Ishpeming, Mich. – Senior Marit Rjabov (Voru, Estonia/Psychology) successfully defended her Central Collegiate Skiing Association sprint title, winning the women’s 1.5 kilometer freestyle technique sprint on Saturday at the Al Quaal Cross Country trails.
Rjabov, who was the 2012 CCSA classic sprint champion, was second in the quarterfinal and semifinal heats to earn a spot in the A final after her initial qualifying time of 4:15.30. In the final, she jumped out to the front of the pack and stayed strong through the two-lap course to handily secure her second indiviudal conference title in as many years.
“She took off from the gun and immediately got to the head of the field so I was worried that she went too early,” Alaska head coach Scott Jerome said. “I thought the other skiers would suck her back up on the second climb but she hammered from the get-go and never looked back. She was the talk of the CCSA today in terms of how far she won by.”
Also impressing Jerome on the day was sophomore Heidi O’Connor-Brook (Whitehorse, Yukon Territory/Music), who was the B final champion and seventh overall on the day. O’Connor-Brook had a qualifying time of 4:22.9.
Rounding out Alaska’s scoring team was rookie Julia Ebner (/General Studies), who was less than a second out of qualifying.
“It’s a little frustrating when you’re the first person not to make it in, but we know she’s not a sprinter so to be 19th was a good effort for her today,” Jerome said.
The Nanooks finished third on the day in the team standings with 60 points, just three behind second-place Michigan Tech and seven behind first-place Northern Michigan. College of St. Scholastica is sitting fourth with 48 points, followed by Wisconsin Green Bay in fifth with 47, St. Olaf’s in sixth with 40 and Gustaus Adolphus in seventh with 32.