U.S. SuperTour (Ishpeming, Michigan): Friday, Saturday and Sunday
The SuperTour circuit ventured to the Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming, Michigan, this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday for three days of racing Feb. 16-19.
In Friday’s 1.6-kilometer freestyle sprints, Kevin Bolger of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) posted a 2.69-second victory in the men’s final over his teammate Jack Hegman in second and 3.02 seconds ahead of David Norris of Alaska Pacific University (APU) in third.
Bolger started the day by qualifying first in 3:43.04 minutes (2.41 seconds ahead of Hegman in second). Eighteen men entered the race, all of which advanced to four quarterfinals. Bolger went on to win his quarterfinal and semifinal before ultimately winning the final in 3:38.45.
Kris Freeman (Caldwell Sport) finished fourth in the final (+6.4), Forrest Mahlen (APU) took fifth (+10.07), and Eric Packer (APU) was sixth (+10.1).
In the women’s sprint, Northern Michigan University (NMU) sophomore Anikken Gjerde Alnæs edged Erika Flowers of the Stratton Mountain School (SMS) T2 Team by 0.1 seconds for the win in 4:09.87. Alnæs, of Norway, had previously won the qualifier in 4:22.88, 1.72 seconds ahead of Flowers in second.
With 10 women entering the qualifier, all 10 were seeded in two semifinals. Alnæs won the first semi in 4:20.24, and APU’s Chelsea Holmes won the second semi in 4:14.18.
In the final, Alnæs shared the podium with Flowers in second and Kaitlynn Miller of the Craftsbury Green Racing Project (CGRP) in third (+6.75). Holmes placed fourth (+7.49), Liz Guiney (CGRP) was fifth (+2.13), and Canada’s Sophie Carrier-Laforte finished sixth (+7.3).
On Saturday, APU reigned, with Holmes winning the women’s 15-kilometer freestyle and Norris topping the men’s 20 k skate.
In the women’s race, Holmes and Caitlin Gregg (CXC Team/Loppet Nordic Racing/Team Gregg) broke away from the field and duked it out for first, with Holmes taking it by 5.9 seconds in 42:37.1. Almost two minutes back, Flowers placed third (+1:58.4) to return to the podium. Kristen Bourne (NMU) placed fourth (+1:59.7), Miller was fifth (+2:01.2), Guiney sixth (+2:01.6), and NMU had two more in the top eight with Nicole Schneider in seventh (+2:02.5) and Alnæs in eighth (+2:07.5), respectively. Carrier-Laforte finished ninth (+2:25.3) and another Canadian Alannah MacLean (NTDC Thunder Bay) was 10th (+2:45.7) out of 43 women.
In the men’s race, the top-eight finishers were separated by less than 10 seconds, with Norris taking the win by 2.9 seconds over Bolger in 50:01.7. Brian Gregg (CXC Team/LNR/Team Gregg) placed third (+5.9), 1 second ahead of Ben Lustgarten (CGRP) in fourth (+6.9). In a photo finish for fifth (+7.2), Tad Elliott (Ski Club Vail) took it by 0.1 seconds over Adam Martin (CGRP) in sixth (+7.3) and Hegman in seventh (+7.3). Ian Torchia (NMU) finished eighth (+9.9), Canada’s Evan Palmer-Charrette (NTDC Thunder Bay) was ninth (+16.0), and Kyle Bratrud (CXC Team/LNR) 10th (+18.1) out of 62 finishers.
On Sunday, Norris raced to his second-straight win (and third in as many distance races since winning the 15 k classic pursuit on Feb. 4 at the NorAm/SuperTour in Gatineau, Quebec). With a time of 24:42.7, Norris skied 28.2 seconds faster than Lustgarten in second place, and Freeman joined them on the podium in third (+32.4). Martin followed in fourth (+34.5), Hegman was fifth (+35.9), Bolger sixth (+39.3), Zak Ketterson (NMU) seventh (+42.5), Bratrud eighth (+42.8), Elliott ninth (+1:00.5), and Torchia 10th (+1:02.2).
Miller won the women’s 5 k classic on Sunday in 14:53.9, just 2.7 seconds ahead of her Craftsbury teammate Guiney in second. Holmes returned to the podium in third (+7.8), and was followed by Felicia Gesior (CXC Team/Peak Nordic) in fourth (+32.4), Vivian Hett (NMU) in fifth (+36.5), Flowers in sixth (+46.5), Bourne in seventh (+58.5), MacLean in eighth (+1:00.8), Alnæs in ninth (+1:05.3), and Carrier-Laforte in 10th (+1:05.3).
Day 1: Freestyle sprints