If you are looking for something different to do this weekend, how about going to the Al Quaal recreation area and watch the Central Collegiate Ski Association Championships hosted by Northern Michigan University?
Because Nordic skiing is not a high profile sport in the U.S., most people are not aware that Northern Michigan University has one of the best ski teams in the United States. This year, NMU has placed first or second in each of their competitions that included team scoring.
Kyle Bratrud from NMU ranks first in the Central Collegiate Ski Association with an overall point average of 118.005. Another NMU skier, George Cartwright, is third at 131.798 and NMU skier Fredrik Schwencke is sixth at 141.203.
On the women's side, NMU has four skiers ranked at the top of the CCSA. Mary Kate Cirelli ranks first in the CCSA with an overall point average of 138.192 followed by Felicia Gesior, who is in fourth. Hannah Boyer is ranked seventh at 170.234 and Kristen Bourne is in eighth at 170.266.
Even though the Wildcats enter the competition at a slight disadvantage because they will be missing two of their top skiers in senior Rosie Frankowski and freshman Adam Martin, they do have a home course advantage. Knowledge of the course is the first advantage that the home course brings, but equally important will be in the home crowd cheering on the NMU team.
We encourage local sports fans to attend the races this weekend and show their support for our top-rated team. This will be the only home meet of the year for the Wildcats, which means it will be our only opportunity to show the team support.
The Upper Peninsula has always been known for the support that is provided to the people and athletes that live here.
So head out to Al Quaal this weekend and cheer the NMU Wildcat Nordic Ski Team on to victory. Competition will begin at 10 both this morning and Sunday. The classic race will be held today with the freestyle race on Sunday.
The Mining Journal is very proud of the student athletes and coaches that are part of the NMU Nordic Ski Team. We trust the rest of the community is also proud of the team and will show their support by attending the races.
Even though skiing is not a high profile sport, these athletes deserve to be recognized for being among the best in the country at the sport in which they compete.