Success on the Nordic ski slopes continues to produce post-season honors.
The Northern Michigan University Wildcats and Alaska Nanooks swept the NCAA Central Region awards as voted on by Central Collegiate Ski Association coaches at their annual meeting on May 27.
Lauded were Morgan Smyth of NMU as Central Region Women’s Skier of the Year; Marius Korthauer of Alaska (Fairbanks), male skier of the year; Sten Fjeldheim of NMU, women’s team Coach of the Year and Scott Jerome of Alaska, men’s team coach of the year.
Korthauer, of Bonndorf, Germany wrapped up a standout career by claiming the NCAA Championship in the 20-kilometer classic in March near Bozeman, Mont. The NCAA title was the first for the male Nanooks skiers and was Korthauer’s fifth podium finish at the NCAAs.
As for Smyth, despite a rollerskiing knee injury that slowed her training after the 2007 season, she took fifth in the 5K freestyle and 16th in the 10K classic at the 2008 NCAAs. A native of Vernon, Vt., and a member of the U.S. Ski Team’s â€œBâ€ squad, Smyth joined former NMU teammates Lindsey Weier and Lindsay Williams to sweep the NCAA podium in 2007.
Fjeldheim has coached 21st seasons for the Wildcats over two stints. He is a native of Norway who came to the U.S. in 1961 and received his U.S. citizenship in 1975. His NMU teams have produced 10 Olympians, five NCAA champions and more than 40 NCAA All-Americans. At the 2008 NCAAs, NMU finished third among 21 teams in a tally of the Nordic-only team standings.
Jerome is a former disciple of Fjeldheim who has now coached four seasons at Alaska and helped produce 15 All-American results. In 2008, the Nanooks qualified a full contingent of six skiers to NCAAs for the second straight season. Buoyed by All-American races from departing seniors Korthauer and Vahur Teppan, the Nanooks men were the fourth-scoring Nordic team and the squad as a whole placed seventh in the Nordic NCAA standings.