Between St. Olaf track and field teams competing at the NCAA indoor championships and Ole skiers racing in the United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA)championships, this past weekend was filled with exciting, high-stakes contests across the board. Among them, women’s Nordic skiing stood out at the USCSA’s due in part to Bri Paulsen ’18’s strong performance. Paulsen finished third overall individually, placing second in the 15k freestyle with a time of 44:20.5, missing first place by a mere 5.6 seconds. She also finished second in the 7.5k classic and sixth in the freestyle sprint. Paulsen’s clutch efforts helped the Oles grasp victory in the 15k and end the weekend with an admirable second place overall finish.
Q: Overall, if you had to pinpoint one value that Nordic skiing has helped instill in you, what would that be and why?
A: Nordic has instilled endurance within me that I have never experienced in any other sport or situation in life. The extreme physical and mental strength is so unique, and when you can feel the combination of those working together, it’s very self-empowering.
Q: What’s your fondest memory of skiing? Any particular memories stand out during your time with St. Olaf?
A: One of my fondest memories was actually this entire past week at USCSA’s. I just had a blast in all the races and really enjoyed getting to know the competitors throughout the week, and forming some friendships as well as performing well with the team. It was so fun to showcase our talents and what we had been training for all season. The atmosphere was energetic and competitive on a snow covered mountain – what more could you ask for?
Q: Who’s your biggest inspiration for continuing to improve?
A: A lot of my motivation to improve comes from myself because I’m always pushing to see what my body is capable of and that keeps me hungry to continue improving. If I had to pick a skier role model though, I’d say Jessie Diggins, because she always has the best attitude and never fails to show how much she loves skiing, and I want this to show while I’m competing as well.