Midwest 2017 Junior National and NENSA U16 Team Naming

MAYOR’S XC CHALLENGE, Minneapolis MN, served as the location for the last Midwest JNQ event of the season. The series of qualifying races started December 17th in Houghton, MI traveling to three other race venues for a total of 8 races where there was a potential to qualify for a spot on Midwest’s 2017 USSA Cross Country Jr. National Championship Team.

Both races Saturday and Sunday were classic discipline with sprint competitions on Saturday and a distance mass start on Sunday.

Though temperatures reached a balmy mid-50s both days, race organizers were able to hold the races on well covered man-made loops with tracks set throughout the day.

After the competitive weekend was over, the team gathered for the highly anticipated team naming for the Midwest 2017 USSA Cross Country Jr. National Championship Team and Midwest 2017 NENSA U16 Championships Team.


Photo Credit: Skinnyski.com

This year, members of the Midwest Junior National team travel to Lake Placid, NY for a week long series of 4 races against the nation’s top junior skiers. More information on the event can be found at www.xcjuniornationals2017.com/registration.

Members of the 2017 U16 NENSA trip will travel to Farmington, Maine for a weekend of three races.

A special congratulations to all Midwest qualifiers and, good luck in New York!


Photo Credit: Skinnyski.com

Full results from the weekend can be found at https://www.sportstats.us


U16 Boys
James Schneider
Peter Moore
Henry Hall
Alex Nemeth
Noah Bodewes
Joe Lynch
Matt Bourne
Eli Gore

U16 Girls
Sarah Olson
Kasia Bednarski
Olivia Dreger
Leah Rudd
Isabel Seay
Kaelin Jackson
Charlotte Brown

U20 Boys
Xavier Mansfield
Foss Kerker
Shad Kraftson
Jack Christianson
Sam Myers
Ian Ivens

U18 Boys
Patrick Acton
Luc Golin
Anders Sonnesyn
Cullen Chosy
Ryan Steger
Jackson Adler
Torsten Brinkema
Ben Olson
Alternate: Gavin Martell

U20 Girls
Renae Anderson
Dottie Anderson
Sadie Peterson

U18 Girls
Abby Jarzin
Lucy Anderson
Kelly Koch
Anna Johnson
Mara McCollor
Erin Moening
Rana Krafton
Jenna Parent
Regan Duffy
Anja Maijala
Mae Barnes
Alternate: Siri Bohacek


Photo Credit: Skinnyski.com


Cooper Lennox
Matt Clarke
Nick Parent
Garrett Walters

Lauren Lackman
Anni Skillicorn
Alice House
Ellie Munger



City of Lakes Loppet – the third stop on the CXC Avant Techno Marathon Cup Series


Photo Credit: Skinnyski.com

THEODORE WIRTH PARK, in Minneapolis, MN was packed with ski enthusiast for the City of Lakes Loppet.

Event organizers did a fantastic job in creating a course that would hold the 226 racers who came out for the Hoigaard’s Classical Marathon. The lack of natural snow did not stop skiers from completing the hilly 32km course, which was 5 laps around the 6km man-made loop.


Photo Credit: Skinnyski.com

In the men’s event, Matthew Liebsch (Orono, MN) 1:14:05 took the lead by over two minutes to second place finisher Chris Pappathopoulos from Sun Prairie, WI (1:16:09). Rounding out the podium was Krystof Kopal (Marquette, MI) with a time of 1:17:17.


Photo Credit: Skinnyski.com

On the women’s side with an astonishing lead was CXC elite team winner Felicia Gesior of Marquette, MI finshing the course in 1:28:51, nearly seven minutes ahead of Canadian skier Isabella Howden (Barrie, ON) 1:35:49. Kelly Skillicorn of Winona, MN skied to her third place podium in a time of 1:36:20.

With just three more races in the series, this weekend marked the halfway point in the CXC Marathon Cup point standing.

The series will continue with the last three races, including the highly anticipated American Birkebeiner just about two weeks away.


Saturday, February 11, 2017 Vasaloppet USA 58km Freestyle, Mora MN
Saturday, February 25, 2017 American Birkebeiner, Hayward WI
Saturday, March 11, 2017 Great Bear Chase Ski Marathon, Calumet, MI



The Final JNQ Weekend at Theodore Wirth Park

The Mayors Challenge race will be held this coming weekend at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis, MN.

Currently the course is in good condition but with the expected warm temperatures the rest of the week, schedule changes are likely. It is imperative that athletes and parents refer to the website for up to date information. Our organizing committee has back up plans in place so that the best quality experience can be had.


Please note:
This is the final USSA Junior National Qualifier for the Midwest region and the Midwest Junior National team will be announced following competition on Sunday.  All participants are required to have a USSA license to participate (ages u16 and up).


Day licenses are available at www.ussa.org. Day of registration will not be available. All participants are expected to review the registration list (posted on Wednesday) to confirm their registration information is accurate.

The course will be closed to recreational skiing before and during competition.


Please note:
  • Both Saturday and Sunday starts have been moved up, and the Youth SkiX start has been moved to 9 am on Saturday.
  • Saturday’s sprint race has been changed to classic technique.  SkiX is still Freestyle.
  • The 83% pole height rule for classic races will be in-effect and enforced for athletes ages u20-u16.  For questions please visit http://www.fis-ski.com/cross-country/news-multimedia/news/article=maximum-classic-technique-poles.html
  • Official start lists are subject to change due to weather and course conditions.  Please visit www.loppet.org for up to date information.
  • A coaches meeting will be held on Friday Night @ 6:00pm and Saturday night at 4:00pm at Theodore Wirth Park Race Headquarters.

Volunteers are still needed, please contact Nancy Nelson at volunteer@loppet.org or register at http://www.loppet.org/mayorschallenge/volunteer/

For event questions please contact Mike Bono at mbono@brocade.com







Noquemanon Ski Marathon – the second stop on the CXC Avant Techno Marathon Cup Series

The CXC Avant Techno Marathon Cup Series will continue with the City of Lakes Loppet in Minneapolis, MN on February 4th.

SCHEDULE OF LOPPET EVENTS (all races at Wirth Park)

• Finn Sisu Sprints: Friday 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
• Hoigaard’s Classic Marathon: Saturday 9 a.m.
• Columbia Sportswear Skate Marathon: Sunday 9 a.m.

** CXC will be providing race wax services for CXC Master Team skiers, and to skiers who either won or purchased wax support certificates. CXC Race Wax Service will include HF race wax and Top Coats; plus, kick wax application. Skis will be ready at the START area before each race.


Rain and warm weather leading up to the second stop on the CXC Maraton Cup race series – the Noquemanon Ski Marathon in Marquette MI did not stop race organizers and volunteers from hosting the event for the 19th consecutive year. Race distances were shortened, however, the 50k turned to a 31k while the half marathon (24k) was altered to 23k.

CXC Elite team member Kyle Bratrud preserved his champion title, winning the 31k Classic event coming to the finish line with a time of 1:31:35.3.

“The 2017 Noquemanon was a great opportunity for me to get a longer workout in. The beautiful race course was complimented nicely by a dumping of fresh snow the night before the race which made for some serious trail blazing for me at the front. That being said, I got a great workout in and was fortunate enough to win my second Noque in a row, so I have no complaints,” said Bratrud.

The race was close between Kyle and second place finisher Chris Pappathopoulous, who took second by a mere 1.1 seconds. Rounding out the podium in the men’s classic 31k was Norther Michigan University skier Frederik Schwencke with a time of 1:31:46.3.

In the men’s freestyle division, Zachary Nelson took first in another close race just 1.4 seconds ahead of Zach Varty with a time of 1:30.53.6.

The 31k classic title on the women’s side went to Isabella Howden (1:44:38.6) crossing the finish line just 11.2 seconds ahead of CXC Elite Team member Felicia Gesior, and Rebecca Davis rounding out the top three.

In the women’s freestyle 31k, Jenna Dickinson took home a win with a time of 1:44:14.9, followed by Vicki Asmus in second and Lindsey Kriete in third.

Andy Liebner took home the 23k classic title with an astonishing lead of nearly 9 minutes ahead of second place finisher Mike Wiitala and third place Jeremy Steele. Liebner completed in the course in 1:17:50.0.


Classic 23k women’s winner was Joan Rundman who completed the course in 1:33:36.8 followed by Amelia Schankwitz and Molly Stewart.

The freestyle 23k title went to local Marquette skier Daniel Dehlin with a finishing time of 1:03:35.6, nearly three minutes ahead of Kevin Tarras and Marquette high school senior Ethan Hall.

On the women’s side, Lindsey Dehlin took the 23K freestyle title with a time of 1:07:07.1 making a couples sweep for the Dehlin family. Hanna Torvi and Jan Haase took second and third respectively.

We are half way through the CXC Youth Cup for this season.

With the conclusion of the Duluth Hilltop Invite races this past weekend, we are half way through the CXC Youth Cup for this season.

The individual start freestyle races went off without a hitch in beautifully sunny weather on challenging courses at the Marshall school venue. The Duluth Cross-Country Ski Club put on a great event and the entire Central region was glad to be racing in Duluth.

“Its been many, many years since Duluth has seen an event of this caliber. We are glad to be here and hope to be back in the future”, stated Amy Cichanowski, CXC Youth Coordinator.

The CXC Youth Cup resumes in a few days at the Friday evening FinnSisu Sprints (Loppet Festival) at Wirth Park in Minneapolis.


Third Weekend of CXC Youth Cup

The past weekend featured the fourth and fifth races on the CXC Youth Cup series at the new Birkie Start Trailhead. Although the crazy winter weather continues, the venue and the course made for an exciting weekend of racing for over 100 young skiers in the U10, U12, and U14 age categories.

Racing began with the Classic Individual Start event on Saturday afternoon; skiers raced a two-lap race, which created excitement for the spectators, as skiers lapped through the stadium area out the American Birkebeiner Trail. Sunday’s race was a Mass Start Freestyle event along the same course.

“Both events were fun and exciting for both spectators and participants. An award ceremony was held on Sundayafternoon under the torch of the American Birkebeiner to honor all participants. The Nordic smiles of these young skiers and their families were priceless.” – Said CXC CODP director Bruce Manske


CXC Youth Cup racing continues this coming weekend in Duluth (MN). We hope to see you at Marshall School trails! 

Additional updates will be posted here athttp://www.duluthxc.com/hilltop-invite-jnq


CXC Avant Techno Marathon Cup – After Seeley Hills Classic

The CXC Avant Techno Marathon Cup series kicked off this past weekend at the Seeley Hills Classic. Over 240 competitors raced in either the 42km and 22km events, some hoping to complete their first ski marathon while others raced their way to complete the first of six marathons this season with their sights on the overall 2017 CXC Marathon Cup title.

Conditions were favorable for everyone who came out to the Northern Wisconsin including overall winner Matt Liebsch who won the 42km Classic with a time of 1:50:08. Krystof Kopal (1:50:26) came to the finish line for a close second followed by third place finisher Thomas Kendrick with a time of 01:54:30.



Matt Liebsch (right)

Leaders in the 42km female category were Isabella Howden (02:14:20) followed by Elaine Nelson just over one minute behind. Rounding out the podium was Kim Rudd with a time of 02:17:37.

Overall winners for the 22km Classic where Andre Tilman (0:54:15) Leif Hanson (0:54:23) and Mitchell Miller (54:35).

Women podiums for the 22km classic were earned by Kelly Skillicorn (01:01:14), followed very closely by Rachel Elvester (01:01:38) and third place finisher Zoe Reker (01:03:37).

The next stop in the 2017 CXC Avant Tecno Marathon Cup will be the Noquemanon Ski Marathon Saturday, January 28th.