Collegiate dominance: Northern Michigan University sweeps NCAA Central Region team, individual Nordic ski championships

Northern Michigan University’s Nicole Schneider skis to the win in the NCAA Central Region Championships race while finishing second in the overall SuperTour women’s 15-kilometer race on Saturday morning at Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming. (Journal photo by Jess Makela)

Up next: NMU Nordic ski teams advance to NCAA National Championships, Jackson, N.H., March 6-11

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By Journal Sports Staff

ISHPEMING — The Northern Michigan University Nordic ski teams were dominant at the NCAA Central Region Championships, winning the men’s, women’s and overall titles during competition held Friday through Sunday at the Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming.

The Central Region Championships were held in conjunction with the National Ski Hall of Fame SuperTour, the first national Nordic skiing race to take place in Marquette County.

Acclaimed programs, including the Sun Valley SEF Gold Team, Stratton Mountain School T2 Team, Craftsbury Green Racing and Alaska Pacific University, were in attendance.

The Wildcats’ Adam Martin and Nicole Schneider won the collegiate individual crowns.

Martin took the men’s 20-kilometer freestyle in 55 minutes, 41.6 seconds and the 10K classic in 25:33.5, while Schneider was the first collegian to cross the line in the women’s 15K freestyle in 44:59.8 and 5K classic in 15:49.8.

Overall in the full SuperTour standings, Martin finished second in both the 20K freestyle and 10K classic. Schneider was second in the 15K freestyle and 11th in the 5K classic.

Teammates Kristen Bourne and Vivian Hett joined Schneider on the collegiate podium in each women’s race.

Bourne took second in the 15K freestyle in 45:19.8 and third in the 5K classic in 16:28.1, while Hett was second in the 5K classic in 15:54.3 and third in the 15K freestyle in 45:24.3.

For the men, NMU’s Fredrik Schwencke was second in the collegiate field’s 20K freestyle in 57:19.2 and third in the 10K classic in 26:40.3. Teammate Zak Ketterson was the fourth collegian to finish in both races, timing 58:19.9 and 27:05.0, respectively.

The Northern men and women also had a handful of other top-10 finishes.

For the women, Caroline Brisbois came in fourth in 45:30.4 and Sarah Bezdicek 10th in 47:45.4 in the collegiate 15K freestyle.

In the 5K classic college race for NMU, Brisbois was fifth in 16:34.1, Sophie McDonald sixth in 16:56.7 and Anikken Gjerde-Alnaes 10th in 17:14.2.

For the men in the collegiate 10K classic, Northern’s Lars Sonsterud was fifth in 27:06.5 and Sam Elfstrom eighth in 27:46.5. Elfstrom also took seventh in the 20K freestyle in 59:04.2.

NMU will next send full men’s and women’s teams to the NCAA National Championships in Jackson, New Hampshire, to be held March 6-11.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Writer Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.