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Michigan Tech Qualifies Five For NCAA Skiing Championships

Thu, Mar  1, 2007 - By Jon Oman - MTU

HOUGHTON, Mich. -- The Michigan Tech Nordic skiing team will send three women and two men to the 2007 National Collegiate Skiing Championships on Mar. 7-10 at Attitash and Jackson XC in Mt. Washington Valley, N.H., announced by the NCAA Men's and Women's Skiing Committee today. The field of 148 participants (74 women, 74 men) includes 10 women and nine men from the Central Collegiate Ski Association.

"This is a great accomplishment for our program," said fourth-year head coach Joe Haggenmiller. "To qualify five of a possible six skiers from our team is something to be proud of. We have been building for this type of year for a while. The challenge now is to make our mark at the national level."

Two-time All-American Kristina Owen (East Wenatchee, Wash./Eastmont) will compete at the NCAA Championships for the third straight year after collecting All-Region accolades in both the freestyle and classic races at the NCAA Central Regional Championships Feb. 17-18. She finished fifth among CCSA skiers at the regionals and was named to the All-CCSA First-Team for her efforts.

Sophomore Elizabeth Quinley (Anchorage, Alaska) and redshirt freshman Jenna Klein (Ely, Minn.) will be making their first appearances at the NCAAs after ranking nine and 10th, respectively, among the women's list of NCAA qualifiers in the CCSA.

For the men, redshirt freshman Jesse Lang (St. Louis Park, Minn.) enters his first NCAA Championships as the CCSA's sixth-place skier. He garnered All-Region laurels at the NCAA Central Regionals and was tabbed to the All-CCSA First-Team.

Junior Kevin Heglund (Andover, Minn./Anoka), who ranks seventh among CCSA racers, will also be taking part in his first races at the NCAAs.
Heglund was an All-Region selection in both the freestyle and classic competitions at the NCAA Central Regionals. He is a member of the All-CCSA Second-Team.

Two other Huskies -- senior Aaron Ditty (Brookyln Park, Minn./Park
Center) and junior Adam Airoldi (Everson, Wash.) -- were honored after standout seasons. Ditty was an All-Region selection in wake of his top 10 performance in the classic at the NCAA Central Regionals. Airoldi is an All-CCSA Second-Team Team pick and an injury cut short his races at the regionals. Ditty and Airoldi are both alternates for the NCAA Championships.

NCAA Participants are selected on a regional basis from two designated regions for Alpine skiing (East and West Regions), and three designated regions for Nordic skiing (Central, East and West Regions). Bids are awarded to regions using a formula determined by the skiing committee. A maximum of 12 student-athletes (three per gender per discipline) may participate from an institution.

Nordic events will be held Mar. 7 and 9 at Jackson XC. The women’s five-kilometer and men’s 10-kilometer freestyle cross-country races will be conducted Mar. 7. The men’s 20-kilometer and women’s 15-kilometer classical races will be held Mar. 9.

Notes: Five participants represents the highest amount of qualifiers by a Michigan Tech team in the modern NCAA Skiing Championships, which began in 1983 when the Men's and Women's Skiing Championships were combined … Highlights of the skiing championships will be shown on CBS at 1 p.m. EST, Saturday, May 5 … CBS Sports Presents Championships of the NCAA will feature highlights of 17 different NCAA championships; each taking place during the winter season.