Northern Michigan University alpine skiers 4th, 6th at U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association nationals; 3 Wildcats named All-Americans

Thirteen skiers represented Northern Michigan University at the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association National Championships last week at Lake Placid, N.Y. Front row, from left, are Ella Wichert, Reagan Olli, Ainsley Kirk, Emily Creek, Abby Schierholz and Brynn Rowell. Top row from left, Mitch Makela, Garret Lundteigen, Harry McCaffrey, Andrew Truman, Will Blackmer, Colin Dehart and Aaron Grzelak. (Photo courtesy NMU)

MARQUETTE — Three members of the Northern Michigan University alpine ski team earned All-American honors at the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association National Championships held over five days at Whiteface Mountain from March 8-12 in Lake Placid, New York.

In the team standings, out of 26 schools competing, the Wildcat men finished in a tie for fourth place and NMU women a tie for sixth.

“We had a fantastic week of competition,” NMU head coach Erik Lundteigen said. “The venue was challenging, and the surface was perfect for ski racing. Both our men’s and women’s teams got after it. We scored very well. I am happy with the direction that the program is moving in.

“I am very proud of all the athletes and appreciate their efforts. This is the first year of competition for us. I like how we train and embrace all the support from the university.”

Northern had its highest finish and earned its All-American honors in slalom races held on the third and fourth days of the event.

A trio of alpine skiers from Northern Michigan University earned All-American status at the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association National Championships held at Lake Placid, N.Y., from March 8-12. From left are Garret Lundtiegen, First Team; Reagan Olli, Second Team; and Aaron Grzelak, Second Team. (Photo courtesy Erik Lundteigen)

In men’s slalom on March 11, the Wildcats’ Garret Lundteigen finished in fourth place to earn First Team All-America honors with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 30.98 seconds. He had similar runs of 45.75 and 45.23 seconds, each fifth fastest in that run.

He missed the winning time posted by Unhjem Smith of Sierra Nevada University by just over two seconds as Smith totaled 1:28.75. Garret Lundteigen was also less than a second behind runner-up Lorenzo Mencaccini of Castleton, who clocked 1:30.04.

Teammate Aaron Grzelak, a Marquette Senior High School graduate, finished second to garner Second Team All-American status as he was barely more than a half-second behind Garret Lundteigen in 1:31.57. His first run of 45.82 seconds was sixth fastest and second run of 45.75 was 12th, even though it was faster than the first run.

The next NMU men’s finisher was Andrew Truman in 27th in 1:37.46 as he was about six seconds behind Grzelak. He had runs of 49.52 and 47.94.

In addition, the Wildcats’ Mitch Makela was 40th in 1:43.00 with runs of 52.65 and 50.35, while Colin Dehart had a first run of 52.96 — 58th fastest — but didn’t complete his second run for no place.

Northern finished third as a team in slalom, its best team finish at the nationals, which combined its three fastest competitors, Garret Lundteigen, Grzelak and Truman, for a total time of 4:40.01. That was less than nine seconds behind Sierra Nevada’s 4:31.11 and just over five seconds behind runner-up Rocky Mountain College in 4:34.95.

In women’s slalom held March 10, NMU’s Reagan Olli finished 12th in 1:41.77 to earn Second Team All-American honors. Her runs were 49.18, 16th fastest in that run, and 52.59, 13th best. She finished a shade over seven seconds behind winner Misel Marovt of Sierra Nevada’s 1:34.75. Olli was also only about 3 1/2 seconds out of fourth place.

Northern’s Ella Wichert was 26th in 1:44.54 with runs of 50.17 and 54.37, each in the mid-20ths fastest. Teammate Abby Schierholz was 31st in 1:47.61 with runs of 51.61 and 56.00, 34th and 33rd fastest, respectively.

NMU’s Ainsley Kirk, like Grzelak an MSHS grad, and Emily Creek each finished one run but not a second for no place. Kirk’s run was 49.68, 18th fastest, while Creek’s was 51.90, 35th fastest.

Olli, Wichert and Schierholz combined to give the NMU women a team time of 5:13.92 for fifth place. They were about 24 1/2 seconds behind winner Sierra Nevada’s 4:49.65 time but only about 7 1/2 seconds behind third-place Castleton.

Last Saturday, the final day of the USCSA meet, was the Dual Slalom National Championship with both NMU teams reaching the quarterfinals. With more than 20 teams competing, Northern finished in the equivalent place of a tie for fifth.

No other information was available about that competition at the USCSA website, uscsa-results.org.

The Wildcats picked up several other honors at the meet, too, their coach reported, as seven skiers earned Scholar All-American honors.

Olli and Garret Lundteigen were awarded First Team Scholar All-American; Makela, Dehart and Kirk made Second Team Scholar; and Schierholz and Brynn Rowell were Honorable Mention scholars.

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


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