2023 U.S Cross Country Ski National Championships begin in Houghton

Published: Jan. 2, 2023 at 5:57 PM EST
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - Under grey skies and little wind, the 2023 U.S. Cross Country Ski National Championships started on Monday. It is being hosted by Michigan Tech University (MTU) on its ski trails for the sixth time in its history.

“Last time we hosted was in 2020,” said Senior Associate Athletic Director and Co-race Director Joel Isaacson. “COVID canceled the 2021 championship, and then prior to that was 2015, 2016, and then 05 and 06.”

Throughout the week over 470 athletes from across the country will be racing for the best time in several races. This is the highest number to participate in the championships hosted by MTU.

“You’ve got multiple disciplines in cross-country skiing,” continued Isaacson. “Either you have the classic skiing or the freestyle, and then we also have sprint races, and then we have interval races, and then we have a mass-start race.”

The championships started off with the women’s and men’s 10 km freestyle interval start. One of these racers was MTU Senior and Women’s Nordic Ski Team member Anabel Needham, who was in 26th place in the freestyle out of over 180 racers.

She also swept the podium with her teammates in the Central Collegiate Ski Association (CCSA) division of racers.

“I’ve raced this course many times, it’s my home course, and I grew up skiing here,” said Needham. “So, I know how much it hurts, and it hurt today. But it was really fun skiing with so many of the top athletes in the country, and that was a really great experience. I dug into the pain cave today, but it was worth it.”

MTU would like to thank all those who made it possible to host the championship.

“I truly want to thank the volunteers that make this event run, and then also our sponsors,” added Isaacson. “Without the Hampton Inn & Suites and our other sponsors, we would not be able to host this event, and I think those are critical components that we need to be able to host a championship in our area.”

According to Isaacson, volunteers are still welcome to sign up throughout the championship. To check out the championships schedule or to sign up, you can check out its page by clicking here.