NMU’s Fjeldheim wins national coaching award

Courtesy of NMU Athletics

DENVER – Northern Michigan University Nordic skiing coach Sten Fjeldheim has been named the United States Collegiate Ski Coaches Association National Coach of the Year announced the organization Wednesday.

“I am very proud and happy to receive the National Coach of the year award and of course it would not have been possible without a the group of dedicated athletes and my assistant Haakon Baanerud, the support of Northern Michigan University,” said Fjeldeim.

Fjeldheim led Northern Michigan to a seventh place finish at the NCAA Championships, the highest finish for a Central Collegiate Ski Association team in history. CCSA member schools don’t compete in alpine events and the Wildcats earned the second-most points in Nordic action at the NCAA Championships, just 11 points behind overall NCAA Champion Denver.

“Sten has done so much for Nordic skiing locally and nationally. He’s inspired countless intercollegiate and Olympic athletes, mentored numerous coaches and coworkers, and played a key role in the development of Nordic ski trails across the region,” said NMU Director of Athletics Forrest Karr. “Perhaps even more important, Sten and Pam are great people that consistently make a positive difference in the lives of everyone fortunate enough to know them.”

Four of the six NMU skiers who participated in the NCAA Championships earned All-America honors.  Senior Rosie Frankowski led the way with a runner-up finish in the 15K freestyle race and a sixth-place finish in the 5K classical.  Fredrik Schwencke on the men’s side earned two All-America nods, as well, finishing sixth in the 20K freestyle race and 10th in the 10K classical.

NMU swept the men’s, women’s and overall team titles at both the CCSA Championships and the NCAA Central Regional.  At the CCSA Championships, the Wildcats placed all scoring skiers (top three for the team) in the top seven of all four races including two wins, four runner-ups and eight podium appearances, earning two podium finishers in each of the four races.  At the NCAA Central Regional, the Wildcats placed four skiers in the top 10 in all four races with three wins and seven podium finishes along the way.