Collegiate Racing Recap: CCSAby Mary Kozloski
January 28, 2019
RHINELANDER, Wisconsin (January 26 - 27, 2019) - Lambeau Field wasn't the only sports stadium in Wisconsin deserving the title ‘Frozen Tundra’ this weekend. The race stadium at the CAVOC Trails in Rhinelander as well as the athletes of the Central Collegiate Ski Association (CCSA) withstood subzero temperatures as they met for their first races of the new year. Due to the frigid temperatures, race organizers were forced to delay both races and shorten the distance classic mass start on Saturday from a 15/20k to a 10/15k. The cold did not keep the athletes from delivering several outstanding results. Northern Michigan University teammates Zak Ketterson (Bloomington, MN) and Nicole Schneider (Plymouth, MN) won the men’s and women’s classic mass starts on Saturday, while Michigan Tech’s (MTU) Sarah Goble (Harbor Springs, MI) and Mitchell DeLong (Houghton, MI, MTU redshirt) grabbed the women’s and men’s 5/10k freestyle race on Sunday.
“Tech had great performances and the team victory,” said Tom Bye (Eden Prairie, MN, MTU). “Personally, Since the races were cold I had to adjust my warmup and add about 15 minutes in the start just to get my lungs used to the very cold temperatures. It was crucial to take the extra time in the warm up and dress well to stay protected in the cold for both days.“
The races kicked off with the mass start distance classic races which were originally scheduled for Sunday, but due to the cold, race organizers rearranged the races. Schneider and Goble, who have been competitive with one another since the beginning of the season, were duking it out once again in the women’s 10k mass start. They are both returning from impressive results at U.S. Nationals in Craftsbury, VT and showed no signs of fatigue as they battled for first until the very last meter of the race. Schneider was able to edge Goble by nearly two seconds to snatch her first podium of the 2018-2019 collegiate season.
“For the classic mass start on Saturday, I skied with the lead group and focused on staying as relaxed as possible so I would be ready to go when the pace picked up in the last few Ks,” explained Goble. “It was a fun race and good sprint to the finish with Abby and Nicole from NMU!”
Abigail Jarzin (Green Bay, WI, NMU) also had an impressive classic race. Not only did Jarzin grab third overall, she also had the fastest 5k time (first of two laps) of the 10k distance race which was an added ‘special event’ to the race. NMU’s Sophie McDonald finished fourth and Sadie Peterson (Mora, MN, UWGB) was fifth overall.
In the men’s 15k classic, Ketterson who has been dominating the CCSA races so far this year, was able to hold off teammate Kjetil Banerud to claim another victory. Ketterson won first by 1.6 second ahead of Banerud, while Kristoffer Vollset (Klaebu, Norway, MTU) grabbed third and was able to stop NMU from grabbing a men’s podium sweep. Mathias Rolid (NMU) was fourth, Nick Matelich (College of St. Scholastica) was fifth and Emil Book Bratbak (CSS) finished sixth overall and had the fastest 5k time.
The weekend of competition concluded with a 5/10k individual freestyle races. A notable absence from Sunday’s results was Northern Michigan University athletes who opted to forego the races. In the women’s race, Goble took charge for the second day in a row, winning the 5k freestyle by nearly 30 seconds ahead of MTU teammate Amanda Kautzer (Plymouth, MN) who finished second and Sadie Peterson finished third. Stephanie Balas (Manitowish Waters, WI, St.Olaf College) and Samantha Benzing (CSS) rounded out the top five finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
“I tried to ski the 5k interval start as smart and as strong as possible,” Goble explained. “I’m always trying to think ahead and push a little harder over the top of a hill or into a downhill. Obviously it was very cold this weekend, so conditions were tough but having a good warm up is key on these kinds of days!”
The men’s 10k race did not have as predictable of a finish as the women’s race. DeLong grabbed first by just 6.40 seconds ahead of Patrick Acton (Eagan, MN, MTU) who finished second and Tom Bye finished third. Bratbak and Reid Goble (Harbor Springs, MI, MTU) grabbed spots in the top five finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
"During the skate race, the plan was to rip from start and be careful on the A climb the first lap and push every downhill to maintain velocity up the subsequent hill, said Bye. “It was a fun race because I was setting the pace for the other racers being the first A seed out.”
The CCSA will return to racing February 2-3 at the Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming, MI. Races will include a 5/10k individual freestyle on Saturday and a 15/20k mass start classic race on Sunday.
Note: RMISA and EISA divisions were off this weekend.
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.