IRONWOOD, Mich. -- The Michigan Tech Nordic skiing team opened the 2006-07 season at the Grand View Cross Country Ski Challenge at Wolverine Nordic Ski Club last Saturday (Dec. 9) and Sunday (Dec. 10). The event also marked the beginning of the Central Collegiate Ski Association (CCSA) season, with United States Ski Association (USSA) points at stake.
The top overall individual performer of the weekend was Elizabeth Quinley (Anchorage, Alaska/East), who started the two-day race by taking first in the women's OJ division of Saturday's one-kilometer sprint. Tech fielded two other top 10 finishes in the OJ division sprint, which includes competitors between 18 and 19 years of age. Kristen Monahan (St. Louis Park, Minn./Eden Prairie) ranked fourth, while Karen Jarvey (Calumet, Mich.) finished eighth.
In the women's open division sprint, two-time All-American Kristina Owen (East Wenatchee, Wash./Eastmont) compiled an eighth-place showing, while Jenna Klein (Ely, Minn.) ranked ninth.
On the men's side, two newcomers -- Charlie Keller (Chanhassen, Minn./Chaska) and Jared Cregg (Eden Prairie, Minn.) -- took second and fifth, respectively, in the men's OJ division of the one-kilometer sprint. One of three top 10 performers in the open division sprint, Eric Olson (Mora, Minn.) took fourth in the race. Jesse Lang (St. Louis Park, Minn.) was sixth and Chris Harvey (Eden Prairie, Minn.) placed ninth.
Quinley won Sunday's five-kilometer classic race in the women's OJ division with a time of 16:37.72, beating out two Northern Michigan racers -- Christina Gillis (16:41.91) and Ingrid Fjeldheim (16:59.65) to secure the top prize. Rookie Hanna Stadem (Baxter, Minn./Brainerd) grabbed the sixth slot in the OJ division after turning in a time of 17:37.11. Jarvey (17:59.51) added an eight-place performance and Monahan (18:11.09) claimed 10th-place in the OJ classic race.
Facing a stiff field of competition, Owen solidified a sixth-place effort with a time of 16:10.19 in the women's open division five-kilometer classic. Klein clocked in at 16:44.86 to take eighth, while Andrea Metz (Marathon, Wis.) rounded out Tech's list of competitors in the race with a time of 18:06.29, good for 17th.
First-year collegian and Copper Country native, Ryan Tervo (Chassell, Mich.), was the Huskies' top racer in the men's OJ division 10-kilometer classic competition with a time of 32:44.44. Keller (33:13.71) and Cregg (33:19.95) finished 10th and 12th.
Lang followed up Saturday's strong effort with an eight-place showing in the men's open division 10-kilometer race with a time of 29:59.13. Kevin Heglund (Andover, Minn./Anoka) crafted a time of 30:22.82 to rank 11th, Harvey took 16th with a time of 31:05.01 and Steve Pribyl (Stillwater, Minn.) positioned himself as the 18th-best racer, after tallying a time of 31:11.27. Seven others competed for Tech in the race.
"Overall I felt it was a pretty good weekend of racing for us," said head coach Joe Haggenmiller. "Saturday's conditions were better for skiing and we were able to see some solid results in the sprints. The temperature warmed up really quickly on Sunday, which made it difficult for some of our more inexperienced skiers to perform at their best. It was still a good experience to compete as we prepare for the races on our course next weekend."
"For the women, Liz Quinley was a bright spot for us, along with Kristina Owen. Quinley is still just scratching the surface with where she can be, and Owen is hopefully building for an even better year than the last two."
"I was happy with most of the racers on the men's side," said Haggenmiller. "Eric Olson's performance in the sprint on Saturday was noteworthy and we had a couple of young guys do well in the OJ division both days. The men should have good depth across the board all year."
The Huskies will be back in action this Saturday (Dec. 16) and Sunday (Dec. 17) when they host the MTU Christmas Classic/Pre-U.S. Nationals at the Michigan Tech Nordic Training Center.