HOUGHTON, Mich. - Northern Michigan University swept the top spots in Sunday's Husky Challenge, winning both the men's 10k Classic and the women's 5k Classic, taking 7 of the top ten spots. The Michigan Tech Nordic ski teams regrouped from a disappointing freestyle race on Saturday (Dec. 4) by placing seven skiers in the top-10 of the classical races Sunday (Dec. 5), including second and third in the women's race.
“Today was a big turn around from yesterday,” said MTU head coach Joe Haggenmiller. “This weekend proves that we need to work on our freestyle skiing but our classic skiing is very competitive. Overall I am pleased with where we are at this point of the season. The season is early with our big races yet to come.”
Lake effect snow dumped overnight and all day making the conditions tricky for kick waxing. Saints head coach Chad Salmela was concerned about getting the wax right before the start. “We really thought it was going to be a straightforward day with the waxing as we went to bed, but we woke up to a few inches of snow and it just kept falling,” said Salmela. When new falling snow mixes with the soft, sticky grip wax, called “kick” wax, often a wax that will grip the snow will turn the snow into icy chunks in the sticky zone of the ski, rendering ski slow and giving poor or no kick.
“Part of the focus for these races, as much as they are for the athletes, is to get us, the coaches, dialed back in to race support. We got a good wake up today, and thankfully, (Saints assistant coach) Josh Tesch went out there, under the gun and just delivered a great wax job that kicked really well and iced very little. It's not easy to say that on a day like today.”
Racing were teams from Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and
Women's 5k Classic
MNU's Marie Helen Soderman took the top honors in 19:06. Two MTU skiers followed: Malin Eriksson and Sarah Daniels in 19.17.4 and 19.21.0. MNU's Christina Turman was fourth.
Saturday's 5k Freestyle champion, UWGB's Freeman, turned around on Sunday to place fifth in the 5K classic race, cruising to a time of 19:36.7, less than 30 seconds off the leader.
UWGB's Carolyn Freeman won her first collegiate race on Saturday and finished fifth today.
Men's 10k Classic
Chris Bowler from MNU cruised to an easy classic victory, finishing almost 30 seconds ahead of teammate Kevin Cutts, 32:25.3 to 32:53.2. St. Scholastica sophomore Jeremy Hecker was a few seconds back in 23:59.1, finishing third for the second straight day. Two MTU skiers took fourth and fifth: Luke Gesior and Sondre Sandvik (33:10.1 and 33:28.4)
Senior Jeff Cook led the way for Green Bay, placing 14th in the 10K classic race (34:49.2).
In the Classic team results, MNU finished first in all categories.
Team scores for Classic race:
Northern Michigan University easily won the weekend. CSS held off the strong showing by MTU to finish second:
Combined Freestyle and Classic Team scores:
With the Saints men finishing second twice in two days against three of the conferences top Division I and II teams, CSS's head coach Salmela was pleased with Sunday’s results. “Well, like yesterday, I went to the finish line before anyone knew how they stacked up in the field, and the overall feeling from the guys was that they couldn’t get moving the way they'd like to and there was still a little frustration with early season form,” said Salmela. “But the results came out and we’d done fairly well again compared to how the guys felt about their races, so that’s always a nice surprise. Tech had a rough day yesterday and they came back hard today and nearly beat us. To come out ahead twice on their home course all things considered, I’m pretty happy, but NMU is still a ways ahead, and at some point, it would be nice to see all of us in the conference close that gap.”
The Husky Challenge served as a preseason tune-up, as none of the results will count toward the final season standings.
Individual Results for 2010 Huskey Challenge Classic: