Top skier in country: Coaches name Northern Michigan University’s Ian Torchia the Men’s Nordic Skier of the Year

Northern Michigan University junior Ian Torchia, No. 1 at center, works his way through the mass start of the men’s 20-kilometer freestyle race at the NCAA skiing championships in Steamboat Springs, Colo., on March 10. (Photo courtesy NMU)

DENVER — Northern Michigan University nordic skier Ian Torchia was named Men’s Nordic Skier of the Year by the U.S. Collegiate Ski Coaches Association last week.

The Wildcats’ junior became the seventh NCAA champion in NMU history after winning the 20-kilometer freestyle race at the national championships held in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, on March 10. Racing in the mass start event, Torchia made up ground down the stretch to win by two seconds in 54 minutes, 21 seconds.

The junior earned a pair of first-team All-America honors at this year’s championship meet after beginning the meet with a fifth-place performance in the 10K classic race. Torchia is now a four-time All-American after a pair of honors as a sophomore in 2016.

After missing all of the 2016-17 season due to injury, Torchia bounced back this past season to take the individual titles in the 10K classic race at the Central Collegiate Ski Association Championships and the 20K freestyle race at the Central Region Championships.

As a team, NMU took both men’s and women’s team crowns at the CCSA and Central Region championships. At the national meet, Northern’s two teams combined for 179 points, which was the highest total among teams without alpine competitors. In nordic standings, the 179 combined points were fifth most.

Ian Torchia

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