The men’s and women’s nordic ski teams turned in a set of solid performances at the Mayor’s Challenge SuperTour event being held this weekend at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis, Minn. Competing in the freestyle event on Saturday afternoon, the Gustie women placed sixth amongst the nine Central Collegiate Ski Association teams at the event while the men placed seventh.
The event serves as an NCAA Qualifier for Central Collegiate Ski Association (CCSA) schools, but is also open to high school and citizen skiers as a Junior National Qualifier. The meet is also a part of the United States Skiing Association’s SuperTour, which serves as the racing circuit for top North American athletes who race for prize money and national rankings. These factors ensured that the Gusties would receive a tough level of competition to test themselves as they approach the end of their season in the coming weeks.
Erica Hett and Marian Lund paced the women in the 5k freestyle, with Hett finishing 16th in a time of 15:35.2, while Lund finished right behind her in 17th with a time of 15:36.7. Cassandra Brady captured 33rd place amongst CCSA skiers with a time of 17:02.8, and Meredith Bache-Wiig placed 36th to round out the Gustie skiers placing in the top 40.
“Our women skied really well,” said head coach Jed Friedrich. “Erica and Marian are skiing well and getting faster. They were only a second and a half apart from each other in today’s race.”
Anders Bowman led the men with a 19th place finish amongst CCSA competitors in the 10k freestyle, finishing with a time of 26:32.4. Gabe Hanson placed 32nd in the event with a time of 27:32.5, while Zach Wagner finished in 37th place in a time of 28:16.5, and Peter Larsen finished in 38th place with a time of 28:34.0. The men are without standout skier Jens Brabbit for the weekend due to illness.
“Jens came down with a cold, so I’m sitting him out this weekend. It’s far more important for him to recover and come back strong for the final three weekends,” said Friedrich. “We obviously noticed his absence in the team standings, but I think the rest of our guys can pull together a strong day in the classic tomorrow and might bridge the gap on some teams.”
The Gusties will wrap up their skiing at the Mayor’s Challenge with the Classic races on Sunday morning.