HOUGHTON, Mich . – Victories in the men’s and women’s 3x5K freestyle relay earned Northern Michigan both the women’s and overall team titles at the CCSA Championships while Alaska claimed the men’s title, besting the Wildcats by eight points.
In a change of format from previous year’s conference championships, this year’s crowns were decided by taking the team scores from three events: the classic sprint from the Hilltop Invitational on Jan. 15, yesterday’s distance classic race and today’s relays at the Michigan Tech Nordic Training Center.
The Northern women entered the day with a healthy 11-point advantage, and quickly extended that lead, as the A-team of Marie Helen Soderman, Molly Burger and Monica Markvardsen cruised to a 48-second win. Soderman held a two-second advantage after the first leg, and Markvardsen sealed the victory with an impressive 2:53/K pace through her section of the course, finishing her 5K nearly 22 seconds faster than any other skier on the same leg.
The next two teams across the line both belonged to hosts Michigan Tech. The Huskies’ women have been one of the stories of the second half of the CCSA season so far, and continued their impressive form on Sunday. Their A-team of Lynn Duijndam, Alice Flanders and Deedra Irwin, sailed to second place in the event, and their second scoring team, made up of Sarah Daniels, Christina Mishica and Malin Eriksson, were just 11 seconds behind.
Those results, combined with previous scores, propelled Michigan Tech past Alaska and into the runner-up spot on the women’s leaderboard.
Alaska’s first squad, made up of Aly McPhetres, Raphaela Sieber and Marit Rjabov, took fourth in the relays, crossing the line ahead of Northern Michigan’s second scoring team (Libby Ellis, Rosie Frankowski and Felicia Geisor) in fifth. Saint Scholastica’s A-team of Brooke Adams, Sharmila Ahmed and Eleanor Magnuson took sixth.
On the men’s side, Northern’s Erik Soderman put the hammer down early, handing the Wildcats’ A-team a 28-second advantage after just the first leg of the event. Teammates Kjell-Christian Markset and George Cartwright only extended that lead, as the Wildcats cruised to a 40-second victory.
Alaska’s A-team of Erik Soederstrom, Ludwig Schot and Tyler Kornfield took second overall – Kornfield turning in the best 5K among his competitors with a 12:09.1 time for his leg. The Nanooks would need every shaved second of that time too – their squad just bested Northern’s second-scoring team, consisting of Chris Bowler, Kevin Cutts and Kyle Bratrud in the closest finish of the event, with the Blue and Gold edging the Wildcats by just two-tenths of a second.
Saint Scholastica’s A-team took fourth overall, as their team of Paul Schommer, Scott Johanik and Jeremy Hecker crossed the line ahead 17 seconds ahead of Michigan Tech’s trio of Matt Dugan, Jesse Smith and Mikko Harju.
For complete results, please visit www.superiortiming.com. The final CCSA team standings are as follows:
Team Men’s Women’s Overall Northern Michigan 240 250 490 Alaska 248 221 469 Michigan Tech 185 229 414 Saint Scholastica 200 166 366 Gustavus Adolphus 127 140 267 Green Bay 154 103 257 St. Olaf 101 146 247 St. Cloud State —- 77 77 Gogebic CC 36 -- 36