Martin excels at Distance Championships

Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA: A photo from last season shows the NCAA Division I Mens and Womens Skiing Championships taking place at the Steamboat Ski Resort in Steamboat Springs, CO.

Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA: A photo from last season shows the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Skiing Championships taking place at the Steamboat Ski Resort in Steamboat Springs, CO.

Trevor Drew

While students and community members were embracing the warm weather over the past week, Senior Adam Martin and the rest of the Nordic Ski Team enjoyed winter weather and near perfect conditions in Fairbanks, Alaska where they competed in the U.S. Distance Championships.

In an elite field of over fifty which included both professional and collegiate skiers, Martin placed fifth in both the Skiathlon and the 50K freestyle, the first collegiate athlete to cross the line in both events.

“I really enjoyed the week. I think I skied a little bit better than I have in some of the races this season so it’s a great way to end the season,” Martin said. “It gives you some motivation for next year and gives you some optimism going into the training season.”

Along with finishing in the top-10 in all of his events at the Distance Championships, Martin also took two All-American honors at this year’s NCAA Championships and also earned the Elite 90 award which is presented to the student athlete with the highest cumulative GPA competing at the finals site for each NCAA Championship.

“He’s a good leader by example, diligent trainer, very conscientious and has always been there to guide and lead his teammates along,” head coach Sten Fjeldheim said. “He raised the bar for sure as far as athleticism goes and his performance goes. He’s super hard-working and probably one of the most honest and fair guys you’ll ever coach.”

Fjeldheim said that he has enjoyed watching Martin’s growth from a freshman to a senior. Martin wasn’t the strongest skier when he first joined the team but has improved tremendously because of tough, diligent training during the summer off-season, Fjeldheim said.

Martin started to ski once a week regularly in fourth grade and continued from there. Martin said that in middle school he started training more seriously and would try to go out and ski every day of winter and train throughout the summer. He also lettered four times at Wausau East High School in his hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin.

While he is still unsure about the details, Martin plans to pursue Nordic skiing after he graduates from NMU and hopes to race professionally. 

Along with crediting the support from the coaching staff and his fellow teammates for his success, Martin said he is grateful to his professors.

“For skiing, we miss a tremendous amount of school. This year, I missed like three and a half weeks and that was, I’d say, a pretty light winter,” Martin said. “[My professors] are super flexible and make it work. They allow me to think about actually learning the material and are less concerned with making sure that stuff is done exactly by the deadline when I’m gone.”

While losing Martin is unfortunate, the remaining racers will still be on the team and they remember Martin’s accomplishments and will work towards the level he achieved, Fjeldheim said.

“The team will be fine. We’ve got a really good, hard-working men’s team, same thing as the women’s,” Fjeldheim said. “[Martin] showed that it can be done.”

Although Martin is leaving, he said he will continue to support the Nordic Ski Team and is excited for their future.

“I’ll for sure stay connected. There’s a possibility I’d stay here and keep training,” Martin said.

“I’m sure they’ll do great. Ian Torchia had mono this year but I’m confident he’ll come back and be extremely strong next season.”