After the first day of competition at the Central Collegiate Ski Association’s Hilltop Invitational, the Gustavus men’s and women’s nordic ski teams have both provided promising races in spite of the stiff level of competition. The men’s team skied its way to a fifth place finish in the 10K Freestyle and the women placed sixth in the 5K Freestyle.
Senior Jens Brabbit turned in the top performance of the day for the Gusties with a fourth place finish in the men’s 10K Freestyle race. Brabbit’s time of 31:22.7 secured him the top time by a Minnesota skier and netted him 24 points in the season-long tally towards qualification for the NCAA Tournament to be held in March.
Also scoring for the men’s team were Anders Bowman with a 25th place finish in a time of 34:06.7 and Andrew Poffenberger with a 27th place finish in a time of 34:17.5. The two Gustie skiers scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, en route to helping the team to a fifth place team finish in the event as a result of a lost tiebreaker to U-W Green Bay.
“Jens continues to ski well, but we’re still preparing for his best results in Feb/March,” said head coach Jed Friedrich. “Anders skied well and Andrew also had a very strong race to score points for our team as our third skier. He looked really sharp in a workout earlier this week, so it made perfect sense that he moved into that position.”
Sophomore Erica Hett led the Gustie women with a 12th place finish in the women’s 5K Freestyle that scored her 17 points. Hett finished in 19:27.8, which proved to be the fourth-fastest time by a female Minnesota skier in the event.
Marian Lund and Cassandra Brady also contributed to the Gusties’ sixth place team effort. Lund finished with a time of 19:49.8 which was good for 16th place and 15 points, while Brady crossed the finish line in 21:02.2 to finish 31st with seven points.
“Erica and Marian both had very strong races and Cassandra Brady raced well with her strong technique to round out the scoring for the team,” said Friedrich.