Returning home a champion


Tyler Young

Northern Michigan University Nordic Skiing junior Ian Torchia will return to Marquette a national champion after taking the top spot in the men’s 20 kilometer freestyle race, the final event of the national meet.

Torchia became the seventh NCAA Champi-on in Wildcat Nordic skiing history after cross- ing the finish line first Saturday afternoon in the 20 kilometer freestyle race. Torchia clocked a time of 54 minutes, 21 seconds to earn the NCAA crown.

The last national champion for the Wildcats was Frederik Schwencke in the 20-kilometer classic in 2015, while the last freestyle champion for Northern was Eric Soderman in 2012. Tor- chia, now a four-time All-American, garnered his second first-team honor of the week in the victory to add to his two All-American awards earned in 2016.

Sophomore Lars Soensterud and freshman Kjetil Baanerud also scored for the Wildcats in the freestyle race. Soensterud was the 13th- fastest skier in the event with a time of 54:58.4. With a time of 55:43.0, Baanerud also turned in a top-20 performance by finishing 18th in the field of 40 competitors.

All three NMU skiers also scored in the wom- en’s 15 kilometer classic race, led by senior Viv- ian Hett. Hett took 20th place with a time of 46:34.3 after an All-American performance in Thursday’s classic race.

Junior Nicole Schneider and senior Kristen Bourne rounded out the Wildcats skiers in 24th and 27th place. Schneider completed the race in 47:22.8 with Bourne finishing in 47:42.8.

As a team, the men and women put up a total of 179 points, the highest score among teams without alpine competitors. In the Nordic standings, the 179 combined points were fifth most.

NMU returns from the 2018 NCAA Skiing Championships with four All-American honors and an individual national title to end their season.