MIDWAY, Utah (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The 2013 Green Bay Nordic skiing season officially got underway on Wednesday as Phoenix sophomore Kailey Mucha (Soldotna, Alaska) participated in her opening race at US National Championships at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah.
Mucha, the lone Green Bay skier to make the trip, placed 52nd overall in the field of 152 racers in the 1.3 kilometer classic sprint qualifier on Wednesday, finishing in 3:43.89. The sophomore's time was 23 seconds off the winning pace, putting her 21st in her age class (U23).
"This was a solid finish for Kailey in a very competitive field," Green Bay head coach Steve Teclaw said. "What I'm impressed with is her standing when looking at the group of athletes within our conference. For a sprint at altitude, I'm very happy. I also want to thank the coaches and support personnel from Alaska Nordic Racing (ANR) for providing excellent ski service for Kailey while she is racing in Utah."
Mucha resumes competition at US Nationals on Friday with the 10K skate race. The event wraps up on Sunday. For complete results from the US Nationals, click here.
Several of Green Bay's juniors (19 and under) geared up for the 2013 season by competing at the Midwest Junior Olympic qualifier sprint races Dec. 15-16 in Wausau, Wis. The Phoenix skiers had a strong showing, turning in a number of impressive efforts and podium finishes despite warm, rainy weather conditions.
"Athletically I was very impressed with everyone's performance whether they qualified and moved on to subsequent heats or not," Teclaw said. "Everyone showed great improvements in technique and race time poise while on the course."
On the men's side, sophomore Matt Nichols (Wausau, Wis.) had a strong two days in his hometown, placing third in the sprint freestyle 'A' final on Saturday before returning to the podium with an exciting third-place finish in the classic 'A' final on Sunday. Nichols closed with an impressive kick at the finish line on Sunday and out-stretched Adam Martin for the third spot.
Men's freshman Kyle Marshall (Roseville, Minn.) also had a solid outing, taking the freestyle 'B' final and also placing fifth in the classic 'A' final. Marshall won his quarterfinal races in both events, and also placed second in his classic semifinal race.
"Marshall proved to me that he wants a top spot on Green Bay's travel squad," Teclaw said. "His performance was very impressive and I can't wait to see how his season rolls out in upcoming Super Tour and CCSA races."COMING UP NEXT
First-year head coach Steve Teclaw and his squads are next in action at the Central Super Tour races on Jan. 19-20 in St. Paul, Minn. Green Bay is also slated to compete at the St. Scholastica Invitational (Jan. 26-27) in Biwabik, Minn., the CCSA Championships (Feb. 2-3) in Marquette, Mich., and the Gustavus Adolphus Invitational (Feb. 16-17) in Coleraine, Minn. The 2013 NCAA Central Region Championships are set for Feb. 23-24 in Houghton, Mich.
"While assistant coach Tim Cook and I are excited about the early season successes, our mentality and approach to the race season has not changed," Teclaw said. "We need to continue to train smart and come into each weekend with quiet confidence. We know very well that our opponents are strong and established, but we are going to race our race and work to return the Phoenix to our winning tradition."
For the latest and most up-to-date information on Green Bay Athletics and Green Bay Nordic Skiing, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.