By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)
HOUGHTON, Mich. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay men's and women's Nordic skiing teams wrapped up the 2012-13 campaign over the weekend with a number of strong finishes at the NCAA Central Region Championships. The women's squad took fourth place out of eight in the team standings, while the men were fifth out of seven schools.
Men's sophomore Matt Nichols (Wausau, Wis.) turned in his best performance of the year with a fifth-place showing in Sunday's freestyle race, finishing the 15-kilometer course in 40:42.1. Nichols was 30th in Saturday's 10K classic event (34:38.9), finishing five spots behind teammate Eddie Gurney (Brookfield, Wis.) (33:58.1).
Nichols narrowly missed qualifying for the 2013 NCAA Championships in Vermont, ending the year ranked 12th in the Central Region's point totals. The top seven men qualified for the NCAA meet.
Sophomores Kailey Mucha (Soldotna, Alaska) and Hanne Guthrie (Chanhassen, Minn.) paced the Phoenix on the women's side, as both earned top-20 finishes in the classic and freestyle events. Mucha, who was recently named to the All-CCSA Second Team, placed 11th in Sunday's 10K freestyle in 31:46.4, while Guthrie was just one spot back in 12th (31:56.1). Guthrie had the top finish in the classic, placing 18th in 19:13.4, followed closely by Mucha in 19th (19:20.8).
Mucha ended the year ranked 15th in the Central Region, missing out on the six women's qualifying spots. Despite not having an NCAA qualifier, first-year head coach Steve Teclaw certainly looks at this season as a success.
"Going into this job, and this first season, we knew we had a lot of work to do to get this team centered and back on track to be racing seriously again," Teclaw said. "I could not have asked for anything more out of this season or this team. They are an extraordinary group of smart and talented young athletes and (assistant coach) Tim Cook and I look forward to working with them next season and many more after that."
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