MARQUETTE, Mich. - A veteran of the Northern Michigan University women’s Nordic ski team, Laura DeWitt is ready to take a spot on the podium at this year’s NCAA Skiing Championships which will be held in Steamboat Springs, Colo. March 10-13. DeWitt was second on the Central Collegiate Ski Association (CCSA) point list for first team honors behind teammate Christina Gillis. DeWitt has had a string of unlucky breaks, but that has not stopped her.
At the recently concluded CCSA Championships which were held at Al Quaal in Ishpeming, DeWitt placed fourth in the 5K classic race with a time of 14:45.5. DeWitt placed seventh in the 5K skate at the 2008 NCAA Skiing Championships for All-American honors. According to Sten Fjeldheim, the head men’s and women’s Nordic ski coach at NMU, DeWitt is in the best shape of her career and is a great leader. DeWitt has already graduated from NMU with a bachelor’s degree in sports science and is currently working on a master’s degree.
“Laura DeWitt has been a great leader. She has led by example,” said Fjeldheim. “When she was a freshman she was struggling. Laura has been very helpful to the new freshmen coming in because it is a big step. She knows how she made that step.”
The native of Rhinebeck, N.Y. was named the NMU Athlete of the Year for the 2008-09 academic year. Her path to hitting the trails went from one form of water to the other. “I started out as a little kid as a competitive swimmer,” said DeWitt. “I started cross skiing in the winter to rehab and stay in shape.” DeWitt also was a competitive runner and found that injuries also helped her in the skiing direction.
She is not one to sit around and do nothing when the temperature might dip and the snow begins to fall. “There is nothing better than one of those perfect days when the trail is perfectly groomed,” said DeWitt. “Being outside in the woods. It is a very fun sport.” She enjoys the other parts away from the actual skiing which includes running and roller skiing outside the winter months which keeps the sport fresh.
Her goal for this year’s NCAA Skiing Championships is to get her name back up on the wall after last year’s disappointing finish. At last year’s event, DeWitt was 17th in the 5K classic and was the top placing ‘Cat in the 15K freestyle race with a 17th place showing. “I am hoping to have some good results and have a good end to my college career,” said DeWitt.
DeWitt sees her spot on the team as not as a leader, but one with a leadership role. “I try to take a leadership role as far as that goes. The entire upperclassmen take on different roles as far as being good role models for the younger kids,” said DeWitt. “The team is a mix of great personalities. Nobody stand outs above anyone else.”
She is ready to have some fun and part of that would be back on the podium in Steamboat Springs. DeWitt has done the work and the potential is there for her to reach that goal of getting her name back on the wall which would mean she is an All-American.
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Sports Information Director