BOZEMAN, MT -- Two members of the men's Nordic ski teams took to the trails at the first day of NCAA championships on Wednesday. The championships, held in Bozeman, Montana, span Wednesday through Saturday.
For the Nordic squads, the 10 kilometer freestyle race was Wednesday at Bohart Ranch Cross Country Ski Center. Sunny skies and a challenging course made for a competitive day of racing.
Will Wicherski and Dimitri Luthi qualified and made the trip out west for the Ephs. The spotlight is nothing new for either racer—Luthi is skiing in his 4th NCAA championship while Wicherski recently returned from the World Junior Championships in Turkey.
Wicherski, a first-year from Boise, Idaho, got the better of his elder teammate Wednesday. He rounded the course in 27 minutes, 5 seconds to finish in 25th place. "It was a pretty hard course with some tough hills—a couple short and really steep and others that were more of a grind," Wicherski said. "It's a little different racing at altitude, too, because you have to know when to back off a little bit."
Luthi took 27:52 to finish 35th in the highly competitive field. Luthi, though, has his sights already set on Friday's classic race, as it is traditionally been his better discipline.
Erik Soderman of Northern Michigan University was the individual race winner in 25:20. Of the EISA skiers against whom Williams has raced all year, Dartmouth's Sam Tarling was the fastest, finishing third in 25:53.
The finishes earned Williams 20 team points, placing them 12th for the event. In the overall championships, the Ephs are 15th. Dartmouth snuck ahead after day 1 with 214 points, while the University of Vermont is 2nd with 183.
"It's just a cool scene out here," Wicherski said. "It's fun to be racing with all these guys, and there were really good vibes—a lot of fast skiers and a good crowd watching."
Complete results can be found at http://barttiming.com/eisa/Results12/ncaa12.htm