’Cats finish strong at U.S. Distance Nationals

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Travis Nelson

Six skiers from the Northern Michigan University men’s and women’s Nordic Skiing teams took the slopes in Presque Isle, Maine, and competed in the United States Distance Nationals.

Sophomore Daniel Streinz started things off strong for the men, as he placed seventh in the 1.4 kilometer Freestyle Sprint with a time of 2:51.47. Junior Zak Ketterson finished in ninth place with a time of 2:51.79, the second Wildcat to finish in the top 10 in the event. Junior Mathias Aas-Rolid took home 23rd place for the ’Cats with a time of 2:56.53, and senior Ian Torchia crossed the line in 39th place with a time of 3:02.62.

In the women’s Freestyle Sprint, junior Julie Ensrud led the way with a 23rd place finish, and a time of 3:26.70. Freshman Nadine Matter wasn’t too far behind, as she finished one spot behind Ensrud for 24th place with a time of 3:27.01. Torchia led the Wildcat men in the 15K Mass Start Classic, as he finished in 11th place out of 61 skiers with a time of 39:05.9. Aas-Rolid gave NMU another top-20 finish as he crossed the line in 18th place in 39:49.4. Ketterson finished 30th with a time of 41.31.6 and Streinz finished in 39th place as he crossed at 42.22.4.

In the women’s 10K Classic, which featured 44 competitors, Ensrud finished the race in 33:53.9 for 30th place. Matter placed 34th with a finishing time of 34:13.8. The men’s final race was in the 50K Freestyle event, where the ’Cats had another good showing. Ketterson finished in the top 10 with a 10th place finish and a time of 2:22:57.6. Torchia came across the line in 20th place with a time of 2:30:55.0, while Aas-Rolid placed 30th with a time of 2:40:22.8. Streinz finished things off for NMU, as his time of 2:47.31.4 resulted in a 33rd-place finish.

For the women in the 30K Freestyle, Matter finished in 24th place out of 32 skiers with a time of 1:31.44.9, and Ensrud’s time in the event was not recorded. The national event was the final one for the Wildcats this season, and it ended with more than a few accomplishments under their belts. The Wildcats’ season was highlighted by six All-Americans at the NCAA Championships and the squad finished fourth among Nordic teams, with the men finishing second among them. NMU also took home the NCAA Central Regional title as well as Ketterson and freshman Abigail Jarzin winning the Central Collegiate Skiing Association. Skiers of the Year awards. Coach Sten Fjeldheim also received Coach of the Year honors, wrapping up what was a great season for the NMU Nordic Skiing teams this winter.