Michigan Tech names cross country skiing recruits

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HOUGHTON, Mi. Michigan Tech Nordic ski coaches Tom and Kristen Monahan Smith are adding three women and two men to the Huskies for the 2020-21 season. The incoming class is represented by student-athletes from Wisconsin, Utah, Sweden, Minnesota, and Finland.

"Our incoming class will replace two women and one man that graduated from our team this spring," Monahan Smith said. "We believe our increased team size, with the addition of these new top national and international recruits, will allow us to continue to build upon the past successes our team and allow us to have an even stronger overall team depth for our 2020-21 campaign!

"The 2019-20 season was the most successful season in the history of our Nordic Huskies program! We take the utmost pride in the incredible success our team achieved both academically and athletically. We had the most USCSCA All-Academic honorees amongst all NCAA Nordic programs D1, D2 & D3, and for the first time ever qualified a full team of student-athletes from both squads to the 2020 NCAA Skiing Championships!"

The 2020-21 Nordic Ski Team rosters will be represented by nine women and thirteen men.

Johanna Craig
Hometown: Tomahawk, Wisconsin
High School: Lakeland Union High School
Club: Lakeland Nordic Ski Team

Johanna Craig had a breakthrough senior season in 2019-20 highlighted with All-American honors at the 2020 U.S. Junior National Championships after placing second in the classic 5km and 10th place in the skate sprint. Her high school ski career is also highlighted by her achievements as 2020 Wisconsin Nordic Ski League State Champion as an individual and with her team, and two-time winner of the Kortelopet Classic in 2020 and 2019. Johanna is an all-around amazing athlete, having also claimed honors as the State Champion in high school mountain biking! We are thrilled to have the strongest regional recruit joining our team!

Skylar Patten
Hometown: Park City, Utah
High School: Park City High School
Club: Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation

Skylar Patten had an absolutely solid competition season in 2019-20 as a postgraduate athlete with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. His 2019-20 ski season was highlighted with a fourth-place overall finish in the Boulder Mountain Tour! Skylar also skied to ninth-place U20 finishes in both the skate 15km and classic 10km races at the 2020 U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships! Skylar is a two time All-American, having finished third in the classic 5km and seventh in the skate 5km at the 2017 U.S. Junior National Championships. We are confident the commitment and success Skylar has shown to his ski racing goals will transfer to his success as a student-athlete with our collegiate team!

Olivia Laven
Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden
High School: Täby Ensklida Gymnasium
Club: Täby IS Skidor

Olivia Laven is a stellar student and athlete that we know will continue to excel with our Nordic Huskies! Olivia had a 12th place U18 finish in the 5km skate at Swedish National Junior Championships. She earned an eighth-place U20 finish in the 30km skate in Bruksvallarna, 2019, and fifth-place U20 in the 10km skate in Idre this past season. We know Olivia will excel not just as an athlete with us but also as a student as she comes in with a 3.92 cumulative GPA and 1340 SAT!

Henry Snider
Hometown: Saint Paul, Minnesota
High School: Mounds Park Academy
Club: Endurance United

Henry Snider is the top recruit from the state of Minnesota, having won the individual title at the 2020 Minnesota State High School Nordic Championship. Henry also proved he is ready to compete amongst the collegiate ranks, having achieved 12th place overall amongst both the CCSA and Midwest juniors in the Mt. Itasca skate 10km race. He also won the Midwest junior event the same weekend in the classic 10km race. Henry achieved 12th place honors at both the 2019 and 2020 U.S. Junior National Championships. He is also an incredibly strong cross country runner having earned top 10 state high school finishes in both the 2018 and 2019 state meets and is excited to be a dual-sport student-athlete with the Huskies in Nordic and cross country.

Nea Katajala
Hometown: Lappeenranta, Finland
Exchange University: Lappeenranta University of Technology
Club: Espoon Hiihtoseura

Nea Katajala comes to Tech as an exchange student-athlete from Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland. Nea has been one of the top skiers in Finland throughout her athletic career. This past season Nea finished 18th overall in the classic 10km at the 2020 Finnish National Championships. She was a member of the Finnish National Junior Team in both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. She won the 2013 Finnish National Junior Championship in the classic sprint and was a two-time top 30 finisher at both the 2014 and 2015 World Junior Championships. Nea will no doubt add highly impactful competitive experience and success to our team for our 2020-21 season!