CABLE, Wis. -- The Michigan Tech Nordic skiing team concluded its NorAm SuperTour race schedule for the 2006-07 season this past Saturday (Jan. 26) and Sunday (Jan. 27) at Telemark Ski Area . The event was the third of five Central Collegiate Ski Association (CCSA) qualifiers for the NCAA Championships in March.
"The snow conditions were light, to say the least, but we still managed to perform pretty well," said head coach Joe Haggenmiller. "The freestyle course was a change of pace for the competitors and snow was actually really fast on Sunday. Overall, I think we are getting stronger each week and that is important at this time of the season."
Senior Kristina Owen (East Wenatchee, Wash./Eastmont) turned in a pair of top 10 efforts among collegians, including a ninth-place performance in the 4.8-kilometer freestyle race (13:24.3) and a fifth-place showing in the 10-kilometer classic competition. Elizabeth Quinley (Anchorage, Alaska/East) wasn't far behind Owen, as she finished 10th in the collegiate division of the freestyle (13:30.0) and 12th in the classic (30:44.3). Kristen Monahan (St. Louis Park, Minn./Eden Prairie) ranked 22nd in the freestyle and Jenna Klein (Ely, Minn.) was 17th in the classic race.
"Kristina had a pretty respectable weekend, especially against the top competition she faced on Sunday," said Haggenmiller. "It was great to see Liz [Quinley] right up there with Kristina on Saturday and I think she was having a lot of fun with during the races this weekend. Kristen [Monahan] and Jenna [Klein] worked hard and they will get stronger with each race."
"We are confident that Kristina will be at the national championships, but Liz and Jenna are still a little bit on the bubble. The next few weeks will present a big challenge and a lot will be on the line for them."
The men's team posted another strong weekend, with Jesse Lang (St. Louis Park, Minn.) providing the best overall two-day results. Lang took eighth in the collegiate field of the 9.6-kilometer freestyle (23:27.3) and was fourth in the 15-kilometer classic (39:22.6). Adam Airoldi (Everson, Wash.) ranked eighth in the freestyle (23:27.3) and 12th in the classic (40:56.0), while Kevin Heglund (Andover, Minn./Anoka) took 11th among collegians in both the freestyle (23:36.1) and classic (40:43.9).
Aaron Ditty (Brooklyn Park, Minn./Park Center) was 17th in the freestyle (24:32.2) and eighth in the classic (40:10.5). Assistant coach Karl Walczak (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) came in 16th overall in the freestyle (23:07.5) and was 20th overall in the classic (40:21.0).
"Jesse [Lang] had another really strong weekend," said Haggenmiller. "Finishing in the top 10 on the men's side week after week takes a lot of training and a lot of talent. Adam [Airoldi] and Kevin [Heglund] should have helped their chances of qualifying for the NCAA Championships with how they raced both days. Aaron [Ditty] put together a very solid race and his performance was maybe a bit overshadowed because of how well Jesse skied."
"Our guys continue to impress the competition with their depth. We are seeing four to five of our skiers finish before some of the other programs are seeing their first racer complete the course. It's exciting to see us skiing at such a high level across the board."The Al Quaal Recreation Area will serve as the site for the Wildcat Open, which will be hosted by Northern Michigan on Feb. 10.