HOUGHTON, Mich. - The Northern Michigan Nordic Ski team got off to a hot start at the Husky Challenge on the campus of Michigan Technological University, while the Michigan Tech Nordic ski team struggled to find their stride. The NMU men had four skiers place in the top 10 in the college 10K event and the women had six in the top 10 in the college 5K freestyle. Both NMU teams combined to lead the Challenge with a score of 61, heading into the second day of events. College of Saint Scholastica (CSS) was in second place with 48 points, Michigan Tech third with 29 points, and the Univeristy of Wisconson-Green Bay in last place with 18 points.
Men's 10K Freeestyle
The NMU men took the top top spots. Martin Stuge Banerud was the top finisher in the men’s college 10K with a time of 0:26:53.9. Andy Liebner wasn’t far behind in second place with at time of 0:27:44.3. Two CSS skiers, Jeremy Hecker and Waylon Manske were third and fourth in 0:28:14.7 and 0:28:53.5, followed closely by three more NMU skiers: Kevin Cutts fifth (0:28:58.1), Erik Soderman sixth (0:29:12.7) and Chris Bowler seventh (0:29:22.6).
Traverse City's Jesse Smith was best MTU finisher with a 10th place in 0:29:39.9.
The MTU Huskies had six other men finish in the top-20. Petter Sjulstad crossed the line in 13th (30:05). Matt Wong had a great race to start the season, finishing 14th (30:12). Other finishes included Matt Dugan 15th (30:14), Colin Singleton 17th (30:31), Andrew Keller 18th (30:34) and Luke Gesior 19th (30:37).
Women's 5k Freestyle
Univeristy of Wisconson-Green Bay skier Carolyn Freeman easily won the womens' 5K freestyle in 0:15:28.1, 25 seconds ahead of MNU's Christina Turman (0:15:53.1). But MNU took the next three spots as well with Ingrid Fjeldheim third (0:15:58.0), Marie Helen Sodererman fourth (0:16:01.1) and, Libby Ellis (0:16:13.1) fifth.
Lynn Duijndam posted the top MTU finish of the day in sixth place in a time of 0:16:32.1. MNU's Jordyn Ross (0:16:39.1) and Monica Markvardsen (0:16:42.1) were seventh and eighth. CSS's Eleanor Magnuson and UWGB's Kailey Mucha rounded out the top ten with times of 0:16:44.4 and 0:16:47.8.
“It was a nice day for racing this early in the season—great conditions and the women worked hard,” said Saints head coach Chad Salmela. “As a coach, these first few weekends are always hard, because I don’t prepare the team much for these early races. I know some of the women hoped to race a little better, but all I wanted to see was an effort—something to prime the pump for more racing down the road. I’m happy with what they did.”
“Overall today was not our best performance,” said Michigan Tech head coach Joe Haggenmiller. “It is early in the season but we will have to regroup for the classic races tomorrow. Lynn and Matt both turned in the best performances by an individual.”
The men’s and women’s teams will all be back in action in the classical races of the Michigan Tech Challenge Sunday (Dec. 5).
Team scores after one day of racing:
Individual Results for 2010 Huskey Challenge: