Tech skiers finish fourth

HOUGHTON -?The NCAA Central Region Championships, hosted by Michigan Tech, wrapped up on Sunday with the freestyle races. Alice Flanders led the Huskies for the second day in a row with a fifth-place finish in the women’s 10-kilometer. She qualified for the NCAA Skiing Championship, but the official announcement won’t be made until Feb. 25.

Sunday’s races wrapped up the collegiate season for most of the Huskies. The men finished third in the freestyle and fourth overall on the weekend. The women were fourth Sunday and fourth overall. Northern Michigan won both team titles.

“Alice has done the work to get to the NCAA Championships and had a great weekend,” Tech coach Joe Haggenmiller said. “We’re proud of how she’s done this season, and I’m sure she’ll represent Michigan Tech very well out in Utah.

“At times she dictated the pace of the race today. She just skied so well all weekend after feeling a little under the weather earlier in the week.”

Flanders crossed the line in 33:19. Lynn Duijndam (16th/35:05.8) and Deedra Irwin (18th/35:22.9) were also in the top 20, scoring for Tech.

Matt Dugan led the men’s team in his final race for the Huskies, finishing the 15K course in ninth with a time of 42:04.3. Kyle Hanson was one spot and 13 seconds back. Matt Wong (43:36.1), also skiing in his final race, wrapped up scoring for Tech.

“It was really exciting to see Kyle and Matt come out with good days and sneak into the top 10 and get some all-region honors,” added Haggenmiller. “For Matt, it was the last race of his college career, and it was good for him to go out on a high note.”

Saturday, Flanders and Ulrika Axelsson had top 10 finishes in the women’s 5-kilometer classic race to lead the Huskies.

“We battled hard and gave it everything we had today,” Haggenmiller said. “The conditions were fabulous. It was a bit cold but it makes for very fair racing.”

Flanders battled through single-digit temperatures to place eighth with a time of 18:02.8. Axelsson (18:36.6) was two spots back in 10th.

“I was really happy with the way Alice raced today,” added Haggenmiller. “Ulrika was also very strong today, and I’m happy for her as she continues to adjust to collegiate skiing.”

Also scoring for the women’s team was Deedra Irwin (18:49) in 15th place. The women were fourth in team scoring behind Northern Michigan, St. Scholastica and Alaska.

The men’s team finished fourth out of seven teams behind Alaska, NMU and St. Scholastica.

Matt Wong led the Huskies in the men’s 10K race with an 11th-place finish in 31:51.2. Hanson (32:23.2) and Thomas Kendrick (32:32.4) also scored for Tech. Hanson was 15th and Kendrick was 19th.

Raphael Bechtiger (20th/32:34.6), Matt Dugan (22nd/32:56), Jay Woodbeck (25th/33:18.6) and David Joda (35th/33:51.1) also skied for Tech.