Ishpeming, Mich. – Senior Ian Wilkinson (Fairbanks, Alaska/Art) was the top finisher on the day, taking fifth in the men’s 1.5 kilometer freestyle sprint to lead the Alaska Nanooks on the first day of the Central Collegaite Ski Association Championships on Saturday at the Al Quaal Cross Country Trails.
Wilkinson finished second in his semi-final heat to landing a spot in the A Final. A tactical error early in the final race pushed him to the back of the pack, but he never gave up and clawed his way back to the pack and passed one compeitor to take fifth.
Sophomore Andrew Arnold (Anchorage, Alaska/Chemistry) and freshman Kenny Brewer (Chugiak, Alaska/Biological Sciences) finished 14th and 17th, respectively, on the day to round out the scoring team.
Also representing the Blue and Gold were sophomore Wyatt Mayo (Fairbanks, Alaska/Biological Sciences) in 26th and junior Lars Arneson (Soldotna, Alaska/Mechanical Engineering) in 30th.
Alaska finished fourth in the team standings after the first day of the conference championships with 54 points. Northern Michigan was the team champion with 73 points, followed by College of St. Scholastica in second with 65 and Michigan Tech in third with 64 points.
Sunday the Nanooks will compete in a classic relay, which is the first of three events counted in the CCSA Championship score. The men’s three lap by 10K event begins
The races continue in the second week of the CCSA Championships and a pair of distance events, Feb. 16-17 in Coleraine, Minn.