Needham wins classic mass start, Huskies earn combined team win
DULUTH, Minn. — The Michigan Tech Nordic Ski team earned its third combined team win of the season, highlighted by Anabel Needham’s classic mass start win at the GANC CCSA Invite in Duluth, Minnesota, on Feb. 4-5.
“It was awesome for the team to get another combined win this weekend,” head coach Tom Monahan Smith said. “We really had to earn it this week and we are super proud of our student-athletes and their efforts. The CCSA is only getting stronger which is a really fun aspect for our region and these weekends are only getting more competitive.”
It only took Houghton native Anabel Needham her third crack at the 20km classic mass start to earn her first victory as she finished over sixteen seconds ahead of the runner-up (1:10.02.8).
Additionally, the Huskies showcased two other top-10 performances as junior Olivia Laven (1:11:54.1) and freshman Cat Stow (1:12:16.4) finished sixth and eighth, respectively.
“Anabel had an amazing race and finished the last lap really well, we’re very excited for how she competed on Sunday after the past few weeks,” Monahan Smith mentioned. “Olivia also had another strong result on the weekend in the mass start winning her group. Cat had a really exciting effort for being a first year, she raced really confidently in a long race.”
The men’s 20km also showcased some impressive racing from the Huskies.
Junior Skylar Patten, following a victory in Saturday’s 10km freestyle interval start, earned the runner-up finish in Sunday’s 20km classic mass start (1:00:01.3). His time was just four seconds behind Northern Michigan’s Kristoffer Alm Karsrud.
In total, the Huskies stacked up six within the top-10. Following Patten’s silver performance, Tech went five through eight with Henry Snider (fifth-place), Adam Witkowski (sixth-place), Colin Freed (seventh-place) and Tryg Solberg (eighth-place).
Freshman Wes Campbell rounded out the top-10 with a strong push to the finish line to take 10th place less than a second ahead of College of St. Scholastica’s Sumner Cotton.
The men of Michigan Tech impressed in Saturday’s 10km freestyle interval start, claiming the top-three spots.
Skylar Patten cruised to the finish in a time of 26:04.8, fifteen seconds ahead of teammate Witkowski, who held the second position for the entirety of the race. Freed rounded out the podium, moving up from fifth-place to third-place after the first marker at 2.5km.
Tryg Solberg was the fourth finisher for the Huskies, climbing two spots to take seventh overall (27:10.05). Jasper Johnston finished just outside of the top-10, being edged out by a tenth of a second.
“It was really special and we haven’t done that in the last half decade and it was sweet to see them do it in such a dominating fashion,” said Monahan Smith on the 1-2-3 sweep in the men’s classic mass start.
Stow highlighted the first race of the event, taking fourth overall in the women’s 5km freestyle interval start on Saturday morning. Olivia Laven was seven seconds behind Stow to take sixth overall in a time of 15:27.5.
Henriette Semb was the third Husky through the finish line in 11th place.
“Cat had a really awesome race to lead the charge for the women’s team in fourth with Olivia getting fifth,” Monahan Smith added.
The Huskies return to action on Feb. 18-19 for the CCSA Conference Championships/Wirth SuperTour in Minneapolis, Minnesota.