The Nordic ski team glided past the competition last weekend and dominated the NCAA Regional tournament with both the men and women coming in first place.
On Friday, Feb. 17, the team competed in the freestyle race. For the women’s team, junior Marie Helen Soderman lead the ’Cats with her first-place finish (0:15:14.0).
Following close behind in third place was junior Monica Markvardsen (0:15:30.40) and junior Libby Ellis finished in fourth place with a time of (0:15:35.30). Sophomore Molly Burger finished in sixth place with a time of (0:15:40.90).
Head coach Sten Fjeldheim said he was especially impressed with Soderman’s performance at the NCAA Regionals last weekend.
“Marie has dealt with colds and illness this season but she really skied a good race on Friday and lead the team,” Fjeldheim said.
The Wildcats lead the men’s freestyle race as well with sophomore Erik Soderman finishing in first place with a time of (0:24:30.50). Freshman Kjell Markset (0:25:29.90), junior Chris Bowler (0:25:38.40) and sophomore George Cartwright (0:25:53.60) finished third, fourth and fifth place respectively.
Fjeldheim said the men’s team had really impressive performances by the whole team and their hard work has really paid off.
“Erik totally dominated the men’s 10k freestyle,” Fjeldheim said. “He was skiing really smooth and was just really relaxed but at the same time moving really fast.”
On Saturday, Feb. 18, the Wildcats competed in a classic mass start race.
The women took the lead again, finishing in the top three spots. Finishing seconds apart, Markvardsen (0:32:50.0), Burger (0:32:52.4) and Soderman (0:32:53.0) all finished first, second and third respectively.
“Monica winning was not a big surprise but a pleasant one and Molly Burger has worked hard for three years and is finally breaking through,” Fjeldheim said.
For the lady ’Cats, Ellis (0:33:04.4) and junior Rosie Frankowski (0:33:05.2) rounded it off finishing fifth and sixth for NMU.
Frankowski said she was happy NMU was able to work together in the mass start race, and thinks that their team work along with their dedication to training contributed to their success.
“Personally I was happy I managed to ski a smooth race both days despite a fall,” Frankowski said. “It was also great to see Marie Helen kill it in her senior year.”
Success for the Wildcats does not stop with the women however; the men competed in a close race finishing less than seconds apart.
Soderman finished first in the men’s classic with a time of (0:40:48.2) but was followed closely by his teammates. Freshman Kyle Bratrud came in third with a time of 0:40:49.1, Markset came in fourth with a time of 0:40:49.3 and Bowler came in fifth with a time of 0:40:49.8.
Fjeldheim said he couldn’t be more pleased with the team’s performance.
Fjeldheim said they really dominated, which is something that they have not ever done before at the regional championships.
“I was really pleased with how the athletes handled the course and themselves,” Fjeldheim said. “They used some great strategies in the mass start race and didn’t get to excited too early. When they put the pedal down they just dominated so it was a great race.”