Michigan Tech Cross Country Skiing starts well at U.S. Championships

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HOUGHTON, Mi. The Michigan Tech Nordic Ski team started off the 2020 L.L. Bean U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships with a bang as Amanda Kautzer and Sarah Goble finished the first day of the week-long competition in the semifinal of the Women's Freestyle Sprint.

A senior from Plymouth, Minnesota, Kautzer finished seventh overall in the senior competition with a time of 3:39.62. Her time puts her as the fifth-best American skier on the day and the second-best under-23 athlete in the competition.

Goble, a senior from Harbor Springs, Michigan, finished with the 12th-best time in the semifinal as she crossed the finish line in a time of 3:51.27. She finished the day as the seventh-best American in the event and the third-ranked U-23 skier in the Freestyle Skate.

Henriette Semb and Oda Hovland also put in solid performances in the first day of the Championships. Semb finished with the sixth-fastest time in the qualifier with a time of 3:52.24, and she earned the 16th-best time in the quarterfinals as she clocked in at 3:52.24. Meanwhile, Hovland placed 29th in the qualifiers in a time of 3:57.26, and took 30th in the quarterfinals as she crossed the finish line at 3:48.72.

Anabel Needham and Adam Witkowski represented the Huskies well in the Junior division races. A freshman from Victor, New York, Witkowski qualified for the semifinal in a time 3:17.33, the fastest time in his quarterfinal heat and the second-best time in the quarterfinals. In the semifinal heat, Witkowski crossed the line third with a time of 3:14.51, narrowly missing out on advancing to the final. In the women's race, Needham, a first-year skier from Houghton, Michigan, finished first in her heat with a time of 3:58.74 before clocking in at 3:53.83 for the third-best time in her heat and the 13th-best time overall.

"It was an outstanding first day for our skiers," said head coach Tom Smith. "We're all fired up from the performances today, and we're ready to get back out on the course and compete going forward."

Tech is back in action again on Friday (Jan. 3) when they compete in the Freestyle Individual Start in the second day of the 2020 L.L. Bean U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships. The day's events begin at 9:30 a.m. with the women's 10K freestyle.