ISHPEMING, Mich. — The Northern Michigan Nordic skiing teams swept the team titles at the NCAA Central Regional Championships.
The men and women each finished with 122 points to earn the title. The men bested second-place Alaska-Fairbanks by 10 points while the women edged the second-place Nanooks by two points.
"Both the men's and women's teams performed great this weekend," head coach Sten Fjeldheim said. "The conditions were tough, and the course was just plain hard, but our athletes' fitness helped us win. It was a total team effort, and now we can focus on the NCAA National Championships."
The Wildcats' performance in the classic races sealed their victory. In the men's 20K, 10K freestyle champion Jake Brown raced to a second-place finish with a time of 1:01:02.8. Sam Elfstrom (5th, 1:01:25.6) and Fredrik Schwencke (8th,1:01:37.6) also placed in the top 10.
In the women's 15K, Caroline Brisbois (4th, 53:57.2), 5K freestyle title winner Sophie Schimpl (5th, 54:05.6) and Lea Bünter (6th, 54:06.2) claimed spots in the top 10.
"Yesterday, Jake Brown and Sophie Schimpl won regional freestyle titles, but they knew they had their teammates closing fast behind them,"Fjeldheim said. "We had some outstanding efforts by many of our skiers at this race, including two of our freshmen Lea Bünter and Sophie McDonald. Sam Elfstrom put together two of his best finishes of his career this weekend, and it was super he made a breakthrough at one of our most important races of the season."
Northern Michigan returns to action March 7-12 to compete at the NCAA National Championships in Steamboat Springs, Colo. Eight Wildcats have qualified to race: Adam Martin, Ian Torchia, Brown, Schwencke, Felicia Gesior, Vivian Hett, Schimpl and Nicole Schneider.