Joe Haggenmiller of Michigan Tech University and Sten Fjeldheim of Northern Michigan have been named the Central Collegiate Ski Association Coaches of the Year.
Haggenmiller, in his sixth season at MTU, was named the CCSA men’s coach of the year, his first coaching award for Nordic skiing.
“It is an honor,” Haggenmiller said via e-mail. “It was a really fun year to coach. Our men's team had a very good crop of new athletes come in to mix with our veterans and our group, which is very big by NCAA skiing standards, really worked well together to help each other be successful.”
His Huskies men’s squad won the freestyle title at the Central Region Championships by one point over NMU and finished just three points behind the Wildcats in the overall men’s standings.
“We were very competitive with our rivals from NMU throughout the year, which is a big accomplishment since they have consistently worked to raise the bar for the CCSA/NCAA Central Region,” said Haggenmiller, who skied for Fjeldheim at NMU from 1988-91.
Haggenmiller’s Huskies also qualified a full contingent (three men and three women) to the NCAA Ski Championships for the first time in school history. He credited the help of a support staff that included first-year assistant coach Jason Cork, graduate assistant technician Ryan Tervo and other volunteers.
Three MTU men — Jesse Lang, Oskar Lund and Petter Sjulstad — gained spots on the All-CCSA second team.
Meanwhile, Fjeldheim’s recognition as CCSA women’s coach of the year, is nothing new. He has received many awards in his 21 seasons with the Wildcats.
Despite losing standouts Morgan Smyth and Maria Stuber to graduation, Fjeldheim’s women won the Central Region Championship by 20 points over Alaska (Fairbanks).
Led by Laura DeWitt and Marie Helen Soderman, the Wildcats put four skiers on the women’s All-CCSA first team. Ingrid Fjeldheim and Anna Bergland also made the squad.
Fjeldheim is a native of Norway who came to the U.S. in 1961 and gained his U.S. citizenship in 1975. His NMU teams have produced 10 Olympians, five NCAA champions and more than 40 NCAA All-Americans.
The CCSA coaches of the year recognized performances from the 2008-09 regular season. Recognizing post-season accomplishments, the NCAA Central Region Coaches and Skiers of the Year will be announced next week.