ISHPEMING, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Nordic ski teams wrapped up the classic relay races at the Central Collegiate Ski Association Championship on Sunday (Feb. 3). The Wildcats dominated both races, scoring 78 points each from the Al Quaal Recreation Area.
“The weekend went really well,” NMU coach Sten Fjeldheim said. “The conditions were next to perfect. The grooming was excellent today and the course was beautiful. The athletes really liked it.”
The men’s squad won the 3x10-kilometer race by over a minute and 20 seconds. Sophomore Kyle Bratrud (23:28.8) led off for the ‘Cats. Junior George Cartwright (22:06.1) was the middle skier and junior Erik Soderman closed out the victory with the fastest time on the team and second fastest leg overall in 21:44.8.
Junior Ben Hugus also raced for the Green and Gold with a mixed team. He skied the fastest leg on his squad in 23:02.5.
The women had two teams in the 3x5K. Junior Rosie Frankowski, junior Jordyn Ross and freshman Mary Kate Cirelli won the race in 39:27.7, 16 seconds ahead of Alaska Fairbanks. Ross had the fastest leg overall in the race in 12:33.9.
“The UAF skier is an ex-sprinter from the Estonia national team so we knew she would start fast,” said Fjeldheim. “It was a focus for Rosie to hang on to her and stay with her through the first climb. She used the second climb to get ahead and put 15 seconds on her. She’s real smart and stuck with the game plan.”
Freshman Malin Eriksson, sophomore Elizabeth Simak and freshman Megan Edic placed fifth in 41:26.0.
“It’s tough to balance the elements with the cold but it makes waxing easy on us coaches because it’s straight forward,” Fjeldheim added after two days of racing in single digit temperatures. “They’re well prepared and well trained for the cold.”
Northern takes next weekend off and then travels to Coleraine, Minn. on Feb. 16-17 for the distance portion of the CCSA Championship and NCAA Qualifier at Gustavus Alolphus.
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