Collegiate Racing Recap: EISA, CCSA
After taking a weekend off, skiers in the East and Midwest returned to the race trails. While most everything looks different this year - the majority of that difference is being more stressful than normal - I hope that once a bib is donned, once a timing chip is secured, and once the gun goes off, skiers can find a sense of normalcy amidst the chaos. Perhaps it’s in the eye of the storm or the calm before the dawn, or in that thirst-quenching slurp of cool stream water that nature lends a hand in conceptualizing a microcosm of peace surrounded by a time of craze. I like to think that this year, skiing and ski racing can also help provide us with these sorts of moments. It’s not everything, but it’s something and I for one will cherish it.
Welcome to week three of collegiate coverage.
At Jackson XC, the site of this year’s NCAA Championships, the University of New Hampshire ski team was joined by skiers from Saint Lawrence University. The EISA will be a shrunken conference this year due to COVID related limitations and restrictions put in place by states and universities in the East. A few other teams may join for future conference competitions depending on race locations and evolving rules.
Day 1, 7/10k Skate Individual Start
In the men’s 10k, freshman Seth Wyatt (UNH) showed youthful energy over the winding and looping course, taking the first victory of his collegiate career. LNR alum James Schneider (UNH) placed second and Andrew Meyer (UNH) placed third. Midwesterners Charles Reinhardt (SLU) and Anders Sonnesyn (UNH) were 7th and 8th, respectively.
The women, racing 7k, saw a close finish between Jasmine Lyons (UNH) in first and Stephanie Nicols (SLU) in second. Only two seconds separated them. Rounding out the podium was Georgianna Fischer (UNH). Luci Anderson (UNH) placed 10th, Sydney Peterson (SLU) 15th, Jordan Schuster (SLU) 18th, and Claire Wagner (SLU) was 20th.
Day 2, 10/10k Skate Individual Start
Scott Schulz (UNH), having not finished the race the day before for unknown reasons, came on strong with a victory on day two. In second place once again, a minute and twenty-four seconds behind Schulz, was James Schneider (UNH). Schneider said, “The races went pretty well, especially considering it was the end of January and it was my first start in competition this season. Although it [back to back skate races due to conditions] is never ideal, the skiers were all beyond stoked to be able to race. The coaches also deserve a lot of respect for figuring the logistics for the event with countless restraints and limitations.”
Seth Wyatt (UNH) finished third. Anders Sonnesyn (UNH) was 7th and Charles Reinhardt (SLU) placed 10th.
For the women, Luci Anderson (UNH) charged back on the second day of competition to take the win by forty seconds over Stephanie Nicols (SLU).
“My first race was rough,” Anderson said. “Just trying to get used to carnival season I think. Going into the second race I was just telling myself that I knew I could ski faster than I had the day before. The 10k skate is my favorite distance so I knew I could do better. Looking forward I’m excited to ski against some more schools and to see how our team does against them.”
Jasmine Lyons (UNH) placed third. Jordan Schuster (SLU) was 13th, Claire Wagner (SLU) 15th, and Sydney Peterson (SLU) placed 16th.
The EISA races next February 4-5 at Quarry Road in Waterville, Maine. Colby College will join UNH and SLU for this next weekend of racing.
The CCSA traveled to Ishpeming, MI to race at Al Quaal, home of the Northern Michigan University Wildcats. Continuing to steer clear of mass start racing in the Midwest, collegiate teams raced two individual starts, the second of which tested the skiers’ mettle. An interval start 15 or 20k is not a typical race for collegiate skiers and harkens back to the days of yore when skiers were sent deep into the woods, alone, on long loops, where individual fortitude was tested in distances even up to 50 kilometers. While a 15/20k race does not touch the depth of spirit needed for 50k alone, I would think these distances for collegiate racers may necessitate a unique mindset for success. Perhaps a higher level of fortitude was found over these forty-five to fifty-five minute solo efforts.
Day 1, 5/10k Classic Individual Start
Malin Boerjesjoe (NMU, SWE) won the women’s first race of the weekend, a 5k, with Anabel Needham (MTU) earning second place and Hilde Eide (NMU, NOR) third. Johanna Craig (MTU) was 11th, Gretchen Haggenmiller (NMU) placed 13th, Samantha Benzing (CSS) 14th, Mary Lyon (MTU) 15th, Rana Kraftson (CSS) 16th, Mia Case (CSS) 18th, and Maj-Lis Helmer (CSS) placed 20th.
In the men’s 10k, Kjetil Banerud (NMU, NOR) continued a strong season with an eighteen second win over an up-and-coming Matthew Bourne (NMU). Zak Katterson, having returned from his Christmas training trip in Norway and launching into the NCAA season, placed third. John Schwinghamer (CSS) had a strong 5th place, with Patrick Acton (MTU) in 9th, Reid Goble (MTU) 12th, Mark Ousdigian (MTU) 13th, Ryan Steger (CSS) 14th, Henry Snider (MTU) 16th, Lars Dewall (CSS) 17th, Tres Green (MTU) 18th, and Sam Myers (UWGB) in 19th.
Day 2, 15/20km Skate Individual Start
In the aforementioned longer than normal individual start race, Zak Ketterson (NMU) roared back from the previous day to a fifty second win over his teammate, Tobias Moosmann (NMU, AUT). “I went into Saturday with an open mind knowing that it was my first high intensity effort since returning from Norway,” said Ketterson. “I felt pretty bad and the race was a struggle! Luckily, Sunday’s 20k skate provided another opportunity and I ended up feeling a lot better. It’s great to be back no matter what!”
Reid Goble (MTU) had his best result of the season, placing third. Patrick Acton (MTU) placed 5th, Matthew Bourne (NMU) 8th, Mark Ousdigian (MTU) 11th, Henry Snider (MTU) 14th, Tres Green (MTU) 16th, Shad Kraftson (UWGB) 17th, Sam Myers (UWGB) 18th, Lars Dewall (CSS) 19th, and John Schwinghamer (CSS) was 20th.
NMU continued their claim on the top step of the podium with Malin Boerjesjoe (NMU, SWE) winning the women’s race by forty-five seconds over Hilde Eide (NMU, NOR). Anabel Needham (MTU) raced to third. Mary Lyon (MTU) placed 10th, Johanna Craig (MUT) was 14th, Maj-Lis Helmer (CSS) 15th, Mia Case (CSS) 18th, Gretchen Haggenmiller (NMU) 19th, and Samantha Benzing (CSS) placed 20th.
The CCSA will race next at the UWGB Invitational, February 6-7, in Rhinelander, WI.
The Western colleges took a weekend off of official racing. They will toe the line again at the Aspen High School for the Colorado Invitational, February 5-6. Tune in next week for a recap of all the action.
About the author...
Luke Brown, a graduate of Minnehaha Academy and Dartmouth College, is a skier and biathlete for the Crosscut Mountain Sports Center and the US Biathlon X-Team. He enjoys running in the mountains, writing, and eating cereal with whole milk. He lives in Bozeman, MT.