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Ashwaubenon Nordic Ski Team competes with national field

By Cathy Putman
Special to The Press Times

HOUGHTON, Michigan – The 2020 L.L. Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships, held Jan. 2-7 on the Michigan Tech University trail system, saw three Ashwaubenon Nordic Ski Team (ANST) members compete.

Seniors Ryan Thieme (Bay Port) and Daniel Huhtala (Ashwaubenon) were joined by junior Kevin Johnson (Ashwaubenon) in the U18 division.

National competition is fierce and pits talented developing skiers against fully-mature collegiate and post-collegiate athletes.

Thieme skated to a 19th place in the 15-kilometer freestyle race Jan. 3 in 43:38.3, about two minutes ahead of Huhtala, who finished 38th.

Johnson posted a time good enough for 52nd.

The individual start, three-lap design mixed the field.

Athletes had to avoid slowing to match the tempo of fatigued athletes and be ready to chase fresher legs.

Falling snow filled the tracks in the junior men’s mass start classic Jan. 5.

The 10-kilometer, two-lap course was crowded from start to finish.

All three ANST athletes managed to push through the field: Thieme placed 15th (32:14.6), Huhtala took 32nd (34:09.5) and Johnson followed with a 45th (36:20.6).

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