WEST YELLOWSTONE, Mont. – The Michigan Tech men's and women's skiing teams kicked off the 2016-17 season on Friday at the annual West Yellowstone Ski Festival. It was a deep field of talented competitors once again this year.
"I thought the day was a good start to the season," Michigan Tech Head Coach Joe Haggenmiller said. "We took it low key and have had a higher priority on good training volume this week. With that I thought Gaspard, Dan, and Carolyn had good efforts and solid results. Gaspard was hanging well with the top college guys. We'll look to build on this tomorrow."
In the freestyle, Gaspard Cuenot led the men with a 12th place finish overall and in the senior division with a time of 21:37.0. Dan Wood followed in 30th place overall with a time of 22:54.6, and Seth Mares checked in 76th overall, crossing the line with a time of 26:10.4.
In the women's freestyle, Carolyn Lucca led the way in 21st place in the senior division while checking in at No. 38 overall with a time of 13:35.8. Teammate Sarah Wade was 53rd in the overall freestyle standings on the strength of a 14:37.3 time Friday.
In the Altius Biathlon, Amanda Kautzer won her division with a time of 25:55 earlier this week.
The Michigan Tech men's skiing team closed the West Yellowstone Ski Festival by competing in the classic race on Saturday. The Huskies had four skiers compete on the final day out west.
Tomi Mikkonen paced the Huskies in 20th place in the field of 70 finishers during Saturday's classic race. Mikkonen crossed the line with a time of 24:34.2 and was just a couple of minutes off the pace of Scott Patterson who won the event with a time of 22:12.2 Dan Wood followed Mikkonen in 47th place with a time of 26:01.8 and Seth Mares landed in 54th position with a time of 27:07.3.
"I thought Tomi (Mikkonen) opened his season pretty well today and had a solid effort against some top NCAA skiers," Michigan Tech Head Coach Joe Haggenmiller said. "I also though Dan (Wood) was battling pretty hard today and had a decent race. We'll be heading back to Houghton tomorrow and will get ready for our next competitions at the UP Dual December 3rd and 4th."
Michigan Tech will be back in action next Saturday and Sunday at the UP Dual, the opening weekend for collegiate racing in the UP. Format and location (MTU or NMU) depend on conditions. Planned are 5K and 10K freestyle races on Saturday, with 10K and 15K classical races on Sunday. Think snow!