NMU men and women skiers lead the pack, finish in first

Ryan Spitza

The Northern Michigan Men’s and Women’s Nordic Ski teams took victories at the NCAA Qualifying meet hosted by the University of Wisconsin- Green Bay and the College of St. Scholastica in Rhinelander, Wisconsin over the weekend.
The women took the overall team title at the weekend event with 50 points, followed by Michigan Tech and CSS in second and third.

The men won the team title as well with 29 points, followed by MTU, CSS and UW-GB.

Senior Vivian Hett won the 10-kilometer classic race with a time of 31:50.20, while fellow senior Kristen Bourne finished in the runner-up position. Six Wildcats placed in the top 10 in the classic event.

NMU head coach Sten Fjeldheim said Hett led the way and the rest of the team followed suit.

“Hett pretty much blew everybody apart there,” he said. “She won by over a minute and it was an awesome race for her. Then of course Bourne finishing second. One of our freshmen also had a breakthrough race with Erin Moening finishing in the top five. All of the women had a solid day and Hett had anexceptional day.”

On the men’s side, freshman Kjetil Baanerud won the 15-kilometer classic event with a time of 41:15.60. Sophomore Lars Soensterud finished second while four Wildcats placed in the top 10.

“It’s exciting for our young kiers,” Fjeldheim said. “Two of our top guys are currently racing at U23 Championships in Switzerland. [Baanerud] won the race last weekend by a good cushion. Soensterud has improved this year as well. Our younger skiers are stepping up too. Mathias Aas-Rolid finished seventh overall and he’s only a sophomore. Our young skiers are pushing the pace and things are looking good for the future.”

Both men’s and women’s teams will compete at the Michigan Tech CCSA Race this weekend.

“Those are tough courses up there and we’ve got to be ready to go,” Fjeldheim said. “We’re still training quite a bit and not tapering yet. We have a few more race weekends before regionals. Things are looking good and we need to keep everybody healthy.”

Next weekend’s CCSA races will be the third time the Wildcats race in the Keewenaw, with the other races resulting in respounding victories. Skiers on both the Men’s and Women’s track ended the events with first place finishes and multiple skiers placing in the top ten.