Collegiate Racing Recap: CCSA, EISAby Mary Kozloski
February 19, 2018
ISHPEMING, Michigan (February 17 - 18, 2018) - The CCSA athletes concluded their regional racing season among some of the best skiers in the Nation. The CCSA NCAA Regional Championships happened along side the first races of period three of the SuperTour circuit on the trails of Al Quaal. Races included a 15/20k freestyle and a 5/10k classic. Northern Michigan University was dominant in each race sweeping the podium in the men’s and women’s races on both Saturday and Sunday. Ian Torchia (Rochester, MN) of NMU commanded the men’s collegiate field and grabbed a spot in the top ten overall results in the 20k freestyle, while teammate Kristen Bourne (Lake Elmo, MN) won the women’s 15k collegiate race and was in the top five overall. Zak Ketterson (Bloomington, MN) of NMU raced his way back to the top of the podium for the men’s collegiate race in the 10k classic and finished eighth overall, while teammate Vivian Hett (Burnsville, MN) remained undefeated in the women’s collegiate 5k classic and finished fifth overall. Everything was on the line in these races, as athletes had this final weekend to stamp their tickets to the NCAA Championships.
On the first day of competition, Ian Torchia stayed right in the mix of of the SuperTour racers and carried the competitive momentum throughout the 20k freestyle to place eighth overall and win the collegiate race by 49.6 seconds. Torchia won first over teammates Kjetil Banerud and Lars Soensterud who finished third to secure an NMU men’s podium sweep. David Norris of Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center, Kevin Bolger of Sun Valley SEF and Brian Gregg CXC Team/LNR/Team Gregg were the top three in the SuperTour men’s 20k freestyle.
In the women’s 15k freestyle, Kristen Bourne, who has been switching podium spots with her teammates throughout the season, reclaimed her spot on the top once again in her final regional race of her college career.
“The weather on race day couldn't have been better,” said Bourne. “The snow was fast, the sun was out, and the air temperature was perfectly crisp. Besides nationals at the beginning of the year, we had only raced teams in our region so it was nice to have new faces from the SuperTour and Canada. It increased the intensity which mimics NCAAs nicely.”
Not only did Bourne win the women’s collegiate race, she also finished in the top five of the SuperTour race. Bourne beat teammate Nicole Schneider (Plymouth, MN) by just 3.3 seconds while Anikken Alnaes third, awarding NMU their second podium sweep of the day. Chelsea Holmes won the women’s SuperTour 15k freestyle 5.9 seconds ahead of Caitlin Gregg and Erika Flowers who finished third.
“The race didn't start out too fast however, Caitlin Gregg, Chelsea Holmes, and Erika Flowers gapped the group right away,” said Bourne. “I latched onto the back of the chase pack and just stayed there until about 13.5k. At that point, I drafted my way through the pack and kicked early. I was able to sustain it until the finish and almost caught 3rd! That was definitely a nice confidence boost going into NCAAs in a few weeks.”
The CCSA NCAA Regional Championships concluded with a 5/10k classic. In the men’s race, Zak Ketterson jumped back to the top of the men’s collegiate results with a big lead over teammate Torchia. Ketterson finished seventh overall and skied to a convincing first place finish for the collegiate men 19.7 seconds ahead of Torchia, while Lars Soensterud grabbed his second third place finish of the weekend.
In Vivian Hett’s final CCSA race of the season and career, she did not back down. Hett has been dominating in the 5k classic races this season and ruled again in the final race. Hett had a commanding lead in the collegiate field and won the race 22 seconds over teammates Kristen Bourne and Anikken Alnaes who finished third for the second day. Hett also finished fifth overall in the SuperTour results.
“In the 5k classic individual start, I definitely felt fatigue from the 15k but I was able to push the whole way,” said Bourne. “It started snowing right before we started so that altered the speed of the track as well as kick. Fortunately, our skis still had great kick so we were able to get up everything! Just like Saturday, it was great to have some really fast skiers competing on our home course. It made the race weekend very exciting!”
Kaitlynn Miller of Craftsbury Green Racing Project, Elizabeth Guiney of CGRP and Chelsea Holmes of APU Nordic Ski Center were the top three in the women’s SuperTour 5k classic, while David Norris of APUNSC grabbed his second win of the weekend, Benjamin Lustgarten of CGRP was second and Kris Freeman of Caldwell Sport was third in the men’s SuperTour 10k classic.
WOODFORD, VT (February, 16 - 17) - Racing continued to increase in intensity at the Williams Carnival, as the final two weekends of regional competition remain before NCAAs in Steamboat Springs, CO March 8 - 10. Athletes fought for a spot at NCAAs during the Williams Carnival, in a 5/10k classic on Friday and a 3.8k freestyle on Saturday. Dartmouth’s Katharine Ogden returned to the top of the podium for the second weekend in a row in the women’s 5k classic, while Sam Wood of Middlebury snagged first in the men’s 10k. Competition concluded Saturday where Minnesota native Alayna Sonnesyn (Plymouth, MN) of University of Vermont jumped back to the top in the women’s 3.8k freestyle and Karl Schulz stole first in the men’s 3.8k freestyle. Several EISA Minnesota natives finished in the top 25 including: Alayna Sonnesyn, Margie Freed (Apple Valley, MN ) of University of Vermont, Renae Anderson (Golden Valley, MN) of Bowdoin, Ingrid Thyr (Minneapolis, MN) of Williams College and Dottie Anderson (Golden Valley, MN) of St. Lawrence. Nick Gardner (Stillwater, MN) of Williams College and Luke Brown (Minneapolis, MN) of Dartmouth and Christian Gostout (Rochester, MN) of Bowdoin, led the men’s EISA Minnesota natives finishing in the top 25.
Competition kicked off with a 5/10k classic. In the men’s race, Middlebury teammates Sam Wood and Lewis Nottonson were neck-and-neck in the final kilometers, but Woods was able to pull ahead of Nottonson to win by 2.3 seconds, while Callan Deline of Dartmouth finished third. Nick Gardner of Williams College led the Minnesota native EISA men finishing 11th, just 9.1 seconds out of the top ten, while Christian Gostout of Bowdin was 20th.
Katharine Ogden ruled the women’s 5k classic. Ogden won the race with a time of 16:06.9, 32.5 seconds ahead of Cate Brams of Middlebury and Lydia Blanchet of Dartmouth who was third. Sonnesyn led the EISA Minnesota natives finishing fourth, just 1.2 seconds out of third place. Margie Freed landed in the top ten, finishing ninth, Renae Anderson was 14th and Ingrid Thyr finished 18th.
The Williams Carnival concluded with a 3.8k freestyle race. This race was originally scheduled as a freestyle sprint, but warm weather on Friday forced race organizers to change the plan. In the men’s race, University of Vermont teammates Karl Schulz and Juri Miosga battled against each other until the end. Schulz was able to grab first by a toe, just one second ahead of Miosga, while Gavin Mcewen of Dartmouth was third. Luke Brown of Dartmouth finished seventh overall, while Nick Gardner was 23rd.
In the women’s race, Sonnesyn redeemed her spot at the top of the podium but teammate Evelina Sutro challenged Sonnesyn for the win. Sonnesyn was able to edge Sutro by 1.4 seconds for first, while Taryn Hunt-Smith of Dartmouth was third. Margie Freed grabbed another spot in the top ten finishing tenth, while Renae Anderson finished 18th and Dottie Anderson was 23rd.
“With fairly warm weather, conditions this weekend were variable,” said Margie Freed. “ The 3.8k skate race was a unique race not only due to length, but the snow was soft in some locations and very icy in others. Although there was a big hill early on, this was not where the race was won, rather it was all about the flatter ground, and working transition zones. I enjoyed how different this race was.”
The final EISA race of the season with be the NCAA Regionals/Middlebury Carnival held at the The Rikert Nordic Center, February 23-24. Races include a 5/10k classic on Friday and a 15/20k freestyle on Saturday.
About the author...
Mary Kozloski is from Green Bay, WI and is a UW Green Bay Ski Team Alumni, where she skied and studied Communications and Business Administration for four years. Mary continues to love and stay connected to the sport through writing. She is a travel and outdoor enthusiast and enjoys exploring everything Colorado has to offer, which she has called her new home state since fall of 2016.