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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Megan Poe
Opinion Editor

My name is Megan Poe and I’m an English (writing concentration) and Philosophy double major at Northern. My concurrent experience with being published in and interning for literary magazines has landed...

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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 Wiertella April 30, 2024

Ski team finishes season at distance race

The Nordic ski team packed their bags for Craftsbury, Vt. to wrap up their season in the U.S. Long Distance Championships March 21-26.

The Wildcats took on collegiate and professional U.S. teams in events that were unique such as sprint events which are shorter than typical courses and the 30K and 50K races that are almost twice as long as what the skiers are used to in competition.re-Skiing

“The NMU crew was by far the strongest collegiate team,” junior Adam Martin said. “That was pretty representative how we’ve been feeling this year and really showed some depth.”

Monday, March 21 started off with Martin claiming a top-10 finish in the 15K freestyle. Martin crossed the finish line at 31:41.2, putting him at seventh and making him one of four collegiate athletes, out of all the competitors racing, to finish in the top 15. Graduate student Jake Brown (17th, 32:31.7) and sophomore Ian Torchia (21st, 32:40.9) followed in top-25 positions.

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Senior Felicia Gesior paced NMU, placing 23rd, clocking in at 27:29.4. She was the fifth collegiate skier to cross the line. Sophomore Vivian Hett (33rd, 28:10.3) and junior Sophie Schimpl (38th, 28:26.5) added to the ’Cats’ score.

Wildcats Martin and Gesior both made it to the semifinal rounds in their events. Martin finished 10th in the 1.5K sprint and was one of five collegiate athletes to make it in the top 10. This was also Martin’s second top-10 finish of the week. Gesior, one of only two collegiate athletes to finish in the top 15, took eleventh, advancing her to the semifinals.

Four Wildcats competed against professional and collegiate teams  in the mixed relay, March 24, which was the first co-ed race the ’Cats have competed in all season. Torchia, Hett, Brown and Gesior each completed 5K of the 20K track and brought NMU a sixth place finish clocking in at 50:58.8. The group placed first among teams comprised solely of collegiate athletes and only one of two to place in the top 10.

“Relay races don’t come around very often, so it was fun to be able to have a mixed team,” Hett said. “It was cool to be able to ski with some of the top skiers in the country and actually be able to keep up with them for some of the race.”

Martin, with the hat trick, had his third top-10 appearance of the week during the 50K classic, in which he placed ninth with the finishing time of  2:53:45.5. Martin was the second college athlete to finish and one of 13 racers who finished the course in less than three hours.

In the women’s 30K classic, Gesior and Schimpl placed in the top 30. Gesior took 27th (1:44:18.8) and Schimpl placed 29th (1:44:34.2).

The 50K and the 30K events were the longest races the ’Cats have participated in all season, with the 50K being roughly 31 miles and the 30K equaling about 18.6 miles. The warm weather added more difficulty to the already long course, Martin explained.

“One of the veteran athletes made a statement afterwards that ‘he had taken a year off his life,’ which I think most of the competitors would agree with,” Martin said.

Credit for the Wildcats’ success is owed to the skiers constantly pushing each other in training and competitions paired with the tremendous coaching ability of Head Coach Sten Fjeldheim,  Martin said. The winning combination was only augmented with the addition of Assistant Coach Shane MacDowell who was “absolutely” a factor of the team’s positive performance over the season, Martin said.

“Shane was a delightful surprise,” Martin said. “He helped me tremendously with some technique issues. He really added another dimension to the coaching.”

Hett agreed that the addition of MacDowell was beneficial for the team and added that she is eager to pick up next season where they left off and sees a bright future for the Wildcats.

“We are all ready to take some time off of training but when summer hits we will all be back at it training again for next year.”

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