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High School

USCSA Nationals Wrap Up

By Nels Dyste
March 15, 2005

The following is a summary of race updates from Nels Dyste, one of the St. Olaf skiers. -- Ed.

March 8th - Freestyle Sprints

The St.Olaf College Nordic team has been hard at work in McCall, Idaho at the United States College Ski Associations National Championships. The temperatures are very warm, sunny and clear. Without new snow in a couple of week the snow is reaching it's minimum, but the grooming at Ponderosa State Park is top notch and has been doing a great job to make the best of the conditions.

The St. Olaf team kicked off the week with a 1.5k skate sprint race. The Ole men had all four men finish in the top fifteen in the preliminaries. In the final Nate Erlandson finished in 1st, Oliver Garrison 5th and Jake Boyce in 6th, Nels Dyste missed making the final but finished in 14th overall. The Olaf men finished in first place over the University of Wyoming. The Olaf Woman are also had three women in the finals with Linn Dale winning the title, Briaa Shurke in 7th and Jennie Hedberg in 8th place. The Olaf women finished in second place under the University of Wyoming.

March 9th - Mass Start Freestyle

The second day of races at the USCSA National Championships in McCall, Idaho was beautiful. Clear skies and warm temperatures made for fast conditions in the morning for the women's race and increasingly slower for the men. The St. Olaf women dominated the field with Linn Dale taking 2nd in a sprint finish completing the 15k course in just under 47 minutes. Stephanie Block took 3rd, Bria Schurke took 4th, Jennie Hedberg finished in 7th and Maddie McCauley finished in 16th. This fast performance by the St.Olaf women pushed them into first place with 8 points. The St.Olaf men's team also won their race though by only three points. Nate Erlandson was the top finisher for the Olaf team taking 2nd to St. Louis Park native John Erickson. Ollie Garrison finished in 5th with a broken pole, Jake Boyce in 6th, and Nels Dyste finished in 14th again.

March 11th - Classical

The USCSA Nationals concluded with an 8.5k classic race and a 3 x 5k relay. The St. Olaf men's team had another dominating performance skiing early on the icy crust of the steadily melting Ponderosa course. Ollie showed his training paid off this fall by taking 2nd place, just under Riley Hotmann of The University of Wyoming. Nate Erlandson was the next St.Olaf finisher again placing high with a 4th place. Jake Boyce entered the stadium with one pole having skied the last kilometer of the race with only one and still managed a 6th place finish. Nels Dyste continued his streak of 14th place finishes and the St.Olaf men won the National Classic race by a pretty nice margin.

The St.Olaf women went out hard but the University of Wyoming women had another plan. St.Olaf's own Linn Dale won the classic race by over a minute but the University of Wyoming women took the next three spots. Stephanie Block took 6th place, Bria Schurke was 8th, and Jennie Hedberg took 9th.

March 12th - Relays

Though the day of rest may have taken it's toll on the women's team in the classic race, it proved to be for the better with the women's team winning the 3 x 5k relay by over a minute. St.Olaf's scored team consisted of Stephanie Block skiing classic, Linn Dale skiing classic, and Bria Schurke on the anchor leg skating. Stephanie Block skied a good first leg putting the team in a good position. Linn Dale again showed her double poling ability by taking the field by 2 minutes, this put Bria Schurke in an excellent position for an easy finish to win the relay by more than a minute over second place Wyoming. The St.Olaf women's team is made up of five women so Jennie Hedberg skied two legs with teammate Maddie McCalley. Jennie Hedberg had the race of her life beating her teamate on the first team Stephanie Block by a couple of seconds putting her relay team in fourth place.

The Men's team did equally well in the relay with all three legs skiing very well. Heading off the relay was freshman Jake Boyce who came into the stadium with both poles this time and about a 30 second lead over the rest of the pack by skiing the fastest classic leg of the day. He tagged off to Ollie Garrison who also skied a great leg adding to the already large lead by skiing the second fastest. Nate Erlandson skied the anchor skate leg putting even more time on the field. The St. Olaf men's team thus won their relay by over a minute.

In a recap of the week, the St. Olaf team men's team won every event of the week, and placing three of their four skiers on the All-American team, with Nate Erlandson winning the overall combined title. The Women's Team won the overall team combined title by only a point over the University of Wyoming. The women's team found four of it's five skiers on the All-American team with Linn Dale winning the individual combined title.

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