LAKE PLACID, New York (January 12 - 13, 2019) - As the 2019 U.S. Nationals came to an end last week in the East, the start of the collegiate competition began. The Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) kicked off their season with the St. Lawrence Carnival which was held at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg ski trails in Lake Placid. The University of Vermont’s (UVM) Lina Sutro and Ben Ogden swept both of the women’s and men’s podiums on Saturday and Sunday’s competition. Minnesota native Margie Freed (Apple Valley, MN) who also skis for UVM had an outstanding weekend of racing, finishing third in the women’s 10k classic and fifth in the 5k freestyle.
“I felt pretty strong after using US nationals to ‘remember’ how to race again this season,” said Freed.
The St. Lawrence Carnival kicked off with a 5/10k freestyle race. Lina Sutro (UVM) secured first by 8.6 seconds ahead of Annika Landis (Middlebury) and teammate Jenny Pedersen who finished third. Margie Freed started off the weekend strong grabbing a spot in the top five, finishing fifth and was just four seconds out of a podium finish. Three Minnesota natives finished in the top 25 including: Abigail Drach (Eden Prairie, MN, Dartmouth), Skylar Tupper (Minneapolis, MN, Colby College) and Renae Anderson (Golden Valley, MN, Bowdoin College) were 18th, 20th and 22nd, respectively.
“It was a frigid weekend which made for fast skis which are always helpful,” explained Freed. “The course was tough and having two interval starts left the race up to each individual fighting against their own power. This weekend has added some gas to the fire for the season.”
The race for the top three was not as predictable in the men’s 10k freestyle. The University of Vermont teammates not only all finished within 2.6 seconds of one another, they also swept the men’s podium. Bed Ogden stole first by just 1.2 seconds ahead of Bill Harmeyer, while Finn O’Connell was third. Minnesota natives Nick Gardner (Stillwater, MN,Williams College), Christian Gostout (Rochester, MN, Bowdoin College) and Anders Sonnesyn (Plymouth, MN, University of New Hampshire) finished 22nd, 23rd and 28th, respectively.
The Carnival concluded with a 10k classic for both the men and women. In the women’s race, Sutro and Landis were one and two once again, but Margie Freed climbed her way up to third place after finishing fifth the day before. While, Freed has had many top ten finishes throughout the seasons, this was her first podium finish of her college career. Renae Anderson also had an impressive race, securing a spot in the top ten, finishing eighth overall. Ingrid Thyr ( Williams College) was 29th and Erin Bianco (Ely, MN, Colby College) finished 32nd.
The men’s top two also felt like deja vu, as Ogden and Harmeyer grabbed first and second. Braden Becker (Williams College) snatched third, denying UVM of their second men’s podium sweep of the weekend. Nick Gardner grabbed a spot in the top 20 finishing 17th, Christian Gostout was 23rd, Will Bodewes (Minocqua, WI, University of New Hampshire), 33rd and Sean Cork (St. Louis Park, MN, Bowdoin College) was 35th.
The EISA will compete in the University of New Hampshire Carnival January 18 - 19 at Jackson XC in Jackson, NH. Races include a 15/20k classic on Friday and freestyle sprints on Saturday.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colorado (January 12 - 13, 2019) - The Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association (RMISA) kicked off their 2019 season with the Colorado Invitational hosted at Howelsen Hill ski trails, which was also host to the 2018 NCAA Championship competition. The athletes competed in a 5/10k individual freestyle race on Saturday and a 10k classic mass start on Sunday. Guro Jordheim who skis for the University of Utah was undefeated in the women’s races, while Kornelius Groev of University of New Mexico won the men’s freestyle race and Sigurd Roenning of University of Alaska Anchorage took the classic race. Minnesota native Michaela Keller-Miller (Plymouth, MN), who competes for the University of Alaska Anchorage, had two top 15 finishes.
In the women’s 5k individual freestyle race Jordheim had a commanding 25.4 second lead over University of Denver’s Taeler McCreary who finished second while Karianne Moe finished third. Michaela Keller-Miller finished 12th overall and was 10.1 seconds out of the top ten.
“This weekend’s races were a fun start to the season’s college races,” said Keller-Miller. “Saturday’s skate 5k went well for me. The course was mostly uphill for the first few kilometers with some rolling flats mixed in. Most of the racers were in Vermont last week, so we all had to make the jump up to altitude. I made an effort to push the middle, rolling section since the final 2k were mostly downhill into the finish.”
Minnesota natives Anja Maijala (Wrenshall, MN, University of Alaska Fairbanks) and Hannah Rudd (University of Alaska Anchorage, Plymouth, MN) finished in the top 25, placing 17th and 24th, respectively. Kelly Koch (Burnsville, MN) who skis for the University of Montana, not only made her collegiate racing debut, she also snatched a spot in the top 30, finishing 30th overall. In the men’s 10k, Groev secured his first podium of the weekend, finishing just 2.6 seconds ahead of Linard Kindschi (Independent) and Sigurd Roenning (UAA) who was third.
The Colorado Invitational concluded with a 10k classic mass start. The women’s battle for first was intense between Jordheim and Hedda Baangman (University of Colorado). Jordheim and Baangman stuck close together throughout the race but Jordheim was able to lunge slightly farther than Baangman to snatch first by a toe. Jordheim beat Baangman by just 1.2 seconds, while Karianne Moe finished third. Michaela Keller-Miller and Hannah Rudd worked together as teammates throughout the course and both had strong races, finishing 15th and 16th, respectively. Anja Maijala finished in the top 25 at 23rd overall.
“Sunday’s 10k classic race was a little tougher, but I was still happy with the result,” explained Keller-Miller. “I was able to start strong with the chase pack, but couldn’t quite hang on the second lap. Overall, it was exciting to see our girls team finishing together, as we took the 15th through 20th spots, as well as Natalie finishing 12th. Our boys team had a great weekend, winning Saturday’s race as well as Sigurd scoring a win on Sunday.”
The RMISA will be back in action January 18-19 for the Montana State Invitational which will be hosted at the Crosscut Mountain Sports Center in Bozeman, MT. Athletes will compete in a 5/10k freestyle on the 18th and a 15/20k classic on the 19th.
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.