The male skier of the week for this past weekend is Northern Michigan University’s Kjetil Banerud, who confirmed his classic form the past two weekends and fell only to Tom Bye in the skate mass start at the Birkie Trailhead. Banerud is a freshman from Oslo, Norway, following the footsteps of his older brother Martin, an NCAA All-American who also raced for Northern.
The female skier of the week is Vivian Hett, also from Northern Michigan. Hett has led the collegiate skiers the past two weekends and blew away the competition in the classic 10k in Rhinelander. Hett is a senior from Burnsville, MN. Hett claimed All-American honors last year at the NCAA Championships in Jackson, NH.
Andrea Lee raced hard both days taking home a third place finish in Saturday’s 5k freestyle race, where she finished 20 seconds from the lead. It was in Sunday’s 15k Classic mass start that she impressed the most by winning by 15 seconds. Lee sat in the lead pack for the majority of the race just waiting for her moment to attack. As the leaders hit the half way point on the last lap, Lee upped the tempo on the second climb of that lap to open a gap. From there, there was no looking back as the gap grew over each kilometer. With this impressive effort Andrea Lee is the CCSA Female Athlete of the Week.
Jake Brown started his weekend off with the men’s 10k skate race in a league of his own. After getting a split 2.5k into the race that he was winning by five seconds, Brown pushed himself to his limits over the next lap and a half. As he approached the 7.5k mark, Brown was one minute up on the rest of the field. With this split he gritted his teeth and dug deep to squeeze another four seconds out of the field to win by and impressive margin of 1:04.4. Brown followed his first CCSA win of the year with a second place in Sunday’s 20k Classic mass start, and was just narrowly out sprinted in the end by University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Michael Fehrenbach. With these two exceptional efforts over the weekend, Jake Brown has earned the Male CCSA Athlete of the week.
After a weekend of hard cold racing in the Twin Cities the Nanooks claimed their first of the year, female CCSA Athlete of the week with Anne-Tine Markset. Markset fought hard in Saturdays 10k classic mass start to finish fifth in the CCSA field and just 43 seconds from the win. What earned her the Athlete of the week is how she dominated Sundays 5k skate race and brought the winning streak of the Northern Michigan women to an end. Markset and her teammates will look to capitalize on their momentum next weekend when racing travels to Marquette, MI for the NCAA Regional Championships.
For the second race weekend in a row Ian Torchia takes home the honors of being the CCSA male athlete of the week. After a hard fought 15k classic race that saw him finish second by only four seconds behind race winner and teammate Adam Martin, Torchia came back on Sunday to decimate the men’s CCSA field and win the 10k individual start skate race by 28 seconds. Both Martin and Torchia will miss out on Regional Championships as they travel to Romania to represent the USA at the Junior and U23 World Championships later this month.
This week’s CCSA Female Athlete of the week is Vivian Hett of Northern Michigan University. Vivian raced hard this weekend with a second place finish in Saturday’s 5 kilometer Freestyle race. Hett followed up her second place finish with a win by a resounding 48 seconds in the 15 kilometer classic mass start. Hett will be representing her country later this year in Romania at the World Junior Championships.
This week’s CCSA Male Athlete of the week is Ian Torchia. Torchia was in top form this weekend taking wins in both races. Torchia skied to a 28 second win in Saturday’s 10 kilometer skate race, and a 40 second win over the field in Sunday’s 20 kilometer classic mass start. He will also be join his teammate Vivian Hett in Romania to represent the United States at the World Junior Championships in February.
Adam Martin of Northern Michigan University had two impressive showings this weekend winning both the 10k classic and 15k mass start skate races at Telemark in Cable, WI. Martin continues to show top form after finishing on the American podium in both distance races at US Nationals in Houghton, MI earlier this month. Martin was also the top U23 qualifier for U23 World Championships that will be hosted in Rasnov, Romania in late February.
Felicia Gesior of Northern Michigan showed notable form by placing first and third for the CCSA this weekend in Telemark. Gesior won by two seconds in Saturdays 5k and was only eight seconds off the pace in Sundays 10k skate mass start. Felicia will also be representing her Country and University by joining her teammate Adam Martin later in February at the U23 World Championships in Romania.
Logan Hanneman of Alaska Fairbanks and Michigan Tech’s Alice Flanders have been selected Skiers of the Week for their performances at the NCAA Central Regionals held on February 28th and March 1st at Al Quaal Park in Ishpeming, Michigan.
Logan Hanneman skied to an impressive set of second place finishes at Central Regionals, and narrowly missed taking the top honors in the men’s 20 kilometer classic mass start race, finishing second behind NMU’s Schwencke by 5.3 seconds. Hanneman was the top CCSA skier in the sprint races at US Nationals, taking 7th in the classic sprint and 8th in the freestyle. Hanneman competed for the United States in early February at the U-23 World Championships in Almaty, Kazahkstan, taking 23rd in the classic sprint.
Alice Flanders took her third freestyle victory of the CCSA season at Central Regionals, winning the 5 kilometer event with a time of 15:09. Flanders took 11th in the women’s 15 kilometer classic race. Flanders is unbeaten this season in freestyle races over 5 kilometers, and she has finished on the podium of every CCSA qualifying freestyle race this season. With Flanders outstanding record in 5 kilometer freestyle races, the Michigan Tech senior will be looking forward to that event in Lake Placid on March 11th.
Both Hanneman and Flanders will compete at the NCAA Skiing Championships held on March 11th and 13th in Lake Placid, New York.
Northern Michigan University’s Felicia Gesior and Fredrik Schwencke have been selected CCSA Skiers of the Week for their performances at the CCSA Distance Championships held at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis on February 14th and 15th.
Fredrik Schwencke, a sophomore Wildcat from Oslo, Norway, skied an impressive set of races at the CCSA Distance Championships at Wirth Park, winning the men’s 20 kilometer classic mass start race, and taking second in the 10 kilometer freestyle race. In the classic race Schwencke outpaced his teammates Adam Martin and Erik Soderman in the final lap to win the day, 5.2 seconds ahead of Martin. Schwencke took second place in the freestyle race, just 2.3 seconds behind the time of his teammate Soderman. Schwencke has had an incredible season thus far, winning twice, and skiing to the CCSA podium in every qualifying race he has entered.
Felicia Gesior skied strategically in the women’s 15 kilometer mass start classic race at Wirth Park to win her first CCSA race of the season. Gesior timed her attack to perfection at the CCSA Distance Championships, outsprinting Ulrika Axelsson of Michigan Tech, winner of the CCSA Sprint Championships, to win the day for the Wildcats. Gesior skied an excellent freestyle race at Wirth as well, finishing fifth overall. Gesior, a junior Wildcat from Waukesha, Wisconsin, has made the podium in three previous CCSA qualifiers this season.
CCSA racing will continue at NCCA Regionals on February 28th, and March 1st in Marquette, Michigan.
St. Scholastica’s Paul Schommer and Michigan Tech’s Ulrika Axelsson have been selected as the CCSA Skiers of the Week for their performances at the CCSA Championships on February 7th and 8th at Spirit Mountain Nordic Center in Duluth, Minnesota.
Schommer led the Saints to victory in the men’s relay, skiing a decisive second leg for St. Scholastica. When Schommer began his 10 kilometer relay leg, he was in third place behind Michigan Tech and St. Scholastica’s second team. By the time Schommer tagged off to teammate Joe Dubay for the final leg, the Saints enjoyed a 1:27 advantage over Michigan Tech, and they went on to win the day. In the CCSA Sprint Championships Schommer was the second fastest CCSA qualifier, winning his semifinal heat and taking second for the CCSA in the final heat. It marked Schommer’s third podium in the CCSA this season.
Ulrika Axelsson proved her sprinting prowess at Spirit Mountain, winning the CCSA Sprint Championships with a cagey display of tactical skiing. Axelsson won the final heat in much the same way that she won her semifinal—by making a well-timed and decisive attack on the long final climb into the finish line. It marks the first victory in the CCSA for the Michigan Tech sophomore from Sweden. Axelsson also led the Huskies in the CCSA Relay Championship, skiing the fastest first leg in the women’s relay.
CCSA racing continues on February 13th and 14th at the CCSA Distance Championships held at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis.
St. Scholastica’s Anita Kirvesniemi and Michigan Tech’s Haakon Hjelstuen have been named the CCSA skiers of the week for their performances at the Twin Cities Championships on January 24th and 25th at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis.
Anita Kirvesniemi of St. Scholastica skied to a dramatic victory in the women’s 10 kilometer classic mass start race, chasing down Northern Michigan’s Felicia Gesior in the final kilometers of the race. Gesior broke away early, enjoying a nearly 30 second advantage over Kirvesniemi and the chasing pack with 3 kilometers left in the race. Kirvesniemi attacked and caught Gesior one kilometer from the finish line and went on to win the race by 10.5 seconds. It was Kirvesniemi’s second victory in the CCSA this season after she took the top honors in the 20 kilometer classic mass start event at US Nationals in Houghton, Michigan in early January. A native of Simpele, Finland, Kirvesniemi is a particularly talented classic skier and she has proven unbeatable in classic mass start events so far this year. Kirvesniemi also skied to sixth in the 5 kilometer freestyle race at Wirth Park, the best freestyle result of her collegiate career.
Haakon Hjelstuen, an exchange student at Michigan Tech from NTNU in Trondheim, Norway, had an excellent weekend at the Twin Cities Championships, notching his first victory in the CCSA in the men’s 10 kilometer freestyle race. Hjelstuen’s victory came the day after he made a bold attempt to win the men’s 15 kilometer classic mass start race by double poling the entire race on skate skis. Hjelstuen was hampered in that attempt by losing the baskets of both his poles, forcing him to change poles several times during the race. Nevertheless, he managed to ski to fourth place. Hjelstuen also enjoyed an impressive set of sprint races at US Nationals earlier in January. Although not eligible to compete for Michigan Tech at the time, Hjelstuen led the CCSA in both sprint events, making his way to the final heat of each race and finishing third overall in the classic sprint and sixth in the freestyle sprint. As one of the fastest sprinters in the country, Hjelstuen will certainly remain a top contender in the CCSA.
CCSA racing will resume on February 7th and 8th at Spirit Mountain in Duluth, Minnesota.
Northern Michigan University’s Jordyn Ross and Erik Soderman have been named the CCSA skiers of the week for their accomplishments at the Telemark Chase held on January 17th and 18th.
Jordyn Ross skied to victory in the women’s 10 kilometer freestyle mass start race in Telemark, Wisconsin, with a time of 34:11.9, and finished fifth in the 5 kilometer classic race. Ross, a senior at NMU, has been one of the regions fastest racers this season. At US Nationals she led the CCSA women in the 10 kilometer freestyle race, finishing 16th overall, and took third for the CCSA in the 20 kilometer event.
Erik Soderman, a senior Wildcat from Njurunda, Sweden, proved that he is back in top form after illness earlier in the season hampered his campaign at US Nationals. Soderman skied a strong race in the men’s 15 kilometer freestyle mass start race in Telemark, finishing second, and in the 10 kilometer classic race he took third. Soderman’s performance in the freestyle race indicated that he will be challenging his teammate Kyle Bratrud for the top of the podium in the CCSA this season.
NCAA qualifying continues on January 24th and 25th at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota.