Huskies win NCAA Central Region Championship

Great weekend in Minnesota for Tech.
Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 12:08 AM EST
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DULUTH, Minn. (WLUC) - The Michigan Tech Nordic ski teams combined to win the NCAA Central Region Ski Championship on Sunday at the Grand Avenue Nordic Center. The women’s team placed first, the men second, and the Huskies tied Northern Michigan for the combined team title. The Huskies had a pair of Regional Champions and 15 All-Region performances with top 10 results.

“Both teams really came out to ski today, and it was inspirational,” Tech coach Tom Monahan Smith said. “It was a historic result for the program and an insanely awesome comeback for the team after trailing NMU by seven points to begin the day.”

Nea Katajala was the Central Region Champion in the 5K classic Saturday, winning for the second straight week. She crossed the line in 12:13.0, over 30 seconds in front of teammate Henriette Semb who placed second. Marie Sølverud Wangen (5th), and Oda Hovland (8th) also earned All-Region honors in the individual start race.

Skylar Patten was back on the podium in the 10K classic with a third-place finish. Henry Snider placed fifth while Colin Freed (12th), Cedric Keller (12th), Adam Witkowski (16th), Jasper Johnston (18th), and Parker Courte-Rathwell (19th) were also in the top 20.

Henriette Semb was the Central Region Champion in the 15K mass start skate on Sunday with a photo finish over Hilde Eide from NMU. Nea Katajala was two seconds back in third-place with Olivia Laven placing fourth. Marie Sølverud Wangen (7th) and Oda Hovland (10th) were also in the top 10.

Skylar Patten was less than a second from first in the 20K mass start skate on Sunday, finishing on the podium for the fourth straight race and the sixth time in the last four weekends. Colin Freed was eight-tenths of a second off the podium in fourth. Tryg Solberg (6th) and Henry Snider (10th) were also All-Region. Félix Cottet-Puinel and Parker Courte-Rathwell finished 13th and 14th.

“We are so proud and inspired with what this team and these athletes have achieved this season,” Monahan Smith added. “We wanted to be confident that we would produce our best results of the season this weekend, and I believe that we did. This team continues to trend upwards and get better and better every race.

“We’ve never had a team that works so well together, that’s so supportive of each other, and truly helps lift each other up. I think that is the key to why they’ve skied so well this year.”

The Huskies now turn their focus to the NCAA Championships on March 9 and 11 at Soldier Hollow, Utah. Anabel NeedhamHenriette SembNea KatajalaSkylar PattenColin Freed, and Henry Snider will represent the Black and Gold. Félix Cottet-Puinel and Olivia Laven will be alternates.

Seniors Mary LyonOda Hovland, and Mark Ousdigian wrapped up their Michigan Tech Nordic ski careers on Sunday.

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