Skiers in Houghton for NCAA Central Region Championships

Photo by Bert Boyer
Photo by Bert Boyer

Jamie Foland

The Alaska Nanooks men’s and women’s ski teams are in Houghton, Mich., where they will compete for the 2013 NCAA Central Region Championships, being hosted by Michigan Tech on Feb. 23-24.

It marks the final two races before the 2013 NCAA Championships and the results will help determine who will qualify to participate at the national event being held in Middlebury, Vermont Mar. 6-8. Skiers qualify as individuals with no more than three men and three women being able to qualify from any one team.

Alaska already has one championships qualifier in sophomore Logan Hanneman (Fairbanks, Alaska/Mechanical Engineering) and with a deep squad on the men’s side, is likely to qualify a full three-member team. Fighting for NCAA berths this weekend are freshman and first team All-CCSA honoree Michael Fehrenbach (Saint Märgen, Germany/Business) and senior Lex Treinen (Anchorage, Alaska/Northern Studies), an all-CCSA second team member. The pair rank fourth and fifth among their conference foes battling for the five qualifying spots up for grabs.

The Central region has seven spots available but Hanneman and NMU’s Kyle Bratrud prequalified with top performances at the U.S. Nationals in early January.

On the bubble are three more CCSA All-Conference second team selections in senior Tyler Kornfield (Anchorage, Alaska/Mechanical Engineering), sophomore Jonas Löffler (Saint Märgen, Germany/Business) and junior Max Olex (Aalen, Germany/Northern Studies). They rank, 7th, 8th and 9th behind NMU’s Chris Bowler who ranks 6th and will be jockeying the Alaska triad along with Fehrenbach and Treinen for an NCAA berth as well.

For the women, junior Raphaela Sieber (Vöhrenbach, Germany/Business Administration) enters the weekend with the highest ranking, while second team all-CCSA honoree and sophomore Alyson McPhetres is close on her heels. Senior Crystal Pitney (Fairbanks, Alaska/Business Administration), also a member of the all-CCSA second team, ranks fifth in the region with six spots up for grabs.

The women will compete in a 5K classic interval start race on Saturday, followed by a 10K free technique mass start race on Sunday. The men will take on five more kilometers each day with a 10K classic interval event Saturday and a 15K mass start skate race on Sunday.