COLERAINE, Minn. – It was a Blue and Gold second day at the Hilltop Invitational, as Alaska claimed both the men’s and overall team titles with four podium finishes (including wins by both Erik Soederstrom and Marit Rjabov) in the men’s and women’s classic sprints. Northern Michigan claimed the women’s title for the weekend, ousting the Nanooks by a slim one-point margin at Mt. Itasca.
Alaska’s Soederstrom powered his way to the top spot in the men’s A final, followed closely by teammate Logan Hanneman, who continues to impress in his freshman campaign with the Nanooks. Michigan Tech’s Mikko Harju rounded out the podium spots on the men’s side; the sophomore landing two top-five finishes in his first two races of the year.
Alaska’s third scoring skier, Jonas Loeffler, took fourth in the final, while St. Scholastica, the event’s host, saw its own Jeremy Hecker take fifth. Northern Michigan’s Kevin Cutts rounded out the A final with his sixth-place finish.
Another Northern skier, Kjell-Christian Markset, won the B final to claim seventh place, holding off teammate Chris Bowler.
In the women’s event, Rjabov continued what’s been an excellent third season for the Nanooks, claiming her first win of the young CCSA campaign. Northern Michigan’s Monica Markvardsen took second, continuing her impressive string of results after a pair of CCSA top spots at U.S. Nationals a week ago.
Another Nanook, Rebecca Konieczny, placed third in the women’s A final, followed by a pair of Michigan Tech skiers – Deedra Irwin placing fourth and Malin Eriksson taking fifth. Northern Michigan’s Rosie Frankowski rounded out the top six. Alaska’s Crystal Pitney earned seventh place, winning the B final.
With Sunday’s results, Alaska finished the weekend with 286 total points, six more than second-place Northern Michigan. Michigan Tech rounded out the top three with 242 points, with hosts Saint Scholastica fourth on 211 points.