved into the final stages it was NMU’s Julie Ensrud and MTU’s Amanda Kautzer that would duke it out for the top step on the podium. Kautzer came off victorious, 2.8 seconds in front of Ensrud. Sarah Goble (MTU) would end up staving off Greta Jenkins and Nicole Gilman (CSS) to nab the bronze medal on the day. University of Wisconsin – Green Bay was led by Sadie Peterson in 8th, and Saint Cloud State was led by Anna Stockinger in 19th.

Mother nature did not let up much for the men’s race, which led to another exciting affair. The men had to do six laps of the 3.3 km loop to complete the 20km race. With the conditions being so difficult, nearly the entire field stayed together through the first half of the race. It was not until halfway through that skiers started to push the pace string out the field. Kristoffer Vollset (MTU) took a big lead heading into the 4th lap stretching to nearly 30 seconds at one point. NMU teammates Mathias Rolid and Xavier Mansfield took the charge to try to reel him back in. While the time shrunk towards the end, it was not enough to overtake Vollset who took on the victory. Rolid finished 15 seconds back of Vollset while Mansfield faded back to 5th. It was Saint Scholastica’s Emil Book Bratbak that rounded out the podium, 30 seconds behind Vollset. The University of Wisconsin – Green Bay was led by Shad Kraftson in 16th.

This is the last official race of the CCSA season and the central region qualifiers will be released in the coming days. The athletes that qualify for the NCAA Championships will be competing in Stowe, VT next week on Wednesday (March 6th).

CCSA Mayor’s Challenge Recap

CCSA News, Race Results

CCSA racing picked back up again at Theodore Wirth in the Twin Cities over the weekend. This was the one local CCSA race that was also a SuperTour event. Being a SuperTour event it brought some of the best senior skiers in the country, which increased the already high level of competition. This made for some exciting racing which included a mass start classic and interval start skate races.

The first race of the weekend was the men’s 20 km classic race. The race used a tough 5 x 3.75km loop that incorporated a lot of small climbs and descents. The first three laps we a very tactical affair with a big 13 men lead group consisting of both collegiate and SuperTour racers. On the fourth lap, it was Zak Ketterson (NMU) and Ben Lustgarten (Craftsbury) that pushed the pace and broke the field. Ketterson Managed to win out the day, besting Lustgarten by 0.9 seconds. NMU showed that they are one of the best teams in the country by taking the next two spots (Mathias Rolid and Kjetil Banerud) after Lustgarten for a 1, 3, 4 finish in the overall SuperTour races. Michigan Tech was led by Reid Goble in 13th overall (5th college), the College of Saint Scholastica was led by Emil Book Bratbak in 22nd overall (7th college), University of Wisconsin – Green Bay was led by Jacob Ajax in 38th overall (16th college), and Saint Olaf College was led by Tyler Radtke in 47th overall (25th college).

The women’s 15km race was slightly less tactical than the men’s event due to the field breaking apart just after the first lap. During the second lap, it went down to a five-woman lead group that included four SuperTour skiers and NMU freshman Abigail Jarzin. On the fourth and final lap the race broke open and Kaitlynn Miller (Craftsbury) crossed the line with the fastest time of the day. Jarzin managed to hang on for a fifth-place finish on the day, which earned her the top spot on the CCSA podium. Nicole Schneider (NMU) was the second collegiate skier (11th overall) and Amanda Kautzer (MTU) was the third collegiate skier (13th overall). University of Wisconsin – Green Bay was led by Sadie Peterson in 24th overall (7th college), College of Saint Scholastica was led by Samantha Benzing in 28th overall (11th college), Saint Olaf College was led by Rose Doda in 32nd overall (15th college), Saint Cloud State University was led by Jamie Herridge in 41st overall (24th college).

On day two of racing, it was the women that were the first to toe the line with a 5 km interval start skate race. It was an exciting day of racing with a large field of both senior and junior women with only 15 seconds separating each athlete. It was one of the strongest days of the season for the NMU women’s team with both Nicole Schneider and Abigail Jarzin landing on the overall SuperTour podium (1st and 3rd respectively). Sarah Goble (MTU) bounced back on day two with a 7th place finish overall (3rd college). University of Wisconsin – Green Bay was led by Sadie Peterson in 21st overall (7th college), College of Saint Scholastica was led by Nicole Gilman in 29th overall (11th college), Saint Olaf College was led by Rebecca Walton in 54th overall (20th college), Saint Cloud State University was led by Jamie Herridge in 61st overall (24th college).

In the men’s race Zak Ketterson proved once again he can compete with some of the best skiers in the country. He was narrowly beaten by Matt Liebsch (Pioneer Midwest) but ended the day as the 2nd place skier. Ian Torchia (NMU) and Kjetil Banerud (NMU) rounded out the CCSA podium in 6th and 8th respectively in the open field. Michigan Tech was led by Patrick Acton in 18th overall (4th college), College of Saint Scholastica was led by Hannes Stenstrom in 29th overall (11th college), University of Wisconsin – Green Bay was led by Quinn Duffy in 44th overall (21st college skier), Saint Olaf College was led by Tyler Radtke in 52nd overall (26th college).

This leaves one last weekend of racing on the schedule before the NCAA Championships take place in Stowe, Vermont. Racers will be back on course this next weekend at Houghton, Michigan to determine who will qualify for the championships.


CCSA News, Race Results

The second of a back-to-back qualifier weekend took place on the first weekend in February. Skiers traveled to Ishpeming for the NMU invite. While the temperatures finally decided to warm-up, mother nature forced the organizers to switch the classic and skate days for a second straight weekend. Warmer conditions and the threat of freezing rain on Sunday made it an easy decision for the coaches to move the classic event to Saturday with cooler forecasted temperatures to make waxing slightly easier. Even with the switches, the weekend of racing was pulled off by the tireless efforts put in by the NMU organizing crew.

Saturday was now the 15/20 km mass start classic races. The men were the first up on the grueling five km course. After the first of four laps, Zak Ketterson, Kjetil Banerud, Mathias Rolid (NMU) and Reid Goble (MTU) had started a break on the rest of the field. On the 3rd lap, it was Ketterson and Banerud that made an attack and worked together for the last 10 km of the race. On the penultimate climb, Ketterson made his move and cemented another victory for himself. Banerud followed shortly after for 2nd, and it was Goble that was able to keep pushing forward to round out the men’s podium. It was a similar affair on the women’s side with a 4-person break happening after the first of 3 laps. Julie Ensrud, Abigail Jarzin, Nicole Schneider (NMU), and Amanda Kautzer (MTU) distanced the rest of the field on the first lap. The four stayed together as a group until midway through the last lap where Jarzin put in a big effort to break the rest of the pack. Jarzin was able to hang on for the win, while Kautzer was the best of the rest finishing in 2nd place. Schneider managed to keep her streak of podium finishes alive by taking the final step of the podium.

The second day of racing brought on another double podium sweep for the NMU Wildcats. In the men’s race, Ketterson returned as the champion of the day, besting NCAA National Champion and teammate Ian Torchia by a full 28 seconds. It was another 48 seconds to get to our 3rd place finisher on the day Kjetil Banerud. In the women’s event, it was much closer to decide the women’s winner. Nicole Schneider proved once again why she is the regions highest ranked skier, beating teammate Abigail Jarzin by five seconds in the 5 km skate race. Julie Ensrud also made a return to the podium with her 3rd place finish.

NMU was able to win their home event on both the men’s (219 pts) and women’s (216pts) side. Michigan Tech was able to finish in second in both of the categories, while the College of St. Scholastica held on for third overall.

All of the teams will be looking forward to a well-deserved break with the next set of races not taking place until Valentines weekend. The CCSA will be traveling to Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota to compete at a combined JNQ/SuperTour event. It will be another exciting event with the Classic Mass Start and Freestyle Individual Start races.

Northwoods Nordic CCSA Race Recap

CCSA News, Race Results

This past weekend brought the first NCAA qualifier race weekend of four in the Midwest. Northwoods Nordic Ski Club and CAVOC hosted the CCSA in Rhinelander, WI. The trails were in fantastic shape due to the many hours the trail crew and volunteers put in. The big talking point for the weekend was the changes made to the racing schedule and distance due to the cold weather. Extreme cold weather caused the organizers to move the shortened mass start classic to Saturday, and interval starts to Sunday. In addition to switching days, start times were moved to the warmest parts of the day in the afternoon. The steps taken by the race organizers proved effective, as both races were able to go off as planned!

Saturday was the warmer of the two days with highest reaching into the single digits. Finding kick was not going to be an issue with the cold weather and hard tracks that CAVOC had up to offer. Finding fast skis was the challenge for the coaches. NMU and MTU clearly found the correct combination as they made up the entirety of the podium in both genders. In the men’s race, there was a seven-man pack for most of the race represented by NMU, MTU, and CSS. It was Zak Ketterson (NMU) who proved victorious on the day and took the win. Closely followed behind was team mate Kjetil Bannerud and Kristofer Vollset (MTU). It was a similar affair in the women’s mass start with a pack of 5 ladies through the first half of the race. As the second lap started, 3 women started to break away from the rest. It came down to the wire, but Nicole Schneider (NMU) proved once again to be the cream of the crop and had the fastest time of the day. Sarah Goble (MTU) finished very closely behind in 2nd place and Abigail Jarzin (NMU) finished 3rd.

Sunday brought another round of cold weather that forced many competitors not to toe the line. While these decisions were made by the athletes and coaches, the races were still successful none the less. The first race of the day was the women’s 5km skate. After a second place finish in the previous day, Sarah Goble (MTU) rose to the occasion and took the top step on the podium on day 2 of racing. Teammate Amanda Kautzer narrowly edged out Sadie Peterson (UWGB) for second place. This was Peterson’s first trip to the CCSA podium in her collegiate career. It was a close race in the men’s field for the podium. MTU Redshirt Mitch Delong was the fastest skier on the day. Teammates Patrick Acton and Thomas Bye rounded out the CCSA Podium.

MTU took advantage of the cold temperatures over the weekend and locked up both the men’s (190 pts) and women (186 pts) overall team titles. On the women’s side, it was host school UWGB finishing in 2nd (147 pts) and CSS in 3rd (144 pts). It was a flip of the other side of the podium in the men’s field with CSS taking 2nd (168 pts) and UWGB taking 3rd (130 pts).

It will be another short break for the athletes with another weekend of racing on tap. The second CSSA NCAA qualifier will take place back in Ishpeming at Al Quall Recreational Area. Hosted by NMU, the races will be a 5/10 km freestyle interval start on Saturday and a 15/20 km classic mass start on Sunday.

Gitchi Gami Games Recap

CCSA News, Race Results

The University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (UWGB), College of Saint Scholastica (CSS), and St. Cloud State University (SCSU) represented the CCSA at the Gitch Gami Games in Cable, WI this past weekend. This race venue is unique in that the starting line will be skied across by thousands of skiers in one month by competitors in the largest cross country race in North America, The American Birkebeiner. The racers seem to get a little bit of adrenaline at this venue due to the stadium set-up and loud cheering by many spectators.

The Saturday races consisted of Classic Sprints. It was a cold start to the morning, but the race organizers were able to go on with the race as scheduled and put on a great event. The collegiate racers, qualifying 11 of the 14 total collegiate racers into the heats, dominated the men’s field. Green Bay made a big push in the heats by moving 6 out of 7 men into the semi-finals. The day ended with a Green Bay double podium with Jake Ajax and Tom Woolhouse in 1st and 2nd overall, followed by teammate Cory Rouw in 5th place (3rd collegiate).

It was a similar affair in the women’s race with a big portion of the heats consisting of collegiate athletes. It was Scholastica that made the moves in the heats to bring 5 women in the semifinals. The day ended with the 24th fastest qualifier Samatha Benzing moving all the way up into 2nd overall, followed by teammate Hannah Bettendorf. Nicole Gilman finished off the CCSA Podium in 8th overall. The overall winner on the day was Lucinda Anderson from LNR.

The Sunday races brought a two-hour delay due to the cold. This allowed the coaches some extra time to dial in the athlete’s skis and get ready for a great day of racing. Both men and women completed 3 laps of a 3.3k loop. In the men’s race teammate Emil Book Bratbak, and Nicholas Matelich (CSS) broke away from the field during the first lap and skied with each other for the rest of the race. It was Jack Christianson (CSS) that made a big move during the second half of the race to close the gap down to less than 10 seconds to finish in 3rd place.

The women’s was broken apart early by the pace set by the back-to-back overall winner Lucinda Anderson (LNR). This was the only podium shared by more the one CCSA school for the weekend. Sadie Peterson (UWGB), Cecelia Boyle (CSS), and Maddie McKeefry (UWGB) finished 4th, 7th, and 10th respectively.

The Gitchi Gami Games provided a good opportunity for CCSA skiers to fine tune as they head into next weekend’s Rhinelander CCSA race. On tap is a 5/10 km Skate Interval Start and 15/20 km Classic Mass Start.

CCSA US Nationals Recap

CCSA News, Race Results

The US National Cross Country Championships took place shortly after the new year in Craftsbury, VT. These world-class trails are located in the remote northern parts of Vermont. Home to many big events, the athletes competing here were in for some great racing.

While there were four races over the course of the week, the two important ones in relation to the CCSA were the individual classic and freestyle sprint races. These two events were the first of 10 NCAA qualifying races for the region. The other two races during the week were classic sprints and a freestyle mass start.

The first race of the week was the individual classic races. Starting things off with a bang, the NMU men went 1-2-5 in the college rankings (8th, 12th, and 17th overall). Zak Ketterson took the top spot in the collegiate podium, closely followed by teammate Ian Torchia. Kjetil Banerud was the third Wildcat to finish off the impressive start. On the women’s side of things, the NMU Wildcats swept the CCSA podium for the first time this season finishing 15th, 19th, and 20th in the collegiate field (40th, 48th, and 49th overall). Nicole Schneider got her week started off on the right foot with her fast time on the day. Teammates Julie Ensrud and Abigail Jarzin finished within seconds of each other to finish the CCSA sweep.

Only 1 day later was the 2nd of 4 races, being the classic sprints. It was a second strong day in a row for the NMU men with Keterson repeating as the fastest collegiate skier (6th overall). Just missing out on qualifying for the A-Final, Daniel Streinz (NMU) was the second collegiate skier (7th overall). Finishing the CCSA podium sweep (and nearly collegiate podium sweep) was Mathias Rolid (NMU) as the 4th collegiate skier (11th overall). On the women’s side, the lone qualifier from the CCSA was Sarah Bezdicek (NMU) as the 7th collegiate skier (28th overall). Nicole Schneider (NMU) was the 11th collegiate skier (37th overall) and Julie Ensrud was the 27th collegiate skier (66th overall).

All of the athletes were given a one day rest day before picking up on the 3rd day of racing. The longest event of the championships was the 20/30km freestyle mass start races. Once again it was the NMU Men’s team leading the CCSA field at the US National Championships. Kjetil Banerud led the CCSA field as the 3rd collegiate skier (18th overall). Only two seconds further behind was teammate Zak Ketterson finishing as the 4th collegiate skier (20th overall). Ian Torchia rounds out the NMU Wildcat CCSA podium sweep as the 5th collegiate skier (22nd overall). Schneider once again leads the CCSA field as the 6th collegiate skier (18th overall). Sarah Goble (MTU) makes her return to the CCSA podium as the 12th collegiate skier (28th overall). Julie Ensrud finished the CCSA podium as the 17th collegiate skier (34th overall).

The final day of racing was the second of the CCSA qualification races. This marks as the first time that a sprint race is used for an NCAA qualifier. NMU finished their stellar week on a high note with having two men qualify for the A-Final. Daniel Streinz finished as the 2nd collegiate skier (4th overall) and Zak Ketterson was 3rd collegiate skier (6th overall). Kjetil Banerud (NMU) once again finished on the CCSA podium as the 6th collegiate skier (16th overall). Three CCSA women were able to qualify for the senior heats. Nicole Schneider made it into the quarterfinals finishing as the third collegiate skier (14th overall). Teammate Sarah Bezdicek finished as the 5th collegiate skier (17th overall). Rounding out the CCSA podium was Amanda Kautzer finishing as the 6th collegiate skier (20th overall).

In the background of all the racing is the College Cup. This takes the results from only the college teams during the week of racing. NMU took top honors, topping the men’s events while the NMU women finished in third. Combined, NMU was the top scoring college in the country with 709 points, more than 40 points in front of the runner up. Zak Ketterson was also named as the Collegiate Grand Champion being the highest placed college skier through the entire week.

Another set of qualifiers that take place based on the results from the National Championships are team selections for the U23 and U20 World Championships. Three CCSA skiers qualified to be apart of these teams that will be traveling to Lahti, Finland for the championships. Zak Ketterson, Ian Torchia, and Daniel Streinz (NMU) all qualified for the championships at the end of the month.

The next set of races are back in the Midwest. All teams will meet at the Birkie Trail Head for a CCSA/CXC Cup on the 19th and 20th. There will be a classic sprint and a classic mass start race for the weekend.

MTU CXC Cup Kick-Off Recap

CCSA News, Race Results

The MTU CXC CUP races showed a competitive start to Midwest racing at both the Junior and Collegiate level. There was an impressive 450 plus racers in all of the events that took place over the weekend. The skiers and spectators lucked out unusual warm and sunny weather. The race course has good snow cover and fast conditions despite a “low” snow fall total so far this year in Houghton.

The Saturday race for the women consisted of an interval start 5k classic. Staying undefeated so far this season, Sarah Goble (MTU) was the fastest collegiate skier in a time of 15:56.4. In what was the closest finish of the season so far, Nicole Schneider (NMU) finished in 2nd only +0.6 seconds behind Goble. NMU teammate Nadine Matter closed the CCSA podium at 16:06.9. Fastest time of the day belonged to Mara McCollor from Minneapolis Ski Club with a blazing time of 15:38.5.

The men completed two laps of the 5k course. Kjetil Stuge Baanerud (NMU) had good form on the day and led the 127 person field in a time of 26:25.8. Following closely behind and rounding out the podium sweep were teammates Zak Ketterson and Ian Torchia. Ketterson and Torchia were +4.8 and +8.0 seconds behind Baanerud, but still had a comfortable lead of more than 30 seconds to the 4th place finisher.

Day two provided excitement with the first mass start races of the season. The womens 10km skate was an exciting affair with a large group of women skiing together for most of the race. At the halfway mark there was a group of 5 skiers that managed a break from the rest of the field (Goble [MTU], Schneider [NMU], Ensrud [NMU], Jarzin [NMU], McCollor [MSC]). In what was a repeat performance of the day prior, Goble continues her streak with another win topping Schneider in a dramatic sprint to the finish by 0.2 seconds in a time of 30:09.2. Ensrud was the best of the remaining members of the 5 person group 4.9 seconds back.

The mens race was a slightly more tactical affair with NMU using some team skiing that lead to a second podium sweep in a row. The early breakaway group consisted of Zak Ketterson (NMU), Ian Torchia (NMU), Mathias Rolid (NMU), and Gaspard Cuenot (MTU). The three NMU teammates took turns sharing the workload on the front for 6km before finally breaking Cuenot after the hairpin on the second lap. Ketterson and Torchia skied then away from Rolid on the back section of the course and made for a second exciting finish on the day. Ketterson beat out Torchia to the line by +0.8 seconds in a time of 25:29.1. Rolid finished +39.7 seconds back in a time of 26:08.8.

The CCSA takes a short break from racing to celebrate the holidays. The next races that take place will be the first NCAA scoring races at Senior Nationals in Craftsbury, VT on January 3rd-8th. The qualifier races are a 10/15km classic interval start and a 20/30km freestyle mass start.

NMU Open Recap

CCSA News, Race Results

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.