It’s been a long two months for the Gustavus Nordic Ski team, but both the men and women squads are ready to begin what they hope will be a great season. The skiiers will compete for the first time this Saturday, Dec. 7, when they travel to St. Paul to take on their conference rival, St Olaf. The meet starts at 9 a.m.
The season opened on Oct. 1, which has kept the team busy completing workouts in order to prepare for competition. Their workouts are a mix between roller skiing, strength and cardiovascular training, and interval training.
“It’s been really positive. The group of girls we have meshed real well together. We’ve been doing really well. We’ve had two different time trials and both went well for the girls. Everyone improved from last year. It’s getting a bit difficult, waiting for snow,” Senior Captain Marian Lund said.
“The training atmosphere has been mostly positive, but we are really itching to get on snow and off the roller skis. We had a good workout with St. Olaf a week ago, and have been spending a little more time running at Seven Mile park, so it’s been fun mixing things up a little more,” Senior Captain Tony Squillace said.
The Gustie men and women have high expectations this season for their team. On the men’s side, everyone from last year’s squad is returning except for one graduated senior. Squillace believes that while he was a tremendous part of their team during his time at Gustavus, they can still make some huge strides—especially in the classic races.
The women also have high expectations for themselves this year. They are a young team and didn’t lose many members off last year’s squad.
“The women’s side of things should go really well. Our team goal is to move up in the conference and, specifically, be ahead of St. Olaf. We race with DI and DII competition. We have done very well in competing against other big programs. That’s a result of good coaching,” Lund said.
While both the men and women had great successes last year, they are still eager to achieve more this season. To achieve that success, they will rely on past experience, as well as maintaining a good focus and good health over the course of the season.
“Staying healthy between now and February will be crucial to our success. We will also need to continue to train. Getting on snow will help us a lot as well. We may have a natural boost from snow,” Head Coach Jed Friedrich said.
“It’s important to keep a positive attitude, especially for a season where snow fall may be difficult. It’s easy to get down on each other and that reflects on your race. Everything from being rested to staying dedicated to work outs will be essential to our success,” Lund said.
“The keys to success will definitely include being very focused in our training and preparation, staying healthy, and having solid race plans,” Squillace said.
“Our goal is to race our best at the end in February. We are building momentum for the regional at the end,” Friedrich said.
Follow the Gustavus Nordic Skiing team throughout the season as they strive to achieve the goals they have set for themselves this season in preparation for the Regional races at the end.