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Strong squad returns for MTU Ski Team in 2012-13

Mon, Dec  10, 2012 - By MTU Athletics Department

HOUGHTON, Mich. - The Michigan Tech Nordic ski team enters the 2012-13 with high expectations as it returns many student-athletes, both men and women, and competes for Central Collegiate Ski Association and NCAA Regional Titles.

"The competion will be tight this season with seven men's and six women's NCAA qualifying spots up for grabs," said head coach Joe Haggenmiller who enters his 10th season leading the Huskies. "We have a talented and ambitious group of student-athletes that will fight for those spots."

The women's team return's last year's top-ranked student-athlete sophomore Deedra Irwin. The Pulaski, Wis., native competed at the 2012 NCAA Nordic Skiing Championships. The talented endurance athlete also posted a top-25 finish in the five-kilometer classic race at the US National Championships. Irwin, who earned NCAA All-Region and All-CCSA accolades, is studying abroad in Costa Rica during the fall and will join the team during the second semester.

Michigan Tech cross country ski team skier
Alice Flanders will red shirt this season after spending the fall semester studying abroad in Norway.  The Crystal, Minn., native was a member of the winning freestyle relay at the US Junior National Championships and finished second at the five-kilometer freestyle at the NCAA Regionals and earned all-region honors.

Junior Lynn Duijndam (Falcon Heights, Minn.) will look to build on last year after earning All-CCSA accolades in 2012.

Junior Sarah Daniels (Savage, Minn.) is looking to rebound from a sub-par season that still included a number of top-10 collegiate performances. Sophomore Marissa Yovetich (Andover, Minn.) will provide depth for the Huskies. Yovetich posted a pair of top-25 finishes at the NCAA Regionals

The team will also look to many other talented skiers to improve in the Tech program.

The men's team will enjoy strong depth with a mix of experience and youth.

Junior Matt Dugan (Waukesha, Wis.), junior Sandre Sandvik (Oslo, Norway), junior Matt Wong (Mahtomedi, Minn.) and senior Luke Gesior (Waukesha, Wis.) will lead the team with their strong work ethics. Dugan was an NCAA alternate in the past, and Wong earned NCAA All-Region honors a year ago.

The team also has a pair of talented freshmen, Raphael Bechtiger and Kyle Hanson.

Bechtiger joins the Huskies via Austria where he was a past member of the Austrian National Ski Team and competed at the 2012 World Junior Cross Country Skiing Championships. The Angerberg, Austria, native is currently ranked 467th on the world sprint ranking list and 577 on the world distance ranking list.

Hanson enjoyed a stand-out prep career in Fairbanks, Alaska before joining the Huskies. In 2012 he was a member of the United States Ski Team that competed at the U-18 Scandinavian Cross Country Skiing Championships and did not compete his senior season at the Alaska state championships. Hanson earned all-state accolades at the state meet in 2011 with an eighth place finish. He posted three top-25 finishes at the 2012 Junior Olympic Championships and a 25th and 26th place finish at the 2011 Junior Olympic Championships.

The team will also look to many other talented skiers to improve in the Tech program.

The team will compete in a plethora of races throughout the winter including a full CCSA slate. Other races include the US National Championships in Herber City, Utah in early January and the team will host the NCAA Central Region Championship with the hopes of qualifying numerous student-athletes for the NCAA Championships in Middlebury, Vermont in March.