Ski team earns national honors

Ray Bressette

Winter break resulted in a number of national championships and honors for members of the NMU Nordic Ski team at the U.S. Nationals in Houghton, Mich.

Freshman Ian Torchia won the junior men’s classic 10k National Championship Thursday, Jan. 8 with a time of 30:46.6 at the event.

That same day, freshman Vivian Hett led NMU’s women in the 5k with a 16:18.2 time.

The ski team also won the 2015 College Cup at the event for a second straight season with a score of 800.

The University of Vermont followed with a score of 755.

NMU head coach Sten Fjeldheim said he was proud of the ’Cats accomplishments.

“This was one of our teams best performances in many years at this event,” Fjeldheim said. “We have been in the top-five many times, but the last time we won the men’s and women’s combined titles was in 2003 in Park City, Utah.

“The teams performances were not unexpected.  I knew our team has trained very well and were focused and ready to ski fast.”

Sophomore Fredrik Schwencke was named a grand champion with 70 points in the freestyle with a 43:13.21 time, and 72 points after winning the classic with a 4:30.09 time with a 142 point grand total.

Senior Jordyn Ross and Hett tied for second at the grand championship on the women’s side with a 137 point score each.

At the awards banquet, it was announced that Hett, senior Kyle Bratrud, and sophomore Kristen Bourne and freshman Ian Torchia from NMU will each represent Team USA at the FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships Wednesday, Jan. 28 through Sunday, Feb. 8 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Bourne said the trip to Kazakhstan has been in the back of her mind all season.

“To be selected to the team means a lot to me,” Bourne said. “It’s definitely been a goal for a while. Several teammates of mine have made it in years past, so a part of me always wanted to experience it as well.

“I don’t think it has hit me that it’s happening, so the fact that I leave in just two weeks is mind blowing.”

Bratrud was named to the U23 World Championship Team, while Torchia, Bourne and Hett were named to the Junior World Championship Team.

Bratrud said the accomplishment was the result of great dedication.

“Making the U23 World Championship Team has been the main goal of my training this entire year,” Bratrud said. “To accomplish that and win a National Championship in the process is a dream come true. I couldn’t be more excited for what the future holds.”

Torchia said the achievement is only just the beginning of his plans.

“All summer and fall, my goal was to qualify for Junior Worlds, but as the season started I began to shift my goal to not only qualifying for Kazakhstan but how well I can do against the best juniors in the world,”  Torchia said. “It’s going to be a great trip and we’re all looking forward to representing NMU in Kazakhstan.”