HOUGHTON, Mich. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay men's and women's Nordic skiing squads wrapped up a solid weekend at the Central Collegiate Ski Association (CCSA) Championships on Sunday at the Michigan Tech Trails in Houghton, Mich. The Phoenix men finished in fifth place at the annual conference meet, while the women's squad placed seventh.
In a change of format from last year's conference championships, this year's crowns were decided by taking the team scores from three events: the classic sprint from the Hilltop Invitational on Jan. 15, Saturday's distance classic races and Sunday's relays at the Michigan Tech Nordic Training Center.
The Phoenix men's A-squad turned in Green Bay's top performance on Sunday, earning a ninth-place finish in the 3 x 5K freestyle relay race. The trio of Anders Nyquist (Kenai, Alaska), Matt Nistler (Bemidji, Minn.) and Matt Nichols (Wausau, Wis.) combined to finish in 40:21.4, with Nistler posting the team's fastest time of 12:42.6 in the race's second leg.
In the women's 3 x 5K relay, the Green Bay team of Hanne Guthrie (Chanhassen, Minn.), Joelle Wightman (West Allis, Wis.) and Krista White (Waukesha, Wis.) raced to a 10th-place finish in 49:38.6. Wightman posted the A-team's fastest time in the second leg, cruising the 5K course in 15:54.3.
On Saturday the Phoenix skiers faced challenging course conditions, which included heavy snow and high winds during the classical races.
Pacing the Green Bay men in the 20K event was sophomore Eddie Gurney (Brookfield, Wis.), who placed 13th with a time of 1:05:46.9. Nichols was close behind in 17th (1:06:02.8), while Nistler placed 22nd (1:07:43.1) in the field of nearly 50 competitors.
Guthrie led the Phoenix women on Saturday, finishing the 15K classic competition in 1:02:10.4, good for 28th place. Freshman Kaila Carpenter (Duluth, Minn.) was the next Green Bay skier to cross the line, placing 34th in 1:05:37.8.
In the first of the three CCSA Championship events - the classic sprints at the Hilltop Invite on Jan. 15 in Coleraine, Minn. - Guthrie once again led the Phoenix women by placing 21st (4:35.1) in the 1.4K race. Nistler and Nichols paced the Green Bay men last month, finishing 28th (3:51.8) and 29th (3:52.1), respectively.
Alaska Fairbanks accumulated the most points in the men's competition, winning the CCSA title with a score of 248. Northern Michigan prevailed on the women's side, totaling 250 points.
For complete individual and team results from the 2012 CCSA Championships, click here.
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