Northern Michigan Wildcats
Location: Marquette, Michigan
Head coach: Sten Fjeldheim
Assistant coach: Andy Keller

The Wildcats will be led by a returning national champion in senior Ian Torchia (Rochester, Minnesota) became the seventh NCAA title winner in program history after taking the crown in the 20-kilometer freestyle race at the 2018 championships. Torchia also earned all-America honors in the 10-kilometer classic rave to bring his career total to four. After the season, Torchia was the only collegiate skier nominated to the 2018-19 U.S. Cross Country Ski Team.

Another top returning men’s skier is sophomore Kjetil Baanerud (Oslo, Norway) who received all-America accolades in the 10-kilometer classic race. He and Torchia will be joined by six other returners including juniors Zak Ketterson (Bloomington, Minnesota) and Lars Soensterud (Oslo, Norway). Ketterson, along with Torchia, competed in the U-23 World Championships in Switzerland during his sophomore campaign.

On the women’s side, senior Nicole Schneider (Plymouth, Minnesota) is the lone returner from last season’s NCAA Championship competitors. She finished 20th in the 5-kilometer classic race and 24th in the 15-kilometer freestyle event. Schneider also traveled to Switzerland last season to compete in the U-23 World Championships.

Two more seniors will help lead the women this season on senior Sophie McDonald (Park City, Utah) and Sarah Bezdicek (Osseo, Minnesota). Both were named All-Central Collegiate Ski Association at the end of their junior campaigns.

Top male returners: Erik Soderman, Kyle Bratrud, Adam Martin
Top female returners: Jordyn Ross, Felicia Gersior, Kristen Bourne
2014 CCSA Championships: Men – 1st, Women – 1st
2014 NCAA Central Region: Men – 1st, Women – 1st

Northern Michigan University, helmed by Sten Fjeldheim in his 26th season for the Wildcats, will look to continue their success from last season which saw them sweep the men’s and women’s titles in the CCSA Championships and at NCAA Regionals.

The NMU women will be without 2014 graduate Rosie Frankowski, an NCAA All-American who finished in the top ten of the classic race at the 2014 NCAA Championships, and no less than second in the 15 kilometer freestyle at the NCAA Championships. Yet Coach Fjeldheim has high expectations for the 2015 season, with his eye on three women to qualify for the NCAA Championships with at least one, if not two, top ten finishes at the Championships in Lake Placid, New York.

The Wildcats will be led by senior Jordyn Ross, a past NCAA qualifier, Felicia Gresior, Hannah Boyer, a top twenty finisher at the 2014 NCAA Championships, Sophie Schimpl of Austria, Kristen Bourne, and freshman Vivian Hett of Burnsville, Minnesota, a four time All-State qualifier.

The men’s team will be led by an experienced trio in Fredrik Schwencke, who placed in the top ten at both races at the 2014 NCAA Championships, Kyle Bratrud, a 2014 All-American and top ten finisher at the NCAA Championships, and Adam Martin, who notched two top twenty races at the Championships and was a member of the 2014 US World Junior Team. The Wildcats will be further supported by the return of Erik Soderman, an NCAA Champion in 2012, and the arrival of freshman Ian Torchia of Rochester, Minnesota. Torchia was the 2013 Junior National Champion in the 10 kilometer freestyle race.

Fjeldheim wants three men to qualify for the NCAA ski championships, and he believes that “all three qualifiers have top ten potential for sure.” Fjeldheim is also confident that his three qualifiers can reach the podium at the NCAA Championships this March in Lake Placid, New York. “On a good day one of our men can win,” Fjeldheim says. “I’m just not sure which one.”