Houghton, Mich. – The Gustavus men’s and women’s nordic skiing teams competed in day one of the NCAA Central Region Championships on Saturday morning. Both teams competed in races that featured the Classic technique. The women landed four skiers inside the top 30 while the men saw two in the top 40. No team scores were available.
The women got another strong performance from Erica Hett (Sr., Burnsville, Minn.). The senior led the charge once again with a 16th place finish in a time of 19:05.2. Marian Lund (Jr., Duluth, Minn.) followed in 22nd place after crossing the line in 20:10.9 and Mata Agre (Fy., Corcoran, Minn.) finished 25th with a final time of 20:36.1. Meredith Bache-Wiig (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.) was the fourth Gustie to cross the line inside the top 30 in 29th place with a time of 21:27.0.
“It was a challenging day in a number of ways,” stated head coach Jed Friedrich. “The conditions were variable throughout the day both when dealing with the weather and the course. However, the women probably benefited a little from those conditions because they did a good job of waxing this morning. Erica and Marian both skied well and Mata had one of her better races this year. A lot of teams are close, so it will be a fun day tomorrow.”
On the men’s side, Zach Wagner (Sr., Marquette, Mich.) paced the Gusties with a 32nd place finish. The senior finished in 34:42.1, and was three spots ahead of Tony Squillace (Jr., Duluth, Minn.). Squillace crossed the line in 35th place with a time of 35:17.8. Marcus Speca (Fy., Minnetonka, Minn.), Tyler Gustafson (So., Grand Rapids, Minn.), and Scott Williams (So., Maple Grove, Minn.) all finished within a minute of each other in 41st, 42nd, and 43rd, respectively.
“Conditions were just as challenging for the men, and it seemed to affect some more than others,” mentioned Friedrich. “Zach skied well with the conditions and his experience on this course really showed. He has raced on this course many times, whereas most of our guys have never skied here before. There will be some fire in a few of our guys going into tomorrow, so it will be fun to see how we respond.”
Both squads will be back in action tomorrow with the Freestyle race in Houghton, Mich. on day two of the NCAA Central Region Championships.