The Alaska women’s skiers capped off a successful weekend by taking four of the top six spots in the 15-kilometer freestyle mass start skate, including an individual title by sophomore Alyson McPhetres (Chugiak, Alaska/Spanish and Geological engineering) on Sunday at the Central Collegiate Ski Association Championship at Mt. Itasca.
“It was a better day all-round for the team,” head coach Scott Jerome said. “Yesterday we had some okay results but certainly they knew they had more to give. I was really impressed and proud of the team in the way they responded today.”
The Nanooks scored 75 points on the day, outscoring rival Northern Michigan (72). Following the top two were Michigan Tech (51), College of St. Scholastica (49), Gustavus Adolphus (40), Wisconsin Green Bay (40), St. Olaf (30) and St. Cloud State (15).
McPhetres captured the 15K title after completing the course in 48 minutes, 19.7 seconds, which was 8.6 seconds ahead of Northern Michigan’s Rosie Frankowski (48:28.3).
She became the third Nanook to win a race at the CCSA Championship, joining junior Raphaela Sieber (Vöhrenbach, Germany/Business Administration), who won the five-kilometer classic yesterday and senior Marit Rjabov (Voru, Estonia/Psychology), who took first in the 1.5-kilometer free technique spring a couple weeks ago.
“Aly McPhetres had a fantastic race,” Jerome said. “She broke away with Rosie from NMU and they actually talked out there and worked together by switching up the lead and pushing each other and that worked out really well. Fortunately, Aly is a much better downhill skier because there’s a major downhill coming in about a kilometer from the finish.”
Senior Crystal Pitney (Fairbanks, Alaska/Business administration) was third in 49:37.8, followed by NMU’s Jordyn Ross in fourth (49:54.6) and junior Heather Edic (Fairbanks, Alaska/Civil Engineering), who was not far back in fifth with a time of 50:00.7.
Senior Rebecca Konieczny (West Yellowstone, Mont./Biological sciences) finished in sixth, crossing the line three tenths-of-a-second after Edic in 50:01.0.
Other contributing skiers included Sieber and senior Theresia Schnurr (Buhlertal, Germany/Biochemistry). Sieber took eighth in 50:12.7 while Schnurr rounded out the Nanooks competition in 22nd after clocking a time of 53:14.7.
“Pretty much the whole women’s team lit it up today and was fun to see 1-3-5-6,” Jerome said. “I’m proud of the way they performed.”
Alaska wrapped up the championship with a second-place finish with 272 points, only being outscored by champion Northern Michigan, which tallied 292 points. Following the Nanooks down the standings were Michigan Tech (225), College of St. Scholastica (201), St. Olaf (153), Green Bay (144), Gustavus Adolphus (139) and St. Cloud State (32).
Next up for Alaska is the NCAA Central Region Championship, which takes place Feb. 23 and 24 in Houghton, Mich.
“I think this sets us up well for next weekend,” Jerome said. We did well, certainly will get a couple days rest and then we’ll have some interval training Wednesday and cruise easy into the championship.”