The NMU Nordic ski teams flew past the competition this weekend at the CCSA Championships, giving them the overall win and titles from the AI Quaal Recreation Center.
The men’s team won in both the classic and freestyle events, only allowing one other skier to finish in the top three combined with a final score of 173. The women’s team won by a one point margin over Alaska-Fairbanks, giving them a final score of 152.
Head coach Sten Fjeldheim said that he is very happy with both teams’ progress and overall performances.
“There were a couple of individual things we needed to focus on in order to prepare us for the NCAA Regional’s but overall, the team did a great job,” Fjeldheim said. “From here on out we just need to race as hard as we can, remain focused on the tasks at hand, and overall just be confident in ourselves and know that we earned our right to compete at the regional’s.”
Assistant coach Jenny Ryan was also very pleased with the outcomes of this past weekend’s results and expects to see very good things at the NCAA Regional’s tournament from both teams.
“Both of these teams did outstanding this past weekend and worked hard together as teams in order to get where they are today,” Ryan said. “From here on out we need to ski smart and race hard. Both teams know the upcoming course and as long as we work hard together, both teams will make the top spots.”
Andy Liebner of the Northern Michigan Nordic ski team has been named Central Collegiate Ski Association male athlete of the week. Liebner won both the freestyle and classic races over the weekend at the CCSA Championships in Ispheming.
Liebner finished two seconds (57:53.6) in front of teammate Martin Banerud who was second. Erik Soderman finished fourth as the final Wildcat in the scoring column as the green and gold had 86 points combined with 87 from the previous day to win by 24 over Alaska-Fairbanks (173-149).
John Parry of Alaska-Fairbanks finished third. Chris Bowler (12th), Kevin Cutts (13th) and Tom McFadden (37th) also crossed the line for NMU.
Christina Turman was once again the top finisher for NMU on the women’s side. Turman finished the 15k race in 49:44.1 for fourth place. Marie Soderman wasn’t far behind in sixth place and Monica Markvardsen was eighth to round out the scoring for the ’Cats. Michigan Tech’s Malin Eriksson won the classic race with a time of 49:28.6. Libby Ellis (10th), Ingrid Fjeldheim (18th) and Jordyn Ross (20th) also crossed the line for NMU.
The Wildcats hardly having any down time will travel to Houghton this weekend to participate in the NCAA Regional’s on Friday, Feb. 18 and Saturday, Feb. 19.
Head coach Sten Fjeldheim says that it is unfortunate the teams don’t get a lot of downtime between competitions, but they make best with what they have and just focus on winning the NCAA Regional tournament.
“It’s tough when you have back to back competitions like we are having,” Fjeldheim said. “We back off a little in practice so that both teams can get the rest they need, but we can’t back off too much. It’s tricky to deal with sometimes, but we have good teams that know what it means to be here and they will succeed in whatever they put their minds to.”