Skiers triumph at NCAA Regionals

Dustin Anand

The Northern Michigan University men’s Nordic skiing team won the NCAA Central Region title in the NCAA Regional last weekend, while the women’s team placed second.

The ’Cats traveled to Houghton, Mich. for the NCAA Central Regional starting on Saturday, Feb. 23 to Sunday, Feb. 24.

The men’s team competed in the 10-K race and four ’Cats placed in the top 10. Junior Erik Soderman finished in third place, followed by sophomore Kyle Bratrud in fourth, senior Chris Bowler finished in seventh and junior George Cartwright in eighth.

“The weather was right around 32 [degrees],” Bratrud said. “It makes getting kick pretty difficult so that was a very interesting race but we still were able to finish respectively.”

Bratrud, along with NMU junior Jordyn Ross, were named Central Collegiate Ski Association skiers of the week for men and women, respectively, after the CCSA Championship on Saturday, Feb. 16.

The women’s team had four skiers place in the Top 10 in the 5-K race. Ross placed third place followed by junior Rosie Frankowski in fourth place, freshman Mary Kate Circelli in sixth and freshman Hannah Boyer in eighth.

“I am very proud of our team this weekend,” Frankowski said. “Every girl stepped up and went out there and performed. We had amazing skis thanks to our coaches and some teammates who helped a ton as wax techs.”

After Saturday’s competition, both teams were behind in second place heading into Sunday’s freestyle race.

On Sunday,  Cartwright,  Soderman and  Bratrud pulled off a sweep in the 15-K freestyle race, all finishing in the top three positions. The women’s team had four athletes place in the Top 10, while two athletes placed in the top three. Frankowski took second place, followed by Ross in third, Circelli in eighth and Boyer in ninth.

“It was a good weekend and I felt that I performed well,” Soderman said.

Soderman also said the team’s performance paid off well and the weekend turned out to be a memorable one.

“The last race of the normal season is always special,” Soderman said. “It also usually gives the best points towards NCAA. It’s also a nice finish of the regular season winning the team title this weekend.”

The men’s team won first place by seven points over the Alaska Fairbanks. The women’s team trailed five points behind the Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks to take second place in the competition.

“We finished in second place today behind UAF by 5 points,” Frankowski said. “Everyone went out and gave their best effort and really stepped it up in the mass start. It was awesome to be part of the action. I want to give a shout out to Felicia Gesior, a sophomore on our team, who won the Classic 5K on Saturday.”

With the conclusion of the NCAA Central Regional competition, six ’Cats will be representing NMU at the NCAA Championships on Wednesday, March 6. Cartwright, Soderman and  Bratrud will be representing the men’s team, while Ross, Frankowski and Circelli will be representing the women’s team.

This year’s NCAA national championship begins on Wednesday,. March 6. and lasts until Saturday, March 9  in Middlebury, Vt. Starting times for the events are yet to be announced.