by Brice Burge
In a weekend packed with losses to U.P. rivals, the Wildcat Nordic skiing team brought home the only victories of the weekend at the Michigan Tech Challenge against the host Huskies and UW-Green Bay.
“The skiers raced very well for just getting on snow a few days earlier,” said Coach Jenny Ryan. “Their technique looked good and they skied hard.”
The women won both the classic and freestyle races while the men won the freestyle, but finished second to MTU in the classic. The women were led by junior Christina Gillis who won both 5k races.
“I by no means expected to win both or even one of the races this weekend,” said Gillis. “I am sure as the season continues [the] results will vary. We have a strong squad and the fastest girl can vary day to day.”
The Wildcat women show their strength with five top-10 runners in the freestyle and four in the classic. This highlights the depth of the team, which is important for any racing sport.
Wildcat Laura DeWitt also placed in the top 10 in both races as an open participant. She will be competing for the ‘Cats as she will be a full time student next semester.
The men did not have as much success as the women, as they won the freestyle race on Saturday, but finished second to the host Huskies in the classic on Sunday. The men were led by two newcomers to the team, George Cartwright and Chris Bowler. Cartwright finished third in the 10K freestyle with a time of 30:36.3 and Bowler grabbed the third spot in the classic with a 32:22.6. Senior Tim Cook also finished in the top 10 for both races.
The next action for the Wildcat teams are at the US National Championships, starting January 2 in Anchorage, Alaska.
“The athletes all headed home for a few weeks before departing for
Alaska. They have a training schedule to follow with hard workouts to get used to skiing fast on snow and easy workouts to keep up their fitness,” said Ryan.
The team will leave for Alaska on December 29.