Two Saints Earn Spots in NCAA

Sam Hvidsten
shvidsten@css.edu

The College of St. Scholastica ski team had a very successful weekend. Both the men’s team and women’s team hopped on a bus to Ishpeming, Michigan to compete in the NCAA Central Region Championships. St. Scholastica placed third out of five teams. Two of our own skiers, senior Reitler Hodgert and junior Kelsey Dickinson, ranked amongst the top CCSA skiers. The top rankings have advanced them to compete in the NCAA National competition.

Saturday’s race had multiple men in the top 20 CCSA racers. Coming in regionally ranked eighth, Hodgert slid into a sixth place finish with a time of 59:00 with sophomores Isaac Wieber placing 12th with a time of 59:59 and Ryan St. Clair not far behind grabbing 13th with a time of 1:00.23. Freshman Jack Christianson also placed in the top 20 with a time of 1:01.50.
This was also the final NCAA skate race for three of our senior Saints. Both Gerrit Garberich and Chris Hecker placed in the top 20 for CCSA with times of 1:01.46 for Garberich and 1:02.17 for Hecker. This was also the first regional championship appearance for Steven Mueggenberg.

Sunday’s 10km classic races had a very similar outcome. Hodgert grabbed a 7th place time of 27:34, which earned him all-region accolades in both techniques for the second year in a row. The win also led him to compete in the NCAA Skiing Championships. St. Clair, Weiber, and Christianson placed in the top 20 CCSA skiers. Clair finished 12th with a time of 28:36, Wieber was 15th with a time of 29:34, and Christianson was right behind placing 16th. Sophomore Dan DeLestry and Gaberich quickly followed, coming in 17th and 18th. Placing third as a team, St. Scholastica had their best finish since 2014.

For the women’s team, Dickinson led the pack with a ninth place overall, and fifth out of CCSA skiers, with a time of 46:26. Senior Ellie Evans and freshman Nicole Gilman worked together finishing 13th and 14th among CCSA racers. Evans earned 13th with a time of 49:55 while Gilman took 14th with a time of 50:38.

Like the men’s team, Sunday’s race finished with similar results to Saturday’s race. The 5km classic race had Dickinson placing fourth among CCSA racers with a time of 16:33. This finish will lead her to secure a spot in the NCAA Skiing Championships, earning all-region accolades in both techniques for the second year, like Hodgert. Dickinson also became the first CSS women’s skier to have a back-to-back top five finish at a NCAA Central Region race.

Evans barely missed the all-region accolades by two seconds, coming in 11th with a time of 17:16. Gilman was only seven seconds behind, placing 12th with a time of 17:23. Sophomore Greta Jenkins and junior Allison Ternes also placed in the top 20. Jenkins grabbed 15th while Ternes took 17th. We also say goodbye to Evans, for Sunday was her last NCAA race.

The NCAA championship race will take place on March 9th, where we will wait and see how Hodgert and Dickinson perform.