Slip slidin’ away: Northern Michigan University nordic men skiers busy in late February, March

Northern Michigan University’s Kristoffer Karsrud works his way through the course at the NCAA Skiing Championships held in Steamboat, Colo., in late March. (Photo courtesy NMU)

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University men’s nordic skiing team finished its season with a busy month of meets — the NCAA Central Region championships in late February, followed by the NCAA Skiing Championships in early March and the SuperTour Finals in the latter part of March.

Here are details from each event:


NMU men 2nd at regional

At Houghton on Feb. 25-26, the Wildcat men were runners-up to host Michigan Tech, finishing with 99 points to MTU’s 108. St. Scholastica was third with 49 while Wisconsin-Green Bay came in fourth with 44.

Northern Michigan University men’s nordic skier Jonathan Clarke takes a break during a race at the SuperTour Finals held in Duluth, Minn., in late March. (Photo courtesy NMU)

NMU claimed half the podium spots, three of six, in the event’s two races.

On the opening-day 7.5-kilometer freestyle, Luke Fricker was second in 16 minutes, 16.8 seconds, then in the 20K interval start, teammate Kristoffer Karsrud was runner-up in 57:17.1 and Fricker third in 57:24.1.

In the 7.5K race, Karsrud was sixth in 16:54.8, while in the 20K, Tech’s Skylar Patten won in 56:20.0.


Top-40 finishes at nationals

At Steamboat, Colo., on March 7 and 9, three Wildcat men were chosen by the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Skiing Committee to participate at the NCAA Skiing Championships — Fricker, Karsrud and Mathias Haugen.

In the opening day’s 7.5K interval freestyle, Karsrud led NMU as he finished in 21:35.2. His time at 2.5K was 6:38.4 and at 5K was 14:03.5.

John Steel Hagenbuch of Dartmouth won in 19:09.1 as Karsrud finished within a minute of 19th place and less than two minutes behind the third-place finisher.

Fricker was 33rd in 21:49.2 as he had a 2.5K split of 6:30.7 and 5K split of 13:36.2, placing him around 15th after the first split and still right around 20th after 5K.

Haugen was right behind Fricker in 35th in 21:55.8 with splits of 6:39.4 and 14:17.4.

On the March 9 20K mass start, Karsrud again paced Northern, coming in 28th in 1:00:31.9 with a 5K split of 14:04.1 (24th at that time), 10K of 29:34.5 and 15K of 45:30.3.

Magnus Boee of the University of Colorado won in 55:38.0, just about five minutes ahead of Karsrud, who was less than two minutes out of 18th.

Fricker was 33rd in 1:01:25.5, less than a minute behind Karsrud as Fricker had a 5K split of 14:06.7, 10K of 29:41.3 and 15K of 45:53.3, while Haugen came in 40th in 1:05:49.8 with a 5K split of 14:51.8, 10K of 31:38.6 and 15K of 48:43.8.


Fricker, Karsrud lead SuperTour

At Duluth, Minnesota, from March 21-26, the Wildcats competed in four events over six days with Fricker and Karsrud having NMU’s top finishes, including one event where they teamed up.

In the opening day’s classic individual start that included 72 collegiate and professional skiers, Fricker was fourth among collegians and 14th overall in 23:57.7. His 3.3K split was 7:49.6 for 11th at that time and 6.6K split was 15:57.0, where he was 14th.

Past Canadian Olympic skier Antoine Cyr won in 22:39.8, about 12 seconds ahead of Dartmouth’s Hagenbuch, who won a national title at the NCAA Skiing Championships about two weeks earlier.

Former Northern skier Zak Ketterson was fourth in 23:25.7 as Fricker finished exactly 30 seconds out of fifth.

NMU’s next finisher was Karsrud, fifth among collegians and 15th overall, in 24:09.2 as he had a 3.3K split of 7:50.6 for 14th at that point and 6.6K split of 16:02.8, placing him 18th then.

Northern’s Jonathan Clarke was the first under-20 skier to finish and 21st overall in 24:09.2. His 3.3K split was 7:57.0 for 25th at that point and 6.6K split was 16:09.1 where he was 23rd.

Also for the Wildcats, Hendrik Peterson was 47th overall in 25:33.4 while Cooper Lennox finished 61st in 26:48.2.

The second event two days later was the classic sprint, where skiers went out in groups with the best times at each level advancing to the next level.

Karsrud was the only NMU skier and also the only college skier making it to the six-man finals, where he finished sixth in 3:00.12 as ex-NMU skier Ketterson was fourth in 2:56.76 and the winning time of 2:52.86 was posted by James Clinton Schoonmaker of the APU Nordic Ski Center.

Ketterson won and Karsrud was second in the fifth of five quarterfinals, Ketterson clocking 2:54.88 and Karsrud 2:54.94. The top two finishers in each quarterfinals plus the other two fastest time advanced to the semifinals.

In the semis, where again the top two advanced with two more of the remaining fastest times, Ketterson was second in his semi in 2:51.97 and Karsrud third in 2:52.62. But Karsrud got to advance to the finals as a “lucky loser.”

The Wildcats’

Haugen placed second in his own quarterfinal in 2:53.54 to advance to the semis, where in Ketterson’s and Karsrud’s semi, he came in fifth in 2:55.26 to be eliminated.

Fricker was in a quarterfinal separate from his teammates — and the college skier in it — and he finished fourth in 2:58.94 to be eliminated.

And Clarke was in a smaller Junior U20 event that only needed two rounds to determined the top finishers.

He was third in his semifinal in 3:07.50 to automatically advance, then finished third in the finals in 3:09.83 for the bronze medal as he came in just over five seconds behind the top two finishers.

On the next day, the third of the meet, Karsrud and Fricker again led NMU in the team sprint as they teamed up to finish fifth in qualifying with Karsrud coming in 11th individually in 2:36.19 and Fricker 16th in 2:37.09.

Earning a trip to the “A” finals, they came in 12th in 17:35.95. Teammates alternated skiing a lap, each skiing three times, for their total time. With Fricker skiing the first, third and fifth laps and Karsrud the second, fourth and sixth, their lap times were 2:36.3, 2:45.8, 2:54.8, 2:51.4, 3:10.4 and 3:16.8.

A pair of Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center teams finished 1-2, just over a minute ahead of Karsrud and Fricker, while Michigan Tech’s Parker Courte-Rathwell and Axel Aflodal were 10th, a little over 20 seconds ahead of the NMU pair.

Northern’s “B” team of Clarke and Haugen finished seventh in 17:43.75 as Clarke had the odd-number laps and Haugen the even ones. Their lap times were 2:39.2, 2:54.5, 2:56.4, 2:57.9, 2:59.7 and 3:15.8. They finished just over 30 seconds behind first-place Craftsbury-University of Vermont.

A third NMU team, Lennox and Peterson, were runners-up in the “C” final in 19:15.68, about 35 seconds behind the winners from Dartmouth.

With Lennox taking on the odd laps and Peterson the evens, their lap times were 2:46.6, 3:02.1, 3:12.9, 3:16.0, 3:20.3 and 3:37.5.

After another off day was the final event, the 40K mass start that was won by Dartmouth’s Hagenbuch of national championship fame. He clocked 1:39:37.4 as Fricker finished about 30 seconds ahead of Karsrud, Fricker in 12th among college skiers and 34th overall and Karsrud 13th collegiately and 35th overall.

Fricker clocked 1:53:09.1, about 13 1/2 minutes after Hagenbuch, with his 4K times of 10:10.0, 10:50.8, 11:10.1, 11:22.9, 11:09.0, 11:11.5, 11:28.7, 11:38.9, 11:49.6 and 12:17.1.

Karsrud came in at 1:53:40.9 with all his 4Ks between 10:50.3 and 12:07.0.

Peterson came in 42nd in 1:58:22.7, while Haugen was 53rd in 2:14:29.4.

Clarke competed in the Junior 20K, finishing ninth overall and fourth among college skiers in 57:40.7. He was 12th after his first 4K in 12:20.5 and moved up from there. His other 4Ks were 11:10.0, 11:12.3, 11:39.0 and 11:18.7.

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


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