Hett, Baanerud Lead Wildcats at Birkie

Hett, Baanerud Lead Wildcats at Birkie

CABLE, Wis.—Northern Michigan University Nordic Skiing competed in classic and freestyle events over the weekend at the Birkie CCSA and Junior Cup Races in Cable, Wisconsin. It was the first competition for the Wildcats after nearly two weeks of after the U.S. Nationals.

Five NMU women's skiers placed in the top-10 of Saturday's five-kilometer classic race, including four in the top-six in the field of over 150 athletes. Senior Vivian Hett (Burnsville, Minnesota) was the top finisher for the Wildcats placing third with a time of 15 minutes, 4.90 seconds.

Also placing in the top-five were senior Kristen Bourne (Lake Elmo, Minnesota) and sophomore Anikken Gjerde-Alnaes (Frogner/Akershus, Norway) in fourth and fifth, respectively. Bourne crossed the finish line in 15:07.10, while Gjerde-Alnaes finished in 15:12.60.

Rounding out the top-10 finishers for NMU were junior Sarah Bezdicek (Osseo, Minnesota) in sixth and freshman Julie Ensrud (Saltnes, Norway) in ninth.

In the 10-kilometer men's classic race, freshman Kjetil Baanerud (Oslo, Norway) took the top spot in the field of over 150 athletes. His time of 27:27.20 defeated the field by more than 20 seconds. Sophomore Mathias Aas-Rolid (Redalen, Norway) turned in a top-three performance when he crossed the finish line in 27:50.40.

Not for behind was sophomore Lars Soensterud (Oslo, Norway) who turned in a top-five finish with his time of 27:51.50, finishing fourth. Junior Leo Hipp (Forest Lake, Minnesota) and freshman Daniel Streinz (Hersey, Maine) each finished in the top-10, placing eighth and 10th, respectively.

Moving to the freestyle races on Sunday, Hett again led the women in the 10-kilometer race. Her time of 26:10.40 was good enough for second place, while Gjerde-Alnaes and Ensrud finished third and fourth.

The Wildcats placed five in the top-10 for the second consecutive day with Bezdicek and Bourne finishing sixth and ninth, respectively, in the field of 100 skiers.

Baanerud was the top-finisher for the men on Sunday also with a runner-up performance, finishing in 34:25.90 NMU took four of five spots between seventh and 11th, with Soensterud leading that pack. He placed 7th with a time of 24:50.80.

Streinz and Aas-Rolid were next placing eighth and ninth, respectively, with their times being just six seconds apart. Hipp just missed on the top-10 with an 11th-place finish.

NMU will compete again next Saturday and Sunday when they compete in the Minnesota-Duluth CCSA race. Classic races will be held on Saturday with freestyle events to follow on Sunday.