After the points were tallied following the first two days of racing at the 2016 U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships, Northern Michigan University claimed top honors in the men’s, women’s and combined team competition. Overall individual winners Fredrik Schwencke and Vivian Hett also hail from NMU.
NMU dominated the combined team scores, accumulating 829 points over Dartmouth’s 755. University of Alaska Fairbanks claimed third (727). This is the second consecutive year NMU has won the overall College Cup title under head nordic coach Sten Fjeldheim.
The College Cup is determined based on results from the first two days of racing at U.S. Nationals, held this year in Houghton, Michigan at the Michigan Tech trails. The races included a 15-kilometer individual start classic race for the men and 10-kilometer classic race for the women, as well as 1.5- kilometer freestyle sprints. The top collegian in each event is awarded 72 points and subsequent points are awarded descending from 72 through the collegiate results. Only the top three skiers from each school are scored, so any subsequent team members are skipped when awarding points.
The NMU men’s team claimed the team title over Dartmouth and was led by Fredrik Schwencke, who also claimed Grand Champion honors as the top overall individual. Schwencke was the top collegian in the sprint race as he skied to fourth place overall. Schwencke also scored as the third collegian and 21st overall in the classic distance race. Gaspard Cuenot of Michigan Tech and Cully Brown of University of Vermont claimed second and third individual College Cup honors.
NMU skiers dominated the men’s 15k classic race as Adam Martin took third overall and Ian Torchia claimed seventh as the top two collegians. Krystof Kopal and Jake Brown were the eighth and tenth collegians in the sprint and contributed to NMU’s team score.
The NMU women also topped Dartmouth for the team title. The Wildcats were led by Vivian Hett who also claimed the Grand Champion individual title. Hett was the second collegian in both races, taking 13th overall in the distance race and 18th overall in the sprints. Alayna Sonnesyn of University of Vermont and Corey Stock of Dartmouth took second and third in the individual standings respectively.
In addition to Hett, NMU’s team score was augmented by strong performances from Sarah Bezdick, Sophie Schimple, and Lea Buenter. Bezdick claimed the top collegian in the sprint, taking 17th place overall. Schimpl was the third collegian in the sprint and fifth in the distance race. Buenter rounded out NMU’s scorers as the ninth collegian in the distance event.