The Wildcat women skied straight into the NCAA history books on Friday. For the second consecutive race at the 2007 NCAA Championships in Jackson, N.H., Northern Michigan University swept the podium. According to the NCAA, no women's team had ever before swept back-to-back races at the same NCAA's (Denver's men pulled it off in 2000).
In perfect conditions Friday - sunny skies, no wind, temperatures around 20 degrees, and deep, firm tracks - Lindsey Weier (Mahtomedi, Minn.) won the 15-kilometer mass start in 47 minutes, 21 seconds, edging Lindsay Williams by a second. Morgan Smyth (48:11) secured the sweep by outsprinting Maria Grevsgaard in the final 300 meters. In Wednesday's 5K freestyle, the 1-2-3 finish by Williams, Smyth and Weier was the first women's NCAA sweep since Dartmouth did it in 1989.
The Wildcat trio are all seniors, all members of the U.S. Ski Team and all American-born in a championships normally dominated by foreign skiers.
"This is unbelievable, these women have trained so hard and so well. They are just so professional about it. They balance their academics and athletics so well," 20th-year NMU coach Sten Fjeldheim said on the Web site for the University of New Hampshire, the event's host. "As a coach this is just something that you dream about, and it is something that may never happen in a coach's lifetime. I have them to thank for it."
Women skiers from the Central Collegiate Ski Association grabbed five of the top eight spots on Friday, as Aurelia Korthauer of the Alaska Nanooks took fifth and Kristina Owen from Michigan Tech placed eighth. Rounding out the CCSA women were Linn Dale of St. Olaf, 21st; Julie Coulter of Alaska, 23rd; Jenna Klein of Michigan Tech, 25th; Anna Coulter of Alaska, 28th; and Elizabeth Quinley of MTU, 34th.
Meanwhile, the men's podium for the 20K resembled Wednesday's freestyle, with the same three skiers earning medals, just in a different order. Snorri Einarsson of Utah overcame an early fall and took the crown in 55:06, two seconds ahead of freestyle winner Rene Reisshauer of Colorado. Marius Korthauer of Alaska Fairbanks claimed bronze in 55:16.Other CCSA finishers included Martin Banerud of NMU, seventh (making him a second-team All-American); Phil Violett, NMU, 12th; Jesse Lang, MTU, 19th; Bill Bowler, NMU, 24th; Kevin Heglund, MTU, 28th; Vahur Teppan, UAF, 30th; and Santiago Ocariz, Wisconsin-Green Bay, 37th.
Dartmouth leads the team standings after three of four days with 511 points. NMU is fifth (and the top Nordic squad) with 380, while Alaska Fairbanks is 11th with 217 and Michigan Tech 14th with 128.
The CCSA schools do not field Alpine teams and thus can't move up at the championships, which conclude Saturday with giant slalom races.