The Green Bay Nordic Ski Team hosted a successful weekend in Rhinelander, Wisconsin this past weekend. While Green Bay is not necessarily known for its annual snowfall (hence having their home meet 2 1/2 hours away), the University of Wisconsin Green Bay allows for student-athletes to succeed in strong academic programs and benefit from the top of the line ski coaching. In his second year of coaching at the university, Jeremy Hecker is taking steps to make the Green Bay Nordic Ski Team stand out. “We are the only collegiate ski program in Wisconsin, and the only fully Division I program in the CCSA. We have the ability to give athletes a Division I school experience which is very unique. We have a very competitive campus, and it is fun to be a part of the Division I culture”. Hecker is familiar with competitive teams, as he formally was an assistant coach at Williams College and Stratton Mountain School, where he worked with some of the most successful juniors and professional skiers in the country.
Last season, Hecker coached Sadie Peterson to the NCAA Championships, and he is hoping to build on that this year. Sam Meyers and Shad Kraftson are on the cusp of qualifying on the men’s season, and Lara Ketterer currently in contention on the women’s side, showing the growth for the Phoenixes. “While I do look at performance and results as a factor in the recruiting process, my biggest focus is on how the athlete will fit in with the team,” said Hecker.
The Green Bay Team emphasizes that having similar-minded athletes helps increases the overall team performances, and there are plenty of opportunities to bond at Green Bay’s Training Camps. “I make sure that we spend as much time together as possible and we have at least 1 or 2 camps per year. This fall we had two training camps, one in Door County in late September and another in Cable over Thanksgiving. It is during these training camps that we get closer as a team because we will eat, train, and sleep together. We usually try to get at least 1 or two games of Settlers of Catan going during these camps as well!” Green Bay’s ability to have fun is a big part of them being able to push hard in the workouts. “Whether its intervals, long ODs, or volunteer work the members of the team know how to have a good time!” said redshirt junior Sadie Peterson, “I think my favorite thing about the GB team is our capability to have fun with whatever we are doing.”
The close-knit culture is an important part of the Green Bay Team, senior Cory Rouw explained, “My favorite part about the Green Bay team is the community we have within ourselves. We are a group of different people working together towards a common goal. As they get on their goals in the CCSA, it will only transfer onto the National level. “The thing I like about racing in the CCSA is the competitiveness of the region,” Peterson wrote, “I think it is impressive that the CCSA is competitive on a national level despite not having the opportunity to win a national championship (lacking alpine). It’s fun to be a part of the speedy group of gals and it’s so fun to watch the guys too!”