The Gustavus men’s and women’s nordic skiing teams ended their 2011-12 campaigns at the NCAA Central Region Skiing Championships on Feb. 17-18 in Ishpeming, Mich. The women’s squad took fifth with 112 points and the men placed sixth with 99 points.
Northern Michigan University claimed both the men’s and women’s Central Region titles with 170 and 172 points, respectively. The University of Alaska-Fairbanks took silver in both competitions with the men collecting 147 points and the women 149. Michigan Tech University rounded out the top three for the men (138 points) and women (143 points).
In Friday’s 5K freestyle interval start for the women, Erica Hett paced the Gusties with a 22nd place finish in 16:27.90. Marian Lund finished in 16:36.60 for 26th and Danielle Burgmeier took 34th in 16:56.80. In the men’s 10K freestyle, Anders Bowman and Zach Wagner were Gustavus’ top skiers. Bowman took 36th in 28:16.20 and Wagner 37th in 28:27.80. Josh Blankenship and Jon Kasprisin were not far behind in 39th (28:43.90) and 40th (28:54.30), respectively.
Hett was once again the leader of the women’s Gustie pack in Saturday’s 10K Classic with a 20th place finish in 34:36.6. Lund garnered 26th in 35:27.5 and Burgmeier 33rd in 36:43.9. Not much changed for the Gustie men as Bowman led the way in the 15K freestyle with a 20th place finish in 43:05.7. Wagner placed 37th in 45:23.1, while Kasprisin edged Blankenship one after the other – Kasprisin 39th (45:52.0), Blankenship 40th (46:28.6).
“Anders Bowman and Erica Hett were the first skiers on both days,” head coach Jed Friedrich acknowledged. “Zach Wagner and Jon Kasprisin raced really well as to round out our scorers. Josh Blankenship had a really strong weekend and we Iook forward to what he can do over the next three years. The women skied really well by having one of their best regional finishes in the past couple of years. I am really proud of how our women pulled together and skied this year.”