Houghton, Mich. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s and women’s nordic skiing teams competed in the second day of the two-day NCAA Central Region Championships on Sunday afternoon in the freestyle race. The Gustie men finished fifth, while the women finished sixth. Following the weekend’s pair of races, both teams conclude their 2013-14 season.
The men finished the weekend fifth with 59 total team points, four points ahead of St. Olaf, who finished sixth with 55 points.
“I am really happy with how the men finished off their weekend by putting together two solid days of racing,” mentioned Head Coach Jed Friedrich. “Our goal was to finish fifth for the overall weekend and they did it. Throughout the season, they showed they could do it on one day, but this is the first time they put it together for a whole weekend. These guys stayed focused throughout the season and our training went according to plan. We wanted to be skiing at our best at the Regional and we did that.”
In Sunday’s race, Tyler Gustafson (Jr., Grand Rapids, Minn.) led the way for the men with a 13th place finish in a time of 43:27.2. Although the team’s season comes to a close this weekend, Gustafson’s will continue next weekend when he competes at the World Junior Biathlon Championships on Friday.
“I am so proud of Tyler and his breakout race today,” admitted Friedrich. “He has been extremely diligent with his training over the past three years.”
Following Gustafson was Josh Blankenship (Jr., Maple Grove, Minn.) in 22nd with a final time of 44:12.5. Scott Williams (Jr., Maple Grove, Minn.) was the third Gustie to cross the line in a time of 45:38.6 to finish in 30th place.
“I am also proud of the consistency shown by Scott Williams this year,” stated Coach Friedrich. “That guy has improved a lot from last year.”
On the women’s side, the Gusties finished sixth with a team point total of 53, eight points behind St. Olaf, who finished in fifth with 61 points. Gustavus held off UW-Green Bay to finish sixth. Green Bay accumulated 46 team points.
For the second day in a row, Marit Sonnesyn (So., Plymouth, Minn.) and Marian Lund (Sr., Duluth, Minn.) finished one after another. Sonnesyn crossed the line in 35:26.8 for 19th place, while Lund finished 20th in a time of 35:31.8. Rounding out Gustavus’s top three was Mata Agre (So., Corcoran, Minn.) in 29th with a time of 37:41.4.
“The women were really solid today, holding off Green Bay for the overall standings,” said Friedrich. “Marit and Marian skied the whole race together and pushed each other like they have many times this year. Marian trained hard this summer and did her best racing in her senior year. Marit is a star to watch in the future. Considering one year ago, she had back surgery and has come back so strong is amazing. She is an excellent trainer and could really take a big step forward next year. Mata had a strong race in the freestyle technique. She had a gutsy performance by holding off St. Olaf’s second skier and a couple other racers.”
“All in all, the whole weekend was really positive and makes me excited to get working on next season,” finished Friedrich.