Both the St. Olaf men’s and women’s Nordic ski teams competed at the NCAA Central Region Championships on Feb. 20-21 in Ishpeming, Mich., seeking to improve on earlier performances in the season. Both teams had strong individual performances despite facing an experienced field of skiers from across the region.
The women started off strong in Saturday’s 5K freestyle race, with Bri Paulsen ’18 finishing with a time of 15:45.8, putting her in 23rd place after the first day of competition. Nora Gilbertson ’16 and Shelby Ahrendt ’17 finished in 32nd and 34th place with times of 16:39.7 and 16:51.5, rounding out the first day of competition for St. Olaf.
Sunday’s 15K race saw more success for the Ole women, with Gilbertson finishing in 19th place with a time of 58:00.2. Paulsen came in behind Gilbertson with a time of 59:27.3, putting her in 24th place. Laura Moore ’18 (1:02.57.3), Ahrendt (1:03.44) and Liza Dawley ’17 (1:10.25.8) rounded out the Ole lineup, finishing 29th, 32nd and 37th respectively. The women’s team finished in sixth place overall.
Liam John ’16 led the men’s team during Saturday’s 10K freestyle race with a time of 28:34.0, placing him in 29th at the end of the day. Leif Hanson ’17 and Mitchell Miller ’18 rounded out Saturday’s scoring, placing 36th and 40th with times of 29:33.1 and 31:59.2. St. Olaf alumnus Jake Brown ’15, who now skis for Northern Michigan University, won Saturday’s race with a final time of 24:36.6, one minute ahead of the next competitor.
Hanson led the Oles in the 20K race on Sunday, finishing in 36th place with a final time of 1:10.44.7. John followed Hanson with a time of 1:13.13.4, putting him in 40th place. Chris Prokosch ’19 (1:15.04.7), Miller (1:15.41.2) and Jeremy Storvick ’18 (1:17.14.9) rounded out the Oles’ scoring, placing in 41st, 42nd and 43rd respectively. The men’s team finished the team scoring in sixth place.
The St. Olaf Nordic teams and Alpine teams will compete at NCAA Nationals next week in what is sure to be a highly contested matchup between some of the best skiers across the nation.