NMU sweeps CCSA ski titles

COLERAINE, Minn. – The Northern Michigan University nordic ski teams protected their first-day lead and won the title Sunday at the CCSA Championships.

For the second straight day, NMU junior Erik Soderman won the men’s race, this time in the 20-kilometer freestyle in 55 minutes, 25.1 seconds. And in a repeat, sophomore teammate Kyle Bratrud was runner-up in 55:26.2.

“Everyone’s really happy to have won,” NMU head coach Sten Fjeldheim said. “It was an interesting format this year, having the sprints and the relays involved. I think our team has really been firing on all cylinders this weekend though, and we are happy with how things turned out.”

Also finishing for Northern was junior George Cartwright in fifth and senior Chris Bowler in ninth.

For the women in the 15K freestyle, junior Rose Frankowski was the top Wildcats finisher in second place in 48:28.3, just a few seconds behind the University of Alaska’s Aly McPhetres. The two battled the entire race, but McPhetres pulled ahead in the end.

“Aly is really an excellent downhill skier – I was impressed with her downhill ability,” Fjeldheim said. “Every time Rosie would try and pull away, (McPhetres) would close that gap on the downhill.”

Rounding out the women finishers for NMU was junior Jordyn Ross in fourth and freshman Mary Kate Cirelli in seventh.

Northern captured the men’s title with 303 points, while the women had 292.

Overall, the Wildcats finished with 595 points, with Alaska second at 514. Michigan Tech took third with 454 points, beating out St. Scholastica by a single point.

NMU travel to Houghton this weekend for the NCAA regional tournament.

On Saturday, Soderman won the men’s 10K classic, his first conference title of the year, in 26:14.2, with Bratrud again runner-up in 26:19.7.

Bowler was fifth in 26:42.0, while Cartwright was seventh.

In the women’s 5K classic, Hannah Boyer led Northern with in second place in 15:18.6, with Ross third in 15:19.3, Cirelli fifth in 15:24.1 and Frankowski coming in ninth.