Alaska and Northern Michigan skiers led the way for the CCSA in the distance classic races at U.S. Nationals, as the Nanooks’ Michael Fehrenbach and the Wildcats’ Rosie Frankowski both turned in top-15 performances at Soldier Hollow in Utah. Fehrenbach, a freshman, took 13th overall in the men’s 30K event – just his second CCSA race – while Frankowski continued her impressive start to the season with a 10th-place finish in the women’s 20K.
In addition, Alaska’s Logan Hanneman won the 10K junior race, securing NCAA qualification for the Fairbanks native, while Northern’s Kyle Bratrud took silver in the same event.
“I’m proud of how the team performed today,” Alaska head coach Scott Jerome said. “We are confident in our classic skiing, and I think that showed. Michael [Fehrehbach] getting a top-15 finish is one of the best results we’ve had for a freshman at U.S. Nationals in a while. I’m proud of him and think it’s a sign of good things to come.”
“Logan’s been skiing really well too,” Jerome said. “He, Kyle Bratrud and another University of Utah skier were all pretty close going into the final hill, but Logan just put the hammer down and pulled away to win.”
NMU's Kyle Bratrud (left) and Alaska's Logan Hanneman (center) stand on the podium after the 10K race
Besides Fehrenbach’s performance, Alaska had plenty else to celebrate in the men’s 30K, as the returning Lex Treinen and Jonas Loffler also earned spots on the CCSA podium. Treinen was the conference’s second-best skier, taking 20th overall in 1:28:37.2, while Loffler finished 21st overall despite breaking a pole and having to ski several kilometers with an oversized replacement.
“It was unfortunate that Jonas broke his pole – I think he was up in the top eight when it happened,” Jerome said. “But that’s ski racing, and it’s was pretty impressive that he was able to crawl back into 21st the way he did.”
Northern Michigan’s Chris Bowler took fourth place among CCSA skiers, placing 26th overall with his 1:29:07.7 time. Teammates Erik Soderman and George Cartwright finished soon after, with the former taking 29th overall and the latter 30th. Alaska Tyler Kornfield (31st) and Max Olex (45th), Michigan Tech’s Luke Gesior (49th) and the Nanooks’ Andrew Arnold (53rd) round out the CCSA top ten.
For the women, Frankowski continued to set the bar for CCSA skiers. The junior earned an impressive 10th-place finish with her time of 1:09:34.3 to take the conference’s top spot for the second straight race.
Her Wildcat teammate, freshman Mary Kate Cirelli, turned more than a few heads as well, placing second in the CCSA and 18th overall with a time of 1:10:36.6. Racing in only her second NCAA qualifier, Cirelli is already showing plenty of promise for the Wildcats – the Vermont native was running among the conference’s top skiers in Friday’s race as well before a fall cost her some time.
Alaska’s Heather Edic took third among conference skiers, crossing the line in 1:12:18.2 – good for 28th place overall. Teammate Crystal Pitney wasn’t far behind, finishing 30th overall in 1:12:54.0.
“Heather had a great race, she’s really come a long way,” Jerome said. “And Crystal keeps rising and rising, she’s really done her homework and is really figuring out how to race.”
Northern Michigan’s third skier to cross the line, Jordyn Ross, rounded out the CCSA top five with her 32nd-place overall finish. Michigan Tech’s Sarah Daniels was next across, in 36th place overall with a time of 1:13:59.8, followed closely by Alaska’s Marit Rjabov, who placed 37th and MTU’s Rachel Mason (40th). Alaska’s Theresia Schnurr and Saint Scholastica’s Sarah Allen rounded out the conference’s top ten.
The CCSA skiers conclude their stay at U.S. Nationals with the freestyle sprints on Tuesday before heading to the Battle Creek SuperTour stop for their next NCAA qualifiers on Jan. 19-20.