COLERAINE, Minn. – The Northern Michigan men’s and women’s Nordic teams faced off against fellow Central Collegiate Ski Association schools for the first time this season on Saturday (Jan. 14) and came away with some impressive finishes at the Hilltop Invitational.
Sophomore Molly Burger started the day off of on the right foot for the program, winning the women’s 5k freestyle race. Burger came across with a time of 11:48. Junior Monica Markvardsen was two places back in third place finishing at 11:52.2. In fourth was sophomore Jordyn Ross with a time of 11:54.4. Rounding out the top eight for NMU were junior’s Libby Ellis and Marie Helen Soderman, who crossed the line in seventh and eighth place respectively.
In all, five Wildcats finished inside the top eight.
“We had some excellent finishes with the women today,” said head coach Sten Fjeldheim. “Considering that the course was very fast, steep and cold and we had difficulty waxing this morning.”
After the first day of competition, the women’s team sits in first place out of eight schools with 76 points. In second is the University of Alaska-Fairbanks with 69 points and in third place is Michigan Tech with 62 points.
In the men’s 10k freestyle, the ‘Cats placed four skiers inside the top ten. Freshman Kjell-Christian Markset continued his impressive first season at NMU with a second place finish and a time of 20:44. Sophomore Erik Soderman was right behind in third place with a time of 20:54. Junior Chris Bowler came across the finish line in fifth place at 21:23 and Senior Kevin Cutts finished in ninth place at 21:21.
“I’m really happy with how our men’s team has been racing,” said Fjeldheim. “They continue to race fast every week and had another solid race today.”
The men’s team also sits in first place with 74 points. UAF is second with 67 points and MTU is third with 58.
Both teams will compete in the classic races on Sunday (Jan. 15) to close out the weekend.
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