HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Nordic ski teams wrapped up the NCAA Central Regional on Sunday (Feb. 24) afternoon at Michigan Tech. The men’s team won the regional title by seven points (130-123) over Alaska Fairbanks. The women’s team was edged by the Nanooks (129-124) for second place.
“In all my years of coaching, I have to say that this is just the most delightful team, both the men’s and women’s, that I’ve ever had,” NMU coach Sten Fjeldheim said. “They are all very humble, push each other and work together as a team. It’s just a fun atmosphere to be in, and I think it leads to success as a team.”
Juniors George Cartwright and Eric Soderman and sophomore Kyle Braturd swept the podium with the first three finishes in the 15-kilometer freestyle.
“The long downhill was just so fast, any lead you had, the pack would just suck it right back in on that downhill,” Fjeldheim said. “So I told my guys that it was going to come down to that last climb, and that’s exactly what happened. It was really exciting to watch how tight the competition was today – it was like a mini national championship.”
Senior Chris Bowler (19th), junior Ben Hugus (24th) and freshman Sam Elfstrom (41st) also raced for the ‘Cats.
Juniors Rosie Frankowski and Jordyn Ross were on the podium for the women, in second and third, in the 10K freestyle. Freshman Mary Kate Cirelli also scored for the ‘Cats in eighth place.
Freshmen Hannah Boyer (9th) and Megan Edic (22nd) rounded out the skiers on the women’s side.
With the final NCAA qualifier complete, the skiers now wait on Tuesday announcement, which will determine which seven men and six women represent the region at the NCAAs. This year’s national championships will be held March 6-9 in Middlebury, Vt.
# # # NMU # # #