The new year brings the start of a new season for the Central Collegiate Ski Association programs. The region will look to continue some of the momentum they gained in the NCAA championships last year – after a series of disappointing seasons at nationals, the CCSA finally regained a place atop the podium as Northern Michigan’s Erik Soderman captured the national championship in the men’s 10k skate.
Including Soderman, CCSA skiers earned three other All-American spots at NCAAs a year ago – all in the freestyle race.
This season, the CCSA powerhouses all appear to be fully prepared for another run at the podium spots at the NCAA Championships in Middlebury, Vt in March. The Wildcats of Northern Michigan seem as deep as ever, returning a full handful of former nationals participants as well as four of the top 12 skiers on each the men’s and the women’s side from a year ago.
Likewise, Alaska looks to have strength in numbers as well, especially on the women’s side, where head coach Scott Jerome estimates he could have as many as six skiers that could challenge for a trip to nationals.
With a solid returning core on both the men’s and women’s side, Michigan Tech will be looking for their collective experience to pay off, as they look ready to make the next step into the nation’s elite. Saint Scholastica, meanwhile, come into the new season with as much promise as any team in the region – not only do the Saints return both of their two NCAA participants from a year ago on the men’s side (the first skiers to qualify for nationals in program history), but they boast an exciting, up-and-coming women’s team as well.
The regions other programs, such as St. Olaf College, Green Bay, St. Cloud State and Gustavus Adolphus, all welcome a handful of talented young skiers, all eager to make their impact and challenge for the region’s seven men’s and six women’s NCAA spots this season.
The CCSA skiers get their first taste of regional qualifiers on Friday, as the teams take part in the distance freestyle races at U.S. Nationals at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah, where the women open things up with a 10K individual start event at 10 a.m. Mountain time, followed by the men’s 15K individual start race at noon. For complete updates and results, please visit http://summittiming.com/races/race_results.php.
For more information on each program, please visit the team’s profile page:
University of Alaska Fairbanks
College of Saint Scholastica
Gogebic Community College
Gustavus Adolphus College
Michigan Tech University
Northern Michigan University
Saint Cloud State University
Saint Olaf College
University of Wisconsin – Green Bay