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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Frankowski closes NMU Nordic ski career

A walk-on athlete her freshman year at NMU, senior Rosie Frankowski finished her career as a 2014 Central Region Female Athlete of the Year, in addition to finishing as the first American female in the women’s U23 World Championship skiathlon Wednesday, January 29 to Sunday, Feb. 23 in Italy.

Franchowski
Franchowski

Frankowski said this year has been really exciting. Frankowski also said she is excited to be moving forward with her career in Nordic skiing after all the hard work she has put in with head coach Sten Fjeldheim and her teammates.

“It’s kind of crazy that it’s the end of five years, it’s a little bittersweet,” Frankowski said. “I hopefully will be skiing next year for a professional team, so that’s really exciting, but it’s still sad with all the time I’ve spent here, all the memories I have and all the work that Sten and my teammates and I have put in over the years just to make it where we got to as skiers, and it will be sad.”

Frankowski came to NMU in 2009 as a student on an academic scholarship. She contacted Fjeldheim, who allowed her to walk onto the team.

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Frankowski said freshman year was difficult.

“At the end of freshman year I was actually cut from the team,” Frankowski said. “Then me and another teammate, who was in the same situation, convinced [Fjeldheim] to let us redshirt a year, which means you don’t race for Northern, but you still are on the team. Then that year I had a good season, and actually injured myself during it, but made my way back onto the team.”

This season, Frankowski finished the year with a 26th place finish in the women’s skiathlon at the U23 World Championship, of which she had to qualify for.

Fjeldheim said Frankowski qualified for the World Championships alongside men’s team freshman Adam Martin, who qualified for the Junior World Championships.

“Rosie had the top distance result for any U.S. woman, so that kind of started the season off on a really good note,” Fjeldheim said. “We had some great results there at a big meet.”

Frankowski also finished first in the women’s freestyle at the CCSA Conference Championship, hosted by NMU, immediately upon her return from the World Championship.

At the NCAA Regional in Houghton Saturday, Feb. 15 and Sunday, Feb. 16, Frankowski finished second overall with 23 points, just behind University of Alaska-Fairbanks’ Nichole Bathe with 24 points to lead the women’s team to a first place regional finish.

At the 2014 NCAA Championships, the NMU men’s and women’s teams combined for a seventh place finish overall in the combined alpine and Nordic Ski results, without even posting an alpine team.

Frankowski took sixth place of 38 female athletes in the women’s 5km classical event. Teammate, sophomore Mary Kate Cirelli finished behind Frankowski in ninth.

Frankowski went on to qualify for the U.S. Distance Championships in Anchorage, Alaska on Friday, March 28, where she finished 12th in the women’s 30km.

Frankowski said a lot of thanks needs to go out to the coaches and teammates she’s had.

“I had probably the best five years of my life,” Frankowski said. “There are some hard times, but with the support of your teammates and your friends, it’s like a second family, so I mean, really, just a huge thank you to everyone who made the experience worthwhile.”

Fjeldheim, who has been with NMU since 1986, has coached five NCAA National Champions, received three Central Collegiate Ski Association Women’s Coach of the Year awards, received two Central Regional Men’s and Women’s Coach of the year awards, is a two-time USSA Domestic Coach of the Year, a two-time USSA Development Coach of the Year and a NCSA Coach of the Year Award in 1991 according to the Northern Michigan University Athletic Department website.

Fjeldheim has also served as an assistant national team coach for the U.S. Ski Team in the 1994 Olympics, 1995 World Championships and 1997 World Championships.

Fjeldheim’s men’s teams have earned two National Collegiate Ski Association titles and his women’s team has one NCSA title.

This year, Fjeldheim was voted both the men’s and women’s CCSA Coach of the Year, and was most recently voted the Central Region Men’s Coach of the Year by the CCSA, his second year in a row.

Fjeldheim said the women’s team, in losing Frankowski, will be losing a team leader who set the pace for the rest of the athletes.

“I think that we’ll have a solid women’s team next year, but I don’t foresee having one individual like Rosie that was consistently always pushing and raising the bar,” Fjeldheim said. “A lot of women that we have this year, a few who are fairly young, and this is a sport where it takes a couple years of hard training to move up, but I think they’re going to come back pretty strong and I think yeah, we’ll have a solid team next year. Jordyn Ross will be a senior next year. She was a redshirt this year, so Jordyn Ross I think will be filling Rosie’s shoes.”

Next season, Frankowski will no longer be wearing the Wildcat jersey, but she said her career with NMU has given her a lot of new experiences to learn from in her preparation for skiing with a professional team next year.

“It changed my life,” Frankowski said. “I would’ve never thought, five years ago, I’d be trying to ski professionally after college.”

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