The Gustavus women’s Nordic ski team saved its best performance of the season with a second place finish at the Central Collegiate Ski Association (CCSA) Regional Championships in Biwabik, Minn. on February 16-17. The Gusties earned 146 points for their highest finish ever at the regional championships. Northern Michigan captured the team title with 166 points, while the University of Alaska in Fairbanks compiled 130 points for third place.
Gustavus had three skiers finish in the top ten to earn second place in the freestyle team competition with 72 points behind Northern Michigan, which finished with 82. Laura Edlund (Sr., Forest Lake, Minn.) was the first Gustie skier to cross the finish line as she earned sixth place with a time of 16:18.1. Kathleen DeWahl (Sr., St. Paul, Minn.) and Kelly Chaudoin (Jr., Ely, Minn.) helped solidify their chances of landing spots in the NCAA Collegiate Skiing Championships with eighth (16:48.7) and tenth (17:04.0) place finishes, respectively. Sarah Willis (Sr., Willmar, Minn.) joined the other skiers in the top 15 at 13th place with a time of 17:14.9. Other Gustavus finishes included Kathryn Ladig (Jr., Bemidji, Minn.) at 32nd place in 18:19.1 and Erin Eppler (So., Salt Lake City, Utah) at 43rd place with a time of 18:51.2. Aurelia Korthauer of UAF won the 10K race in 15:55.0, eight seconds ahead of the next skier.
The Gusties also took second place in the 15K classic team competition with 74 points, which was ten points behind Northern Michigan. DeWahl and Edlund finished in the top five as DeWahl edged out Edlund in a sprint to the finish line for fourth place by :00.02 with a time of 34:05.2. Willis earned tenth place with a time of 35:09.5. Chaudoin was not far behind as she finished the race in 35:29.8 for 12th. Ladig and Eppler rounded out the Gustavus contingent with 21st (36:57.4) and 38th (38:40.8) place finishes, respectively.
Laura Edlund and Kathleen DeWahl, who were named to the All-CCSA second team, earned All-Region honors in both classic and freestyle races. Kelly Chaudoin earned All-Region honors in the freestyle race, while Sarah Willis was awarded All-Region in the classic race.
Gustavus will await the official release of the competitors invited to the NCAA Collegiate Skiing Championships held in Bozeman, Mont. on March 5-8 with hopes of being the first CCSA Division III institution to have three participants in Edlund, DeWahl, and Chaudoin. The only previous Gustie skier to qualify for the national championships was Chandra Daw in 2006.