Grand Rapids, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s and women’s nordic skiing teams competed in the final day of the two-day CCSA Championships on Sunday afternoon. On the women’s side, the Gusties finished in a tie for fifth place with UW-Green Bay after tallying 40 total team points. For the men, Gustavus finished sixth with a final score of 35 team points. Alaska Fairbanks won the women’s weekend competition with 75 total points while Northern Michigan finished first in the team standings for the men with a total of 76 points.
On the women’s side, the Gusties competed in a 15 km Freestyle race in a field of eight teams. Erica Hett (Sr., Burnsville, Minn.) led the way for the Gustie women for the second straight day. The senior registered a ninth-place finish in a time of 50:15.5. Marian Lund (Jr., Duluth, Minn.) followed Hett in 24th place with a final time of 53:35.5. Mata Agre (Fy., Corcoran, Minn.) rounded out the Gustavus top three with a 33rd place rank after crossing the finish line in 56:23.3.
“Today was a solid day for us,” remarked head coach Jed Friedrich. “The women skied better than yesterday, which was encouraging. Erica led us and skied really well. It was probably her best freestyle race of her college career which is a good sign heading into next weekend’s regionals. We were in a tight battle with UW-Green Bay, who we ended up tying on the weekend, so it was a fun day.”
For the men, Gustavus was one of seven teams competing in the 20 km Freestyle race. The Gusties were led by Josh Blankenship (So., Maple Grove, Minn.), who finished 21st with a final time of 1:00:07.9. Tyler Gustafson (So., Grand Rapids, Minn.) was the second Gustavus skier to cross the finish line. Gustafson finished in 33rd place in 1:02:15.3. Tony Squillace (Jr., Duluth, Minn.) followed directly behind Gustafson in 34th place with a time of 1:02:37.3.
“Josh bounced back from yesterday’s race and skied to a solid 21st place for the men,” added Friedrich. “It was a very challenging course with grueling uphills and some very technical downhills. We were a little tired today, so it was a great learning experience for them since our men’s team is so young. Tyler also had a great race on his home course in Grand Rapids.”
Both the men’s and women’s teams will be in action next weekend when they travel to Houghton, Mich. for the NCAA Regional Qualifier on Saturday, Feb. 23rd and Sunday, Feb. 24th.