SOLDIER HOLLOW, Utah — The Michigan Tech men's and women's Nordic ski teams wrapped up competition at the US Nationals on Tuesday (Jan. 10). The men competed in a 30-kilometer classic race, while the women skied in a 20K.
Sonja Hedblom took the lead for the women's team, placing 54th overall clocking in at a time of 1:15:07. Following Sonja, were Carolyn Lucca (64th, 1:18:08) and Ruth Oppliger (74th, 1:27:21). The women's top skier was Chelsea Holmes of APU Nordic Ski Center with an impressive time of 1:01:33.
Head Coach Joe Haggenmiller said, "It was a very challenging day for the skiers, coaching staff and the organization. Tommy Mikkonen and Sonja Hedblom were our top skiers on the day and I think they both skied very well considering the conditions. Carolyn Lucca had a very respectable day. Both Carolyn and Sonja were very competitive, especially when looking at the college field."
The Huskies had two men finishers in the top 100. Tommy Mikkonen was Tech's best finisher for the men's team. Mikkonen turned in an overall time of 1:32:30, placing 55th overall, along with Daniel Wood ranked at 85th overall with a time of 1:45:04. Benjamin Lustgarten, of Craftsbury Green Racing Project took first place to win the championship in the men's classic distance with a time of 1:21:06. Tech's David Jaszczak also competed in the JR Nationals, men's 10km classic distance with a time of 37:35.
As far as the 2017 College Cup of the US Nationals, the Tech men took 6th overall with 261 total points for the two events. They were five points shy of 5th place, held by the University of Utah. The women's team held the 14th spot in in the cup with a total of 119 points.
"It is exciting to see our men come in 6th as a team against all of the best college programs in the country," said Haggenmiller. "This is a big accomplishment to begin our conference season. We were able to go to toe to toe with the strong Western programs and take some of them down. However, I don't think we were at our best this week, but we certainly have some positives to build on."
Gaspard Cuenot (6th, 36:53:9) and Tom Bye (23rd, 38:34:8) were among the top 25 for the men's 15k freestyle of the College Cup, and Tommy Mikkonen and Gaspard Cuenot finished respectively for the men's classic sprint. Mikkonen was 6th, with a time of 3:44.5 and Cuenot just seconds after in 7th with a time of 3:44:6. With a total of 380 points, Michigan Tech left Soldier Hollow with a 13th overall finish in the College Cup.
The Huskies will be back in action on January 21-22nd for the Telemark Central Super NCAA/JNQ Series in Cable, Wis.