ISHPEMING, Mich. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay men's and women's Nordic skiing teams wrapped up their 2011-12 campaigns on Saturday with the classic races at the NCAA Central Region Skiing Championships at the Al Quaal Ski Trails in Ishpeming, Mich.
Despite a tough waxing situation, which led to below average ski conditions, several Phoenix skiers were able to turn in strong performances in their final races of the season.
On the men's side, senior Matt Nistler (Bemidji, Minn.) closed out his Green Bay career by placing 24th in the 15K mass start event, crossing the finish line in 43:18.4. Matt Nichols (Wausau, Wis.), a 17-year-old freshman, and sophomore Eddie Gurney (Brookfield, Wis.) also turned in top-30 finishes on Saturday, as Nichols placed 28th (43:57.5) and Gurney placed 29th (44:11.6).
The Phoenix women placed five skiers in the top-40 in the 10K classic race, led by freshman Hanne Guthrie (Chanhassen, Minn.), who placed 30th with a time of 36:09.7. Next to finish for Green Bay was sophomore Joelle Wightman (West Allis, Wis.), who was 33rd in 37:49.7. Freshmen Krista White (Waukesha, Wis.) (35th) and Kaila Carpenter (Duluth, Minn.) (37th) and sophomore Maria Tinebra (Burnsville, Minn.) (40th) rounded out the top-40 on Saturday.
At the end of the two-day event, the Phoenix men finished fifth out of eight schools with 48 total points, while the women placed seventh with 33. Northern Michigan took the team titles in both the men's and women's competitions, tallying 85 and 87 points, respectively.
For results from Friday's freestyle races, click here.
After a season filled with strong performances by the young men's and women's squads, first-year head coach Ken Statz is optimistic about the future of both teams.
"Stay tuned for good things to come on our women's side in the next couple years," Statz said. "Between the recruits coming in and the already very fast women we have, things are looking good for the future."
"On the men's side, four of our top five skiers are very young and looking extremely positive for next season. In addition, Matt Nichols at 17 years old, is proving he will be an NCAA contender in the upcoming years."
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