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Jarzin shines at NCAA meet

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

STOWE, VERMONT – Former Ashwaubenon Nordic Ski Team member Abby Jarzin is making quite a name for herself.

The Northern Michigan University freshman had a strong showing at the NCAA meet in Stowe, Vermont, March 6-9.

Jarzin, a three-time Wisconsin State Pursuit champion, finished seventh in the 5-kilometer freestyle and 14th in the 15-kilometer classic in a field of 40 skiers in each race.

“Considering that I wasn’t even expecting to make the NCAA meet as a freshman, I was very happy with my results,” said Jarzin, who was one of two freshmen to compete and is currently the top-ranked woman skier in the country in her U20 age group. “Even going to the meet, I didn’t have huge expectations and didn’t want to focus on results. Everything had been going well leading up to the races, but I was a little more nervous for this meet than past ones.”

Jarzin didn’t receive split times for the freestyle race on the course, but she blazed to a time of 13:50, which earned her second-team All-American status.

Of the top-eight finishers in that race, six were Europeans.

Her 15-kilometer classic time was 49:18.6

“I surprised myself a little bit in the freestyle,” she said. “All of the girls were super strong, and I wasn’t expecting the result I got. In the classic race we started out super fast. I felt a little more tired than normal, but I’m happy with that race, too.”

Based on her strong results in Vermont, it’s a natural progression to think Jarzin will move up the podium in the upcoming years, but she doesn’t want to focus on that.

“I guess it’s a possibility,” Jarzin said about becoming an NCAA champ someday. “I’m really trying to focus on how I can train my best – you can’t put too much thought into the future, otherwise it gets you off track.”

Another perk for Jarzin has been getting to meet Olympic Gold Medalists Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall.

The pair won the United States’ first-ever cross-country skiing gold medal at the Winter Olympics in the women’s team sprint at Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018.

“I got to train with Jessie all last summer in Vermont,” Jarzin said. “That was really cool – having someone like her to train with. She’s awesome. I’ve met Kikkan a few times at camps as well – another really great woman.”

Has Jarzin thought about what it would be like to follow in the duo’s footsteps and become an Olympian?

“Becoming an Olympian is a very ambitious goal,” laughed Jarzin. “Of course if it happened, it would be amazing. There’s a lot of fast skiers, but the main thing is just focusing on my training day-to-day.

In the meantime, Jarzin will enjoy a little time off after a long season and then will hopefully head back to Vermont this summer for more training.

“The season is long,” she said. “You train so hard all year, so you need some time to do a whole lot of nothing. The month of April will be a rest period for me, and then I’ll start back up in May.”

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