It was another big day for Alaska at the second day of the Tour de Twin Cities SuperTour stop, as the Nanooks, led by a resurgent Raphaela Sieber, swept the college podium in the women’s 15K mass start classic and saw Jonas Loeffler claim his first college win in the men’s 20K event at Wirth Park in Minneapolis.
“I’m really happy for our team, and for our women,” Alaska head coach Scott Jerome said. “We had a good day yesterday, but we were still kind of holding our breath on the classic race today. But it worked out and I’m really happy for Raphaela. Any time you can sweep the podium, it’s really exciting.”
After battling illness during the early part of the season and at U.S. Nationals, Sieber looks to be hitting her stride once again, as she raced her way to an impressive seventh place overall finish Sunday. Sieber crossed the line in 47:21.7 – a good 54 seconds ahead of her nearest collegiate competition.
Teammate Aly McPhetres, who also earned her first collegiate win in the skate race yesterday, completed a standout weekend for herself with a second-place collegiate finish, and ninth-place overall, in 48:25.4. The Nanooks’ Rebecca Konieczny took third in the CCSA with a tenth-place overall finish of her own, in 48:38.0.
“Aly had her best classic race ever today,” Jerome said. “That’s what she needed to do if she wants to make it to NCAAs, so this is a good start for her.”
Northern Michigan’s Jordyn Ross took fourth in the CCSA with her 11th-place overall finish in 48:41.3, just edging out Alaska’s Theresia Schnurr, who finished 12th overall and fifth in the CCSA in 48:41.8.
A solid performance from Green Bay’s Kailey Mucha saw her earn the conference’s sixth-best finish, taking 15th overall in 49:18.9. A pair of Northern Michigan Wildcats were next across the line – Mary Kate Cirelli and Hannah Boyer earning 17th and 18th place, respectively.
Alaska’s Heather Edic’s 19th-place finish was good enough to earn her ninth among collegiate skiers, while Saint Scholastica’s Sharmila Ahmed rounded out the CCSA top ten, edging NMU’s Rosie Frankowski by just under a second to earn a 20-place overall finish.
On the men’s side, Loeffler separated himself from the rest of the CCSA pack to claim his first ever conference win, earning an eighth-place overall finish with a time of 48:06.7.
“This was a huge race for Jonas,” Jerome said. “It will be a really big boost for him. He was actually having a really good race at U.S. Nationals in the 30K before he broke a pole, so it was good to see him get his first CCSA win today.”
Saint Scholastica’s Jeremy Hecker took the silver spot among collegiate skiers, completing his 20K in 48:20.2. An NCAA participant a year ago as part of a landmark season for Saint Scholastica, Hecker too enjoyed a fine stay at Wirth Park, earning a fifth-place finish in the skate race yesterday.
Northern Michigan’s Chris Bowler rounded out the CCSA podium, finishing 18th overall with a time of 40:30.8. Alaska’s second scoring skier, Michael Fehrenbach, just missed out on his first CCSA podium spot, coming in fourth just three-tenths of a second behind Bowler.
“Michael actually had a hard fall today that cost him a lot of positions,” Jerome said. “He could have easily had a top-ten finish today as well.”
The Nanooks’ Tyler Kornfield completed a solid weekend of racing with a fifth-place collegiate finish and 22nd overall on Sunday, followed closely by Northern Michigan’s George Cartwright and Erik Soderman, who took 24th and 26th overall, respectively.
A pair of Nanooks, Lex Treinen (33rd overall) and Max Olex (36th overall) were next across the line for the CCSA, meaning Alaska earned five of the region’s top-ten spots on Sunday. Michigan Tech’s Matt Wong rounded out the top ten with his 39th place overall finish.
“It was a good weekend for us,” Jerome said, “and having a good final race makes the flight home a lot easier.”
The CCSA skiers now head to Giants Ridge for their next NCAA qualifier next weekend, with races being held Jan. 26-27.