Fjeldheim and Salmela named CCSA Coaches of the Year


Northern Michigan Head Coach Sten Fjeldheim and St. Scholastica Head Coach Chad Salmela have been selected CCSA Coaches of the Year; Fjeldheim for the men’s team, and Salmela for the women’s. The award is voted on by all the CCSA coaches.

Chad Salmela and the St. Scholastica women’s team enjoyed a great season of skiing this year. “I think we knew coming into the season that we had an opportunity for a good year,” said Salmela. “But you never know for sure–sport is sport.”

“This was arguably our strongest year ever,” Salmela said. “Our CCSA regular season was spectacular. We worked really hard to get where we are now; there were a lot of challenges, so I think this is a nod to the work we’ve done.”

Salmela credited the success of his team this year to consistent performances at races and the depth of his team. “They had really consistently good results. Anita [Kirvesniemi] had two wins, Sharmila [Ahmed] had a few podiums, and we were CCSA Champs, and that wasn’t an easy task.”

“I also think that the depth of our team really showed,” said Salmela, who cited the efforts of senior Liz Peterson, sophomore Ellie Evans, and freshman Allison Ternes as being an important part of the team’s success over the season in securing the CCSA Championship Title, and winning the CCSA Championship relay.

“It goes down in my mind as one of the best teams we’ve ever had…it’s a special year for us.”

Sten Fjeldheim has much to be proud about his men’s team this year. “It’s one of the best team’s we’ve had in Northern Michigan in a long time,” said Fjeldheim. “I think it compares to the era of Chris Cook and Pete Vordenberg when they were competitive at Nationals and were going to the Olympics.”

Fjeldheim praised the way his men’s team conducted themselves over the year. “I think they really supported each other in a positive way,” said Fjeldheim. “They pushed each other in intensity sessions, and they trained a lot.”

“They’re all just really into it, they all want to be the best they can be. They didn’t make excuses, and there was no negativity, towards the weather, or anything.”

“They were super positive, fun to coach, and professional. They were light hearted, and laughed a lot. They were serious when they needed to be, but they had a lot of fun training together and enjoyed it. It was a fun group to be around.”

“They really paid attention to details. When you’re training a lot and when everyone’s training a lot, one of the things that separates skiers is paying attention to the details. Eating right, getting enough sleep, timing your recovery, stretching, watching technique videos, monitoring heart rates—they made all of that a normal thing.”

“It’s a super year. I have a lot of respect for these guys.”