Cece Boyle competing at the Rhinelander Qualifier in Rhinelander, Wi. Boyle placed 14th in the race, marking her first time scoring at the NCAA level. (Photo/Megan Schiferl)

Nordic Ski Competes at Rhinelander Qualifier

Dylan Zimmerman

The College of St. Scholastica men’s and women’s nordic ski teams competed in the Rhinelander Qualifier Sunday morning, with both teams placing quite well.

The men participated in the 15km classic on the COVAC Trails, finishing third in the team competition. Freshman Tamer Mische-Richter paced the Saints, finishing fourth place individually with a time of 42:18. Dan DeLestry finished second on the team, and 13th overall, with a time of 44:13. The last Saint to score was Jack Christianson, who finished slightly behind DeLestry with a time of 44:51 for 21st.

Isaac Wieber also competed in the race, placing 29th with a time of 46:15. CSS accumulated 72 points in the race, putting them just above the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s 70 points for third place. Northern Michigan University stole the show, however, racking up 102 points for the victory.

“As a team we were happy with a third-place finish,” said Christianson. “We want to keep aiming up, though. We had some great individual race results this weekend [Mische-Richter & DeLestry], which were super fun to see. We are looking to put together a few good full-team performances going into Regionals now.”

The women also placed in the top three, boasting another runner-up placement in a Central Collegiate Ski Association (CCSA) qualifying race. Senior Kelsey Dickinson led the way for the Saints in the 10km classic, finishing with a time of 33:40 for third place. Greta Jenkins finished roughly two minutes behind Dickinson with a time of 35:31, putting her just outside the top ten with an 11th-place finish. Cecelia Boyle rounded out the scoring for the Saints, finishing 14th with a time of 36:07.

For Boyle, it was her first time scoring at the NCAA level.

“Scoring for the team for the first time was extremely exciting,” said Boyle. “I struggled earlier in the season to stay healthy so I was unsure of what this year’s season would have in store. After racing this weekend, I am proud of what I was able to do on the course and for my team.”

Paying her teammates back with a good race is the least Boyle could do, as she has been well supported by everyone on the team throughout the season.

“I would not have been able to have such a strong race if it weren’t for the support from my teammates and coaches,” said Boyle. “I am excited to see what the rest of the season has in store for our women’s team.”

Teammate Hanna Dahlberg finished right behind Boyle in 15th with a time of 36:57. Samantha Benzing, the last Saint to cross the finish line, still found herself in the top twenty with a time of 37:57. Despite top twenty for all racers seeming difficult to achieve, the women’s team believes they can accomplish it every time they hit the course.

“When we head into these races our goal is to get everyone in the top twenty,” said Benzing. “Achieving this goal was great for the team, and on top of the top-twenty finishes we had some great individual performances that added to the overall excitement of the day.”

Much like the men’s competition, the Northern Michigan University women’s team took home the victory with 108 points. The Saints found themselves in second with 82 points, which would be eight more than Michigan Tech University in third place.

The weather created some difficult challenges with the course, but the Saints were able to plan accordingly.

“It was an overcast day and the snow had been melting and freezing leading up to the event, which can sometimes make waxing a little more difficult,” said Benzing. “The coaches nailed the skis and everyone was able to take advantage of fast skis and a well-groomed course.”

Boyle was quick to agree with Benzing, pointing out the course’s uniqueness and the coaches waxing abilities.

“The classic tracks were icy and fast from the warm weather the day before,” said Boyle. “The course in Rhinelander offered many long climbs and tricky downhills, but our coaches put some incredible kick wax on our skis and I was able to maintain efficient technique on most of the hard climbs. It was great to see everything come together in one race.”

It wasn’t just the women who were praising their coaching staff, however, as the men’s team also felt confident in their skis.

“Our coaches absolutely killed the ski wax, we had some of the best skis on the course,” said Christianson.

Up next for the Nordic ski teams, which will involve traveling once again, is a trip to Houghton to compete at Michigan Tech University.