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NMU, MTU net Central Region ski awards

Wed, Apr  8, 2009 - By Matias Saari

Nordic skiers Martin Banerud and Laura DeWitt of Northern Michigan University have been named the NCAA Central Region Athletes of the Year.

Banerud, a junior from Oslo, Norway, followed up his first team All-Central Collegiate Ski Association selection by placing 11th in the freestyle race at the 2009 NCAA Skiing Championships, missing another NCAA All-America selection by one spot and just 0.2 seconds. He was also 15th in the classic-technique event at NCAA’s.

DeWitt, a fifth-year junior, won the Central Region classic title on March 1 and then placed 17th in both the freestyle and classic races at the national championships in Rumford, Maine. DeWitt redshirted for NMU in 2004-05 and took a medical redshirt in 2006-07.

Martin Banerud Laura Dewitt
Martin Banerud Laura Dewitt

Among women, Theresia Schnurr of Alaska-Fairbanks also received votes, while Jesse Lang of MTU and Santiago Ocariz of Wisconsin-Green Bay received votes for the men.

In other awards, Sten Fjeldheim of NMU was named the NCAA Central Region women’s Coach of the Year while Joe Haggenmiller received the nod for the women. The awards recognized their teams’ CCSA postseason performance.

Highlighting the CCSA results at NCAA’s was Lang’s eighth place in the NCAA freestyle.

“It was great for us to break through with our first male NCAA All-American performance,” Haggenmiller, in his sixth season at MTU, said.

Fjeldheim is in his 21st season at NMU and has helped produce 10 Olympians, five NCAA champions and dozens of All-Americans.

NMU placed eighth of 21 teams in the NCAA Nordic standings this year while MTU was 11th.

Fjeldheim (women) and Haggenmiller (men) were previously voted the CCSA Coaches of the Year in recognition of their teams' 2008-09 regular-season performances.

The winners were chosen through a vote by the CCSA coaches.