Both the Gustavus men’s and women’s nordic skiing teams placed sixth at the Central Collegiate Ski Association (CCSA) Championships held in Houghton, Mich. on Saturday and Sunday. The men’s team collected 127 points, while the women tallied 140.
Northern Michigan University won the women’s event with a total of 250 points. Michigan Tech University placed second with 229 points and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks took third with 221 points. In the men’s competition, Alaska-Fairbanks took the podium with 248 points; Northern Michigan placed second with 240 points and the College of Saint Scholastica earned third with 200 points.
On Saturday, Zach Wagner paced the Gustie men with a 26th place finish in the 20K Classic with a time of 1:07:48.9. Anders Bowman took 33rd in 1:09:53.5 and Jon Kasprisin placed 38th in 1:10:37.0. In the women’s 15K Classic, Erica Hett led the Gusties in 16th place with a time of 59:54.9. Marian Lund placed 23rd in 1:01:29.6 and Danielle Burgmeier took 26th in 1:01:53.4.
“Zach Wagner led our team on Saturday and had a very good race when some of our other guys weren’t quite up to par,” head coach Jed Friedrich acknowledged. “Jon Kasprisin was our second skier for the first time of his career, so it’s nice seeing him racing at his best during his senior year. The relay on Saturday was a brand new format, and Anders bounced back and put our team in great position. Our next couple of legs were spent from the previous day and struggled to hold on.”
The second day of the competition included the newly formatted 3x5K freestyle relay race. The Gustavus women’s team of Burgmeier, Hett and Lund took ninth in 48:39.9. The trio of Megan Allen, Meredith Bache-Wiig and Annika Ferber placed 15th in 52:57.5. The men’s team of Bowman, Gabe Hanson and Peter Larsen skied to an 11th place finish in 40:31.0 and the team of Josh Blankenship, Kasprisin and Wagner took 14th in 41:14.7.
“The women put together one of their best days of the season on Saturday coming out as the top Minnesota team,” Friedrich said. “Erica Hett led the charge with a sixteenth place, which is her best result of the year. Marian Lund and Danielle Burgmeier fought hard to catch skiers from the teams we were battling. The relay was a great race and our team just ran out of room to catch the next team. Erica Hett was our anchor and she came really close to overtaking St. Olaf.”
The Gustie nordic skiers are back on the snow this weekend to take part in the NCAA Central Region Championships. The two-day competition will be held in Marquette, Mich. on Saturday and Sunday.