Skiers take first place: Wildcats sweep the slopes to take the CCSA Championship while on the road

Dustin Anand

The Northern Michigan University men’s and women’s Nordic ski team came away with a win last weekend, securing the CCSA championship title.

Junior George Cartwright finished with a time of 55:54.2 in the men's 20 km, taking fifth place. On Saturday, Feb. 2, he won the 1.4 km freestyle.

On Saturday, Feb. 16 and Sunday, Feb. 17,  the continuation of the CCSA championship took place in Coleraine, Minn.

On Saturday, the men’s team competed in the 10 km Classic race where junior Erik Soderman finished first place for Northern out of 55 other skiers with a time of 26:14.2.  Sophomore Kyle Bratrud finished in second place with a time of 26:19.2.

Bratrud said he was happy with his performance and how the team competed throughout the weekend.

“It feels good,” Bratrud said. “It was close, good racing both days and everybody tried to make it for the competition.”

Bratrud earned his first conference title of the year Saturday after the 10 km race.

The women’s team raced in the 5 km Classic Race where three NMU skiers finished in the top five. Freshman Hannah Boyer finished second place with a time of 15:18.6, followed by junior Jordyn Ross with a time of 15:19.3 in third place and freshman Mary Kate Cirelli in fifth place with a time of 15:24.1.

Cirelli said she felt accomplished during her race and feels good about the competition.

“Personally, I was satisfied with my results,” Cirelli said. “Everybody has so much talent and potential, we put our excellent coaching to work in every single race.”

Sunday concluded the competition with the men’s 20 km freestyle and the women’s 15 km freestyle race.

Three ’Cats finished in the top five in the men’s 20 km with  Soderman  finishing in first place again  with a time of 55:25.1. Bratrud also finished in second place with a time of 55:26.2 and George Cartwright who finished fifth place with a time of 55:54.2.

Bratrud said he was pleased with the race results and how the weekend presented itself.

“In both races I finished second behind Erik Soderman,” Bratrud said. “He won NCAAs in the skate race last year so to come down to a sprint with him in the 20k was pretty sweet. I did not think I would be in that position at the beginning of the day.”

Three ’Cats from the women’s team finished in the Top 10 during the 15 km race.

Junior Rosie Frankowski finished in second place with a time of 48:23.3, along with  Ross placing in fourth and  Cirelli who finished in seventh.

The ’Cats  seized the CCSA title with the men’s team totaling with 303 points, while the women’s finished with 292. With the combined scores, the ’Cats were titled first place, beating the University of Alaska who finished second with 514 points, and Michigan Tech finishing with 454 points.

Head coach Sten Fjeldheim said he was impressed with both team’s performance and looks forward to competing in the NCAA regionals.

“This weekend went really well for both teams,” Fjeldheim said. “This season has gone great thus far, our teams have been consistent and strong. Three guys and three girls are pulled for the NCAA championships, so we’ll how the upcoming weekend goes.”

On Saturday, Feb. 23, in Houghton, Mich., the ’Cats will be hitting the road to compete in the NCAA Regionals.