Seeley Hills SuperTour Weekend


The Seeley Hills SuperTour 2023 was a two-day event on January 14th and 15th, hosted at the Birkie Trails in Cable, WI. This race was a part of the US SuperTour combined and the CCSA college race, which attracted many top professional skiers alongside the CCSA teams.


Men’s: The overall winner of the SuperTour 32k classic on Saturday was Peter Wolter of Sun Valley SEF, who completed the race in 1 hour 25 minutes. The first college skier across the line was John Schwinghamer of CSS, with a time of 1 hour 28 minutes finishing 8th overall. He was followed by Luke Fricker of NMU, who finished 10th overall while 3rd place was secured by Skyler Patten of MTU. Additionally, top finishers from other teams include Noah Erickson of UW-Green Bay in 24th place and Tait Myers of St. Olaf in 46th place.

Women: The overall winner of the women’s 32k classic race on Saturday was Hannah Rudd of BSF Pro Team, who finished in 1 hour 40 minutes. The first college woman was Victoria Dybwad of CSS in 5th, with a time of 1 hour 44 minutes. Following Dybwads impressive 5th place, Katerina Hyncicova of NMU, finished 8th overall, and came in 2nd place in the CCSA, while Mia Case of CSS secured 3rd place. Additionally, top finishers from other teams include Olivia Laven of MTU in 12th place, Grete Engels of UW-Green Bay in 23rd place, and Lily Hubanks of St. Olaf in 19th place.

Women’s 32k Start


Men: The overall winner of the men’s race on Sunday was Michael Earnhart of APU Nordic Ski Center. The top college skier was Ivar Dragerengen of CSS followed by John Schwinghamer of CSS, who finished 11th overall, while Joe Lynch was the next college skier at 14th. Additionally, top finishers from other teams include Felix Cottet-Puinel of MTU in 15th, Ryan Thieme of UW-Green Bay in 20th, Cooper Lennox of NMU in 28th, and Tait Myers of St. Olaf in 49th.

Women: The overall winner of the women’s race on Sunday was Hannah Rudd, who repeated her win from the previous day. The college victory went to Katerina Hyncicova of NMU in 9th. Marie Wangen of MTU finished 10th overall, while Lily Brown of NMU finished next in 11th. Additionally, top finishers from other teams include Mia Case of CSS in 12th place, Grete Engels of UW-Green Bay in 23rd place, and Lily Hubanks of St. Olaf in 28th.

This SuperTour and CCSA weekend was a successful event and a great showcase of the talents and skills of the top skiers from around the country, particularly the CCSA college skiers who performed exceptionally well. Next up is the CCSA Invite in Duluth on Feb. 4th and 5th!

NCAA Central Regional Championships


The CCSA had their last series of racing the Midwest in Duluth, MN, topping off an exciting season on both the team and individual side.

CCSA Banquet outside in Duluth

Saturday brought the Individual Classic Races, with the men completing a 10-kilometer race and the women, 5. Kjetil Banerud (NMU) once again proved why he is on top of the points list with once again, a dominant individual start win over teammate Xavier Mansfield, who has also been having a breakout season. Skylar Patten (MTU) took another podium, locking his spot for the NCAA Championships in Salt Lake City, UT. “My expectations for this weekend was to fight for the win both days” said Banerud. “I wanted to build upon the strong season I have had so far, as well as use these two last CCSA races in the preparation for NCAA.

Men’s Individual Start Podium

On the women’s side, Nea Katakala (MTU) took an equally dominating win, with Henriette Semb (MTU) unsurprising taking another podium position. Merle Richer (NMU) placed 3rd, just 5 seconds back from Semb. “My expectations for this weekend were more oriented to enjoy the last race weekend with the whole team” said Katerina Hyncicova who placed 6th.
“Eight of us are seniors and everyone is leaving except me. I decided to stay one more year, I don’t want to say final ‘goodbye’ yet. So this weekend was quite emotional for most of us. in every individual start, I try to go hard from beginning. It is a short and fast race for me, so there is no time to wait for anything. I was positively surprised when I saw the results because I did not expect that at all.”

Women’s Individual Start Podium

Sunday’s mass starts brought some thrilling showdowns as athletes were fighting for NCAA positions and a chance to be a Central Regional Champion. Kjetil Banerud once again ended up with that honor, less than a second over Skylar Patten. “Sunday’s plan was to sit in the pack for the first half of the race and see what I had in the tank for the second part,” said Banerud. “I was trying to make somewhat of a move on the second to last lap, but it was challenging to break away. I know that I have a strong finish, so when Skylar went on the last lap I knew I had to stay right with him. Approaching the finish I took advantage of my sprinting capabilities to secure another win.” The chase pack’s race was just as exciting. Tobi Moosman finished in no-mans-land to take the podium, but places 4-9 finished within 10 seconds of each other for an exciting battle. ” On Sunday I wanted to stay closer to the front of the pack than last weekend so I could be in a better position is a move was made,” said MTU’s Henry Snider, “I executed my plan and even led one of the later laps but had a broken pole on the last lap and lost contact with the lead group.” Also skiing in the pack, Emil Book Bratbak, who was racing on his home course for his final time. “The pace wasn’t too hard and I could sit in the front of the group, which was really fun as the group was big for very long. It was special to finish off on our home course with our full team and I’ll miss everyone in the CCSA circuit.”

Men’s Teams Podium

In the women’s 15k, Henriette Semb took the win from Hilde Eide in a photo finish with both skiers finishing in 47:51:19. Nea Katajala took a close 3rd just 2 seconds back. “This Sunday I was looking for revenge for the mass start in Al Qual, and luckily for me Nea and Hilde dragged me through the race until the sprint finish,” said Semb. “It was a close finish and a tough and fun fight with Hilde. But the highlight was definitely our boys cheering us on up the hill. That spirit really exemplifies our team culture this season; happiness is fast!!” MTU teammate, Olivia Laven finished 4th. “I had a really tough day on Saturday where nothing really worked, so it was just one of those days where you just have move on right away and focus on what you can do to prepare for the next day” she said. “So coming into Sunday’s race, I was not sure how my body was going to respond, so my strategy was simply to stay in the pack and ski as efficiently as possible. Being that I’m not a sprinter, I knew I had to break away from the group I was skiing with well before the finish line, so when we came to the big hill on the last lap, I just decided to go as hard as I could and then keep on going hard all the way to the finish line without looking back, and it worked!”

Women’s Team Podium

While the CCSA is done, NCAA racing in the Midwest, there are athletes who are going to the NCAA National Championships in Soldier Hollow on March 10th and March 12th. Around the same time, some athletes will also be competing at US Junior Nationals in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

CCSA Banquet

CCSA Conference Championship 2022

CCSA News, Race Results

Championship season started this past weekend in Ishpeming, Michigan with the CCSA Conference Championship.

The races started Saturday with the freestyle mass starts. The women began the day with a boom, as Merle Richter (NMU) took her first CCSA win in the 15k, a big upset over Anabel Needham (MTU-2nd) and Henriette Semb (MTU-4). Hilde Eide snagged the last spot on the podium in a sprint finish with Semb, completing one of her best races of the season so far. Cheresa Bouley (SCSU) had a memorable finish in 7th, and Victoria Dybwad (CSS) continued her strong season in 12th. “I was really excited for the mass start”, said CSS’s Emma Stertz. “Head-to-head racing can feel completely different than interval start so I was excited to get more experience. I felt like I skied the race smart and had a lot of fun! Saturday’s race was my last CCSA race for the season as I’m heading out to Soldier Hollow for Junior World’s for Biathlon. It feels like the season has gone by super fast and I wish I had more time to race with my CSS teammates, but I’m also looking forward to some high-level racing in Utah.”

The men’s 20k was a close one- start to finish, with Kjetil Banerud (NMU) narrowly taking the win over Skylar Patten (MTU)- one of Banerud closest victories yet. Colin Freed (MTU) took another CCSA podium in 3rd, just under 6 seconds from the win. “I came into this weekend hoping for a win in the skate race”, commented Patten, “Kjetil has been racing so strong in the individual start races that I thought I would maybe be able to get him in a mass start if I raced tactically enough. My strategy was to sit in until the second to last climb of the last lap then attack and push all the way to the finish. I did this but pushed a little too hard too soon and was not effective enough.” CJ Young (UWBG) had one of his best results of the season in 7th, and Gus Schatzlein led the CSS men in 8th.

On Sunday, the men started the day with an individual start 10k classic race. Kjetil Banerud (NMU) took his 2nd win of the Championship, this time with over a 30-second gap on runner-up Skylar Patten. “I came into Sunday with a ton of confidence from Saturday’s race and I wanted to try and finish faster than I have been in previous races,” said Patten. “So I conserved more on the first lap to hit the second lap fast and more importantly the last 2k that is flat and full of transitions. Next week I hope to equal or better my results in the Duluth races. Then it is into peaking for NCAAs”. Xavier Mansfield took the top position for the NMU men’s team in 4th, John Schwinghamer led the deep CSS team in 7th, and CJ Young (UWGB) finished in 15th.

The women’s 5k had another upset for the weekend, with Nea Katajala (MTU) getting into her rhythm and taking the win by over 10 seconds. Teammate Henriette Semb continued her consistent season with a 2nd place, and Merle Richter (NMU) showed she was a force to be reckoned with as well, in 3rd. “I didn’t really have any expectations coming into the weekend and was just hoping to have a couple of good race efforts”, said Lauren McCollor (NMU) who finished the day in 7th. “For the 15k on Saturday, I just wanted to stay with the pack for as long as possible and see what I had left. Unfortunately, my left calf cramped up on the second big climb, I skied with it for a while but decided to drop out around 10k because it wasn’t worth hurting it more. I was pretty disappointed but excited about the race on Sunday. I went out pretty hard and just tried to hang on for as long as possible. I died a little on the last couple of shorter climbs. Overall super happy with the race! Probably the best race of my season! Excited for one last race weekend in Duluth and then probably heading to Junior Nationals in a few weeks!” Victoria Dybwad topped the CSS women’s team in 9th, and Cheresa Bouley finished the day in 16th.

There is not much rest left for these collegiate skiers as they head to Duluth, MN next weekend for the NCAA Central Regional Championships, and then a select few will compete at the NCAA National Championships in Soldier Hollow March 9th-12th.

MTU Invite Update

CCSA News, Race Results

The CCSA went up to Houghton this past weekend for another round of racing before the CCSA Conference Champs.

In Saturday’s 15k freestyle individual start, Kjetil Banerud (MTU), once again, took another win, staking his position at the top of the CCSA season points list. Colin Freed (MTU) nabbed the 2nd fastest CCSA time of the day, leading his Husky teammates Skylar Patten and Felix Cottet-Puinel into positions 3 and 4. “Going into the weekend I was hoping to go for a top 12 finish to build off of last weeks performance and was hoping to stay competitive” commented CJ Young, who had a strong 11th place for UWGB. Approaching Saturday I was hoping to push through the tops of the big climbs to carry some speed and was hoping to be the first across the finish line as I was 5th out the gate.”

On the women’s side, Anabel Needham and Henriette Semb once again rose to the top in the women’s individual freestyle 10k. Merle Ritcher (NMU) proved that last weekend’s podiums were not a fluke, nabbing the last spot on the podium for the 3rd race in a row.

In Sunday’s 5k individual classic race, Semb and Needham swapped places to take 1st and 2nd, respectively and teammate Nea Katajala swept in to grab 3rd for a MTU sweep, along with her first CCSA podium. “My expectations going into the weekend was very low, I had just recovered from covid and was thinking to just make the best out of the situation”, said Victoria Dybwad who was the top CSS woman fininisher for the weekend, in 8th. “For Saturday’s race my approach was to go out and find a good pace and use the downhill to my advantage. For Saturday’s race I had more focus on my classic technique and hold it the whole race. Also to push myself since I started first and had no one around me to push me.”

Kjetil Banerud took his 2nd win of the weekend in the men’s 10k individual classic, after creating a commanding lead, and finished with just over a 30-second lead. 2nd place was Banerud’s NMU teammate, Daniel Streinz, with his first non-sprint podium of the year. Rounding off the top three, was Emil Book Bratbak (CSS), continuing his consistent season. “My expectations leading into this weekend were simply to reproduce what I did the last weekend at Mt Itasca”, said MTU freshman Félix Cottet-Puinel . “As a new student-athlete in this system since the beginning of this semester and as a former biathlete, I just try to take experience, give everything I have and simply have fun!  In a certain way, you cannot really gain time on this course but only lose time.  Anyways, I guess I succeed in the coach’s desire: giving everything I had, because I had to spend some time on the ground after the finish line!”

Images from Chris Schmidt

The CCSA gets some time off from racing until February 12th, when the Conference Championships will be held in Ishpeming, Michigan.

CCSA Mt Itasca Weekend

CCSA News, Race Results

Coleraine, Minnesota brought frigid temperatures this past weekend, causing both Saturday and Sunday’s races to be delayed. Despite this, CCSA racing came back to the Midwest, with exciting finishes and results.

Saturday’s Skate Individual Start started out with a bang, with this season’s favorites, Anabel Needham and Henriette Semb taking the 1,2 for Michigan Tech. Merle Richter (NMU) came into 3rd, nabbing her first CCSA podium of her career. “Going into the weekend I just wanted to enjoy the variation in races (switched interval start and mass start) and have fun,” said Needham. One of our team goals this year was to sweep the podium and I really want that to happen, so having Henriette and our teammates so close to meeting this goal is so exciting! Over the next few weeks, I want to race hard and smile before each one with my teammates. We’re going to have a great season and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish!”

On the men’s side, Kjetil Banerud (NMU) had a dominant win, creating a minute gap over 2nd place and teammate Kristoffer Karsrud. Skylar Patten (MTU) continued his strong season, rounding off the podium. “I came into the weekend feeling ready to put together a set of good races after a somewhat disappointing US Nationals,” said Banerud. “I decided to open pretty hard on Saturday and build upon a strong first lap. I felt like I was moving well and when I got splits on all the three laps I understood that I was having a good race.”

Despite the large gaps in Saturday’s individual results, Sunday’s mass starts led to some competitive racing and exciting finishes. In the Men’s 10k mass start, Kjetil Banerud (NMU) tried to break away on the first lap but was caught by the chase group made up of Emil Book Bratbak (CSS), Kristoffer Karsrud (NMU) and Skylar Patten (MTU). Karsrud and Banerud led into the finish but were outsprinted by Book Bratbak, who nabbed the win. “I came into Sunday’s race with two different approaches, either go hard from the gun or wait and see how the race developed,” said Banerud, “I ended up doing something in between, starting to push the pace after 2-3km. I got a little gap at one point, but felt like I was struggling too much on the uphills to stay away from the chasing group.”

The women’s race was equally exciting, with a pack of Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan Women fighting for the win the entire way. With the top 3 finishing within a second and a half, Henriette Semb (MTU) took the title of the day over Anabel Needham (MTU) and Merle Richter (NMU). “This weekend was all about having a great time with the team and surviving the cold weather!” commented Semb “Sharing the podium twice with my very best roommate Anabel, and having generally awesome team results is just a perfect start for our college season! It makes us proud and excited for what’s ahead. With classes starting and homework piling up my only focus was to not stress myself and to maximize recovery prior to the races – while also enjoying the very best skiing in the Keweenaw”.

Photos from Dave Zoll

The CCSA makes its way up to Houghton next weekend for their last race weekend before Championship season starts. The CCSA Conference Championship is in Ishpeming, MI Feb 12-13, followed by the NCAA Central Regional Championships in Duluth Feb 19-20. Top athletes will then travel back to Soldier Hollow March 9-12 for the NCAA National Championships.

US Nationals Update

CCSA News, Race Results

US Nationals took place over the past week in Salt Lake City Utah, providing a great chance for CCSA athletes to compete with the best professional skiers in the US. Athletes from Northern Michigan, Saint Scholastica, Michigan Tech, and St Olaf made the trek out to the west.

The skate sprint was Sunday, 1/2/22, brought one of the first challenges of the week- frigid temperatures, causing the races to be delayed in the morning. Katerina Hyncicova (NMU) and Anabel Needham (MTU) led the CCSA charge on the women’s side, qualifying in 20th and 25th respectively in the Senior women’s races Hyncicova finished the day in 9th and Needham finished the day in 19th. Lauren McCollor (NMU) qualified 7th in the junior Women heats finishing just off the podium in 4th place, Mia Case (CSS) qualified 19th and finished in the same position. On the men’s side, Adam Witkowski (MTU), Kjetil Baanerud (NMU), and John Schwinghamer (CSS) all qualified for the Sr Men’s heats, leading the big news of the day, with Schwinghamer having a strong performance in his quarter-final, placing 12th overall. Jasper Johnston placed 14th in the Junior Men’s heats.

Skate Sprints (Photo by Jackie Schneider)

The skate mass start started the warm up of the week, with temperatures rising from the rigid sprint day. In the Men’s 30k skate, Skylar Patten (MTU) raced to the top of the CSSA field in 20th. Teammates Mark Ousdigian and Tryg Solberg followed in 36th, and 40th respectively. In the women’s 20k mass start, Henriette Semb had a strong performance (MTU) in 20th, followed by Olivia Laven (MTU) in 32 and Anabel Needham (MTU) in 41. In junior races, Colin Freed was the top CCSA athletes in the men’s 10k, and Ingrid Halverson (MTU) was the top in the women’s 7.5k.

Skate Mass Start (Photo by Jackie Schneide)

After some rain in the rest day between races, techs had to prepare skis in wild conditions for the classic individual starts. After dealing with some COVID contact tracing during the mass starts, both CSS and NMU athletes were back in the mix. In the women’s 10k, Henriette Semb once again led the field with a strong 28th. Teammates Anabel Needham and Olivia Laven finished 31st and 47th. In the men’s 15k Kjetil Banerud (NMU) mixed it up again, taking 37th followed by Skylar Patten (MTU) in 58th and Colin Freed (MTU) in 60th.

Classic Distance (Photo by Jackie Schneider)

The last day of racing in Solider Hollow was the only SuperTour race of the series and proved to be a strong day for the CCSA athletes with strong performances in the qualifiers. Anabel Needham (MTU) and Henriette Semb (MTU) took their strong qualifiers (finishing 4th and 5th) into the heats, with Needham placing 11th overall. The men also had a strong day, with Kjtil Banerud (NMU) placing 12th, Kristoffer Karsrud (NMU) placing 15th, Daniel Streinz (NMU) 20th and Adam Witkowski (MTU) 28th. On the junior men’s side- Colin Freed (MTU), Hayden Ulbrich (CSS), Copper Lennox (NMU), and Jasper Johnston (MTU) qualified for heats. On the junior women’s side, Mia Case (CSS), Lauren McCollor (NMU), Gretchen Haggenmiller (NMU), Alice McKnight (MTU) all qualified for heats.

Photo by Jackie Schneider

The CSSA now gets 1 weekend off before racing again in the Midwest.

Cable JNQ

CCSA News, Race Results

Another SuperTour race challenged the CCSA athletes in the Midwest again this past weekend, with a challenging skate mass start on Friday, a wicked fast classic sprint on Saturday, and a grueling classic individual start race on Sunday. The Cable SuperTour was the last series before U.S. Nationals in Soldier Hollow, Utah, allowing athletes to tune up their racing before the holidays.

In the Men’s 15k Skate on Friday, Kjetil Banrud (NMU) took the win for the CCSA finishing 16th overall, in a field of Olympic hopefuls. Skylar Patten led a very strong MTU team in 23rd, and Emil Book Bratbak rounded off the CCSA podium in 26th. In their 15k mass start, Anabel Needham (MTU) topped the CCSA field in 14th, closely followed by teammate Olivia Laven in 16th. Savanna Fassio (NMU) broke up the MTU perfect score by placing 18th.

On Saturday, Anabel Needham once again led the CCSA women’s field with a 10th place in the Classic Sprint, qualifying for the Semi-Final heats. Katerina Hyncicova (NMU), Savanna Fassio (NMU), Marie Wangen (MTU), Mia Case (CSS) and Oda Hovland (MTU) all qualified for the quarterfinal heats.

On the men’s side, Daniel Streinz (NMU) had an impressive showing in the SuperTour final heat, placing 4th. Tobias Moosmann (NMU), Parker Courte-Rathwel (MTU), Joseph Lynch (CSS), Adam Witkowski (MTU) also had strong top 30 finishes. “Before the classic sprint I was worried that with the little classic skiing we did due to the lack of snow it could be difficult to ski fast”, said Moosmann. “Nevertheless, it turned out fine and I was able to learn a lot during the quarterfinal”.

In the Junior heats, Victoria Dybwad and Avery Tolbert both of CSS had strong 3rd and 5th place performances. And the Junior boy heat’s saw Ryan Thieme (UWGB) in 3rd, and NMU’s Copper Lennox 6th.

The final race of the weekend was a 15k/10k individual classic start, leading to close finishes for top CCSA racer on both the men’s and women’s sides. Emil Book Bratbak took the top spot in 24th, just 3 seconds ahead of Tobi Moosmann. “Going into Sunday‘s race, I tried to pace myself well and keep the focus on skiing relaxed” commented Moosmann. “That went pretty well and I think the past two race weekends set a great base for the upcoming races”.Daniel Stienz had another strong performance placing 29th, and August Schatzlein finished in 30th.

The women’s race showcased Tech’s women, with Anabel Needham, Henriette Semb, and Oda Hovland claiming the top 3 CCSA women’s places. Savanna Fassio claimed the 4th spot in 24th, and Averey Tolbert (CSS) had a strong day in 27th. ” I felt strong and as though I paced my race very well” said Tolbert, “This weekend our coaches nailed the wax for the sprints and the distance race. The weather was perfect on Sunday in my opinion, and it was great to see everything come together so well”.

All photos by Jackie Schneider

The CCSA gets a little break after the past two SuperTour weekends, with the next races at U.S. Nationals in Soldier Hollow.

Duluth SuperTour Review

CCSA News, Race Results

Competitive skiers from around the US came to the Midwest this past weekend for the first races of the season in Duluth, Minnesota. Despite the addition of accomplished competitors, the CCSA athletes held their own, having strong performances both Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday was a skate sprint, fast from the cool, icy snow and many CCSA athletes had strong qualifier performances with 7 men and 9 women placing top 30 and moving into the SuperTour heats. Stand-out performances include Katerina Hyncicova (NMU), Anabel Needham (MTU), and Henriette Semb (MTU), Kjetil Banerud (NMU), Emil Book Bratbak (CSS), and Adam Witkowski (MTU) who all made it into the semi-finals. Witkowski had the top performance of the day, podiuming in 3rd, and teammates Banerud and Hyncicova placed 6th in their finals. “Coming into the weekend I was just hoping to have two solid races to start the season and get back to racing well again,” said Witkowski. “In the sprint, I knew I could race with the top guys and I had confidence in my tactical approach to the heats. I didn’t have my best top gear but I was still feeling very good on Saturday.” Lauren McCollor (NMU) had strong performances throughout the junior finals, placing 2nd.

Sunday’s conditions were a stark contrast to Saturday’s sunny and speedy atmosphere. Snow started falling Saturday night, came down relatively hard Sunday morning, and turned into a frozen rain early Sunday afternoon, creating a slow and laborious distance event. In the women’s 5k, Henriette Semb led the CCSA field in 16th, proving once again that the MTU women will be the team to watch this year. “I was very nervous prior to this weekend but also super excited to finally race again,” said Semb. “Sunday was a tough day with a lot of snowfall in the morning and tired legs from Saturday. Still, I think I put down a solid effort and it was to me, a promising start to the season. I’m stoked for the challenges awaiting ahead, and I think the hard work we’ve put down in Houghton this fall will pay off for our whole team”. Savanna Fassio (NMU) finished 2nd for CCSA women in 18th, breaking up what would’ve been an MTU CCSA podium, as Anabel Needham and Olivia Laven finished 19th and 21st. Cheresa Bouley from St Cloud State University was the lone athlete from her team competing in Duluth but rounded out a very strong weekend in 25th, and 4th CCSA woman.

On the men’s side, Kjetil Banerud proved why he was the top returning CCSA man as he placed 2nd overall in the 10k, dominating the collegiate field. Teammates Skylar Patten and Adam Witkowski tied for 2nd CCSA men with 31st place, Tobias Moosmann placed 35th and Gus Schatzlein (CSS) was 37th. “I came into this weekend without a whole lot of expectations,” wrote Schatzlein, ” I went into the distance race pretty confident I could race well, but the new snow definitely made the race difficult and I could tell it was my first race on snow. The distance course really suits me because it features a lot of right-side V1 and I’m super familiar with our home course. After last year, where I didn’t get to race a whole lot, it was really exciting to start this season with a SuperTour and seeing lots of friends here in Duluth”. The SuperTour continues in the Midwest next weekend, in Cable, WI.

Photos by Woods Creek Productions

CCSA 2021-22 Season Preview

Olaf skiers taking advantage of a frosty morning this fall

After a season of not racing the CCSA, the St Olaf Nordic Ski team is working hard to improve individually and as a team. The last time the Oles raced as a team, they had team wins at the USCSA National Champs in Lake Placid, and the Oles hopes to continue that trend this year. “Fall training has been good, very excited for snow, we have had some time trials along with a multitude of different training workouts.” said junior Noah Johnson, “Team goals may include: creating a safe team dynamic that is both cultivating and positive for individuals, continue to work hard and get faster to hold competition against those teams/individuals that are faster, and to continue training hard and stay on top of academic work”. Athletes to keep an eye on the trails this winter include freshman Lily Hubanks and junior Tor Hanson, who have both stood out this fall. 

Bånerud and Mansfield training

The Northern Michigan University Nordic Ski team has historically been one of the best teams in the conference, and once again they should be one to watch this year. Former Assistant Coach Andy Keller took over the Head Coach job this year, with former MTU alumni Ruth Oppliger assuming the assistant coach position. NMU had 4 returning NCAA racers, but the NMU team did not have the smoothest start to the year. “I know that it has been a bit of a bumpy fall for some people on the team as many of us have been sick,” said Molly Miller, who placed 5th and 10th at NCAAs last spring and represented Canada at the 2021 Junior World Championships. Despite the sickness, the team stays optimistic for the season. “The team goal for this season is to keep people healthy and injury-free,” said sophomore Kristoffer Karsrud. “I think that personal drive and goals are what drives the team’s goals, which is why it’s so important to have a strong team environment as we do”.  Kjetil Bånerud is the men’s team returning NCAA All-American, so expect him to be towards the top of the CCSA results list this season along with senior Xavier Mansfield, “[Kjetil and Xavier] are both very fit and motivated, and that’s easy to see in training” commented Karsrud. On the women’s side, look out for junior Gretchen Haggenmiller. “She has made some serious gains this fall, definitely one to watch this winter,” said teammate Savanna Fassio. 

Green Bay nordic ski team is in the rebuilding stages led by former athlete now Head Coach Sam Myers. Stepping into a team that had three men and no women, Myers was forced to put recruiting for the next year’s team on the front burner, but that seems that the Phoenixes are still will make a splash this season under their new leadership. “Coach Myers has brought a lot of excitement to the team and it has been super motivating to see the improvement that myself and my teammates have had all fall” said Ryan Thieme. “Team goals for the winter include two top three team finishes at CSSA races along with all of us qualifying for the Junior National Championships in Minneapolis”. Considering that the CCSA scores 5 athletes and the Green Bay roster field 3, these goals will be interesting to watch this season. 

Members of the MTU team

Michigan Tech has been continuously proving that they are a team to watch both on the regional and national level, and they have growing and strengthening their team under coaches Tom and Kristen Monahan Smith. “One of our greatest past challenges has been not quite having the team depth to take away conference and regional titles,” Tom said. “This season’s team will have the most competitive depth we have fielded potentially in the history of our program. We are simply fired up to get this outstanding team of women working together and racing together for team conference, regional and national championship titles.” With 7 new men and 4 new women on the roster, there will be plenty of athletes competing for the top of the results list come racing season. This is one of MTU’s strongest returning classes, and possibly the strongest returning women’s team in the CCSA, with Henriette Semb, Anabel Needham, and Olivia Laven all 2021 NCAA competitors, but it will be interesting to see if a newcomer can make her way into the pack. The men’s team is young, graduating a lot of leaders last spring, but it seems despite the changeover, the men’s team hopes to be just as strong as last year. “I see a lot of potential in the long run with our freshmen this year. The enthusiasm they bring to the team is amazing to push each other in every practice.” said sophomore Cedric Keller, ”Parker Courte-Rathwell has already become a key player in the team with his attitude and effort both in athletics and academics as well as interpersonal skills”. 

Some of the CSS Women

Head Coach Maria Stuber determination to make the College of Saint Scholastic one of the best programs in the country has been paying off the last couple of years. Last year, the Saints brought three women and 2 men to the NCAA National Championships, and with all 5 athletes returning, the team only looks to be on the upward trajectory. “Fall Training has been great, “ said freshman Chase High. “We really got to train as a team compared to last year. My favorite part of the team is how tight knit it is. Everyone gets along and supports each other”. The CSS Ski team will be hosting the first races of the season this year in Duluth, which will come with plenty of competition- the first two CCSA race weekends are US Supertour events, which will bring the US professional racing scene to the Midwest. The Saints hope the first home court advantage will give their young athletes some confidence heading into the season, “We have 9 freshman women this year. They bring a lot of different experiences from all over the country (and the world) and it will be awesome to see what they can do on the snow” said returning NCAA competitor Emma Stertz, “Last season we sent a record five Saints to the national championship. We’d love to get that many out there again this year”.

The Central Collegiate Ski Association Standardized Wax Policy


to be used at all CCSA Races, including collaborative CXC Cups.  

The Central Collegiate Ski Association (CCSA) has been standardizing glide wax with various products at standalone events for the past three years.  Coaches feel this approach gives them a distinct advantage in resource management and keeps their programs focused on the student-athlete experience.  CCSA coaches are also concerned about the health and safety of their people.  For the 2021-2022 season, a CCSA working group (that included input from collegiate biochemistry and analytical chemistry faculty)  analyzed standardized product material safety data sheets (MSDS) to ensure that there were no known toxic or hazardous chemicals.  The working group determined that there is no way to fully determine the health safety of a product from MSDS alone.  All participants should still follow all product personal protection recommendations. The CCSA is exploring options to further research product safety in the future using member institutions’ analytical chemistry resources.  

The simplicity of product options and price point were also factors in determining brand choice.     

The CCSA standardized wax protocol will begin on January 17th, 2022 in alignment with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard fluorocarbon wax ban for the remainder of the 2021-22 ski season. 

For the 2021 race season, the CCSA competitions will require the following:


  • Cold: Toko High-Performance Blue Hot Wax
  • Med: Toko High-Performance Red Hot Wax
  • Warm: Toko High-Performance Yellow Hot Wax


  • Non-fluorinated kick wax only 

We know from the 2021 Spring CXC Congress wax proposal vote that there is tremendous support from coaches in this region to standardize the glide waxing process for strong reasons that include health, budget, sport accessibility, and the athlete experience. CCSA Coaches hope that our standardized policy will de-mystify the glide wax process a little and give other Central Region programs looking to shift their time and resources to a more athlete-centric approach the confidence that they can be competitive in doing so.    

There are other rule precedents in college athletics to ensure that the student-athlete experience is at the forefront of resource allocation, such as NCAA hockey legislation 11.6, Scouting of Opponents (see 11.6.1). The College of St. Scholastica head coach, Maria Stuber, compares the task of scouting opponents in hockey to the task of glide waxing skis. Both tasks can contribute to a team’s success but happen in the absence of student-athletes and can consume an unlimited amount of team resources.  Coach Mare MacDougall Bari at St. Lawrence University reports that the AHCA NCAA DI hockey conference limits off-campus, in-person scouting because “it takes our coaches away from their most important role, as mentors and teachers of the game to our student-athletes. The student-athlete experience is built upon many things, but none more important than the relationships built between athlete and coach, and we believe that our coaches should be put in a position to be as present as possible at in-season training sessions, practices, and meetings.”

There will always be a multitude of glide-related tasks on a race weekend. The CCSA understands that standardizing glide wax is just controlling one of many variables. While the other variables do not go away, most of the other race weekend tasks are done side-by-side with student-athletes; such as testing skis, structure, and dialing in race day kick wax.

The CCSA will choose a wax on the Wednesday prior to each event.  You can check the @ccsa_nordic Instagram or Facebook pages to see the call each week if you’d like to be waxed the same as your favorite collegiate skiers.