The Gustavus Adolphus Nordic ski team will open its season this weekend at Junior Olympic Qualifying races in Dresser, Wis. Saturday’s action will feature a 1-kilometer freestyle sprint race, while Sunday’s races will highlight a 1-kilometer classic sprint race.
Gustavus starts the season with numerous new faces on a squad that finished sixth at the Central Collegiate Ski Association (CCSA) Regional Championships a year ago. Coach Jed Friedrich is extremely optimistic about the outlook for the season as the squad has doubled in size from last season. “A full roster will help the team improve its competition against other teams in the region and hopefully allow us to finish fourth at the Central Region Championships,” noted Friedrich. Senior Kevin Patzoldt (Grand Rapids, Minn./Grand Rapids), junior Eli Anoszko (Dousman, Wis./Kettle Moraine), and sophomore Michael Paulson (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson) return as the remaining members from last year’s team and will be joined by eight first-year skiers.
Patzoldt, who spent a month in Europe last year competing in Biathlon World Cup events, was the top Gustavus finisher at the CCSA Regional Championships as he placed 19th in the freestyle race and 24th in the classic race. Friedrich says this year Patzoldt will be be focusing on Nordic skiing this year, which will improve his chances of qualifying for the NCAA Championships. Anoszko placed 36th in the freestyle race and 46th in the classic race at the regional championships to finish 35th on the CCSA/NCAA Qualification Points List. Paulson will join the team in January after he completes the semester abroad as a 36th place finisher on the final points list.
First-year newcomers to the squad include Jens Brabbit (Winona, Minn./Winona Cotter), Andrew Tilman (St. Louis Park, Minn./St. Louis Park), and several skiers who ran cross country this fall. Brabbit and Tilman are both All-State performers at the high school level and are three-time Junior National qualifiers. Friedrich expects both athletes to compete with Patzoldt and Anoszko for the top three scores in team competition.
After this meet, the Gusties will be off until Jan. 1-6 when they participate in the United States Cross Country Skiing Championship at the Michigan Tech Nordic Training Center in Houghton, Mich.