Skiers cruise past competition

Karly Ratzenberger

Last weekend, the snow ’Cats dominated at the CCSA Championships; the women’s Nordic ski team took first place out of eight teams, and the men’s Nordic ski team took second out of nine teams.

Assistant coach and former team member Ingrid Fjeldheim said the championships went very well. She said the team had to deal with inclimate weather on Saturday that made it difficult for the skiers.

“Both teams braved a snowstorm which really showed our team strength,” Fjeldheim said. “In a race like that you really need a team to make it through.”

In the 15K classic on Saturday, juniors Monica Markvardsen (00:58:36.7), Rosie Frankowski (00:58:41.6) and Elizabeth Ellis (00:58:45.4) took first, second and third place respectively.

For the men’s team in the Classic Mass Start on Saturday, freshman Kjell-Christian Markset finished third (01:02:4.6), freshman Kyle Bratrud finished fourth (01:03:04.5) and junior Chris Bowler finished fifth (01:03:06.1).

Fjeldheim said on Sunday, the girls relay team of junior Marie Helen Soderman, sophomore Molly Burger and Markvardsen did an awesome job taking home the first place victory.

“The guys also skied away with the victory on Sunday as well as third place,” Fjeldheim said.

Team A for NMU consisted of sophomores Erik Soderman, George Cartwright and Markset.

“Erik pushed the pace up the first long climb and the men just kept increasing their lead with each lap,” Fjeldheim said.

Fjeldheim said she was thrilled with the team’s performance in the Conference Championships and is looking forward to the upcoming Regional tournament.

“I think leaving the Conference Championships with such great results will only help the team going into Regionals this weekend,” Fjeldheim said.

Head coach Sten Fjeldheim said the overall season has been going very well, the team has been on a winning streak and he hopes it will continue in the post season.

Junior Chris Bowler said he is happy with the team this season. He said much of the team’s success is due to the coaching staff and the improvement of himself and his teammates.

“Everyone has been performing really well and many of us have performed better at races this year than any other year,” Bowler said. “Coach Fjeldheim and assistant coach Martin Banerud have done a great job all year with coaching us off snow in the fall and on snow in the winter.”

Frankowski said the women’s team has gotten much closer this season, resulting in a better practice atmosphere. She attributes this to much of the team’s success this season.

“We have a really close pack of girls who usually finish right around each other in races, so it is great to be able to train and race with your teammates pushing you each day,” Frankowski said.

Sten Fjeldheim said he is very happy with the team’s attitude this year and their ability to persevere through the duration of the season.

“I’m really pleased with the team’s efforts,” Fjeldheim said. “They are respectful and working hard for the common goal of winning the title again.”

Ingrid Fjeldheim said although the team has been doing great all year, this weekend will not be any different for the Wildcats.

“They always ski their hearts out and its great we are able to ski on the home course and home crowd for Regionals,” Ingrid Fjeldheim said. “Bring out your cowbells and come watch some great athletes.”

The team will be skiing in the NCAA Regionals next weekend in Al Quall Recreation Area in Ishpeming for their only home meet this year. On Friday, Feb. 17, the women’s 5K starts off at 10 a.m. and the men’s 10K starts at noon On Saturday, Feb. 18, the men’s 15K starts at 10 a.m. and the women’s 10K starts at 12:30 p.m.