Warm weather and Cross Country Skiing

Warm weather and Cross Country Skiing

Nate Bellville

Despite temperatures being in the 50s through the weekend and a lot of snow loss, the Wildcats clinched the NCAA Central Region Skiing Championships, sweeping the men’s, women’s and overall titles. The Men’s and Women’s Nordic ski teams hosted the NCAA Central Region Championships/Hall of Fame SuperTour at Al-Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming over the weekend, the first national Nordic skiing race ever held in Marquette County.

Head coach Sten Fjeldheim had confidence in the team, despite the warm conditions.

“Considering the weather, the trails were about as perfect as they can be,” Fjeldheim said.

Senior Adam Martin and sophomore Nicole Schneider each won individual crowns. Martin won the 20k freestyle and 10k classic, while Schneider won the 15k freestyle and 5k classic races.

Martin finished second overall in both of his races while Schneider placed second in the 15k freestyle and 11th in the 5k classic.

For the men’s team, senior Frederik Schwenke joined Martin in the top 3 in the 20k freestyle with his  second place finish and in the 10k classic with a third place finish.

For the women’s side, senior Kristen Bourne and junior Vivian Hett swept the podium with Schneider. Bourne clocked in at second place in the 15k freestyle and third in the 5k classic, behind her teammate Hett, who placed second.

“We were really excited,” Bourne said of the team sweep of the top 3. “It’s always a goal of ours to sweep and sweep the first 3 spots.”

As both teams prepare for the National Championships next month, coach Fjeldheim said  the teams have a lot of work to do.

“We’re all going to taper as a group a little bit,” Fjeldheim said. “This week it’s training and then rest, and then next week we’ll do a moderate time trial out there.”

He also said  that the championship venue is new for everyone.

“The course is challenging,” Fjeldheim said. “From what I recall back when, it is not super tough, but it is not easy.”

Martin is positive the men’s team has the confidence to win the national title.

“In terms of the Nordic titles, we’ll do as well as we can to win,” Martin said. “We’ll see how the other regions are skiing, we haven’t met them since U.S. nationals in January.”

Bourne also believes the women’s team can win the national title too.

“Our women’s team throughout this season has been very strong,” Bourne said. “I feel like as the season has gone on, we have really good momentum from our races to heading into NCAAs.”

NMU will field both Men’s and Women’s teams at the NCAA National Championships in Jackson, New Hampshire on March 9-11.