2007-08 standings: Central Region: 9th
Location: Ashland, Wisconsin
Head coach: Dave Beeksma (3rd season)
Assistant coach: Blaise Sopiwnik
Top male returners: Jr. Christopher Goscinak
Top newcomers: Fr. Anna Rix, Fr. Bonnie Johnson, Fr. Erin Blow, Fr. Noel Cockney
Key departed skiers: Sarah Domek
Web site: www.northlandcollegesports.com
2008-09 outlook: Northland, a small college on the south shore of Lake Superior that focuses on environmental issues, is in its third season with skiing as a varsity sport. Though the Lumberjills graduated Sara Domek (17th at the 2008 Central Region freestyle race), a young bunch is eager to try to replace her.
“We should have a solid women’s team that will be made up of all freshmen,” coach Dave Beeksma said. “The men’s team will improve with the addition of Noel Cockney and all other skiers returning.”
Cockney has traveled a long way to Ashland, Wis., as he comes from Inuvik, a small town in Northwest Territories, Canada, that is located above the Arctic Circle on the Mackenzie River Delta. Cockney should also have little trouble adapting to the Midwest’s climate as the average high temperature in Inuvik in January is minus 10 Fahrenheit and the average low is minus 25.
Christopher Goscinak is the top returner for the Lumberjacks.
The campus in Ashland, Wis., now has a two-kilometer training loop for Nordic skiing, and the area is known for its abundant snowfall.
Northland’s roster includes 14 members this year and the program welcomes skiers of all abilities. Beeksma summarized his training and competition philosophy as “hard work pays off and the pay-off is fun.”
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-GREEN BAY
2007-08 standings: Central Region: 5th; NCAA: 19th
Location: Green Bay, Wisc.
Head coach: Butch Reimer, 12th season
Assistant coaches: Nate Balk (1st year) and Ashley Pletcher (1st year)
Top male returners: Jr. Santi Ocariz, Sr. Andy Cheesebro, Sr. Craig Hertz
Top female returners: So. Carolyn Freeman, So. Lindsey Marshall
Top newcomers: Brittany Drengler, Annie Dehmlow, Jeff Cook, Kyle Fredrickson
Key departed skiers: Ashley Pletcher, Jenna Dickinson, Jackie Pribyl
Web site: www.uwgbathletics.cstv.com
2008-09 outlook: Wisconsin-Green Bay, the only Division I school in the CCSA, qualified a pair of skiers to the NCAA Championships last year in Santi Ocariz and Ashley Pletcher. Both are still with the Phoenix but in different capacities: Ocariz is a junior looking to qualify for a third straight season while Pletcher, who graduated after snagging the last NCAA spot, is now an assistant coach under Butch Reimer.
The blond-haired Ocariz is a Spooner, Wis., native who has dual citizenship and a Spanish heritage. He also has come out strong this season by winning freestyle races at the NMU Invitational on Dec. 7 and the Grand View XC Ski Challenge on Dec. 13.
Teammate Carolyn Freeman was also the top collegiate freestyle skier and second fastest classic skier at Grand View. Freeman, a sophomore from Ely, Minn., narrowly missed an NCAA spot a year ago. Now she leads an all-underclassman women’s squad that includes sophomore Lindsey Marshall.
Also hungry for an NCAA spot is senior Craig Hertz, who came up just six-tenths of a point shy in 2008. Adding depth the men’s squad is senior Andy Cheesebro.
Reimer is in his 12th season overall and returned to UWGB in 2006 after an eight-year hiatus. “This is my third year back and I’m trying to get the team to improve every year,” Reimer said. “They made a step last year, almost qualifying two more skiers.”