The Northern Michigan University men’s and women’s Nordic ski teams dominated the classic races at their season-opening meet, the Wildcat Open, on Saturday morning from the Michigan Tech Ski Trails. The races were originally scheduled for Al Quaal in Ishpeming but a lack of snow moved competition north. Michigan Tech and Green Bay also competed.
In the women’s 5-kilometer race, the Wildcats took six of the top seven collegiate spots. Freshman Mary Kate Cirelli (18:55.0) won her first race in the Green in Gold, defeating teammate junior Jordyn Ross by 16 seconds.
Junior Rosie Frankowski finished third while sophomore Elizabeth Simak and freshman Megan Edic placed sixth and seventh. Freshman Malin Erickson was 10th and junior Karmen Whitham rounded out NMU's skiers in 15th.
Sarah Daniels, who was battling an injury, led the Michigan Tech Huskies with a sixth place finish in the women's five-kilometer race. She finished in a time of 19:51.
The men raced a 10K with NMU taking the top four collegiate spots. Erik Soderman was the top finisher, crossing the line in 30:16.8. Sophomore Kyle Bratrud, senior Chris Bowler and junior George Cartwright placed three, four and five. Junior Ben Hugus (8th) was also in the top 10 while freshman Sam Eflstrom was 11th.
MTU's Matt Dugan was the top finisher for the men's team in the 10-kilometer classic race. He crossed the line fifth in a time of 32:45. Matt Wong was sixth (32:56), followed by Sondre Sandvik in eighth (33:12), and Kyle Hanson was ninth (33:59).
"Today was a good start to the season," said MTU head coach Joe Haggenmiller. "We are not in top shape, but we raced just fine. The weather made for an interesting day waxing, but our skies were very competitive."
The next day, the Nordic ski teams continued with freestyle races as part of the Wildcat Open.
The MNU women had the top three finishers and placed five in the top 10. Junior Rosie Frankowski won the 10-kilometer race in 27:33.3 followed by freshman Mary Kate Cirelli and junior Jordyn Ross.
Sophomore Elizabeth Simak and freshman Megan Edic finished eighth and ninth while junior Karmen Whitham (13th) and freshman Malin Erickson (14th) rounded out the skiers for the Green and Gold.
Green Bay's Hanne Guthrie was 4th, followed by MTU's Lynn Duijndam in 5th
In the men’s 12K race, the top four spots were held by Wildcats. Junior George Cartwright won the race in 35:21.2 followed by junior Erik Soderman, junior Ben Hugus and sophomore Kyle Bratrud.
Former MNU skier Martin Banerud was 5th, followed MTU's Matthew Dugan in 6th. Green Bay was locked out of the top 10.
Senior Chris Bowler was also in the top 10 in seventh place and freshman Sam Elfstrom wrapped up NMU skiers in 16th.
The next race is Central USSA Opener in Ironwood, Michigan next weekend.