Gustavus sophomore Jens Brabbit recorded an impressive 54th place finish in the 10k freestyle race (27:41) at the U.S. National Cross Country Skiing Championships being held in Anchorage, Alaska. In a field that contained nearly all of the finest amateur skiers in the U.S., Brabbit’s finish was the second highest among skiers from the Central Region to cross the finish line and the fifth highest among Division III competitors. The Championships, which were scheduled to begin on Saturday and end on Wednesday, were shortened due to severely cold weather in Alaska. Rules stipulate that racing cannot take place when the temperature is below -4 fahrenheit, which forced the cancellation of racing every day but Monday, January 5.
Coach Jed Friedrich stated, “Placing 54th at the US National Championships is pretty impressive considering the very best skiers in the country are competing for spots for this year’s World Championships, Junior World Championships, and even next year’s Olympics. In addition , placing second among racers in the Central Collegiate Ski Association (CCSA) makes Jens a very legitimate contender for the NCAA Championships in Rumford, ME.”
Three other Gusties raced with Brabbit at the championships and all performed very well. Andrew Poffenberg placed 158th overall 31:28) and 27th among Central Region skiers, Logan Smestad placed 183rd overall (32:59) and 31st among Central Region skiers, while Andrew Tilman placed 191st overall (33:34) and 33rd among CCSA skiers.
The Gusties will now have a two-week break before competing again at the second NCAA Qualifier event , which will take place in Coleraine, Minn. on January 24-25.