Northern Michigan skiers, head coach Fjeldheim honored by region

MARQUETTE – Northern Michigan University head Nordic skiing coach Sten Fjeldheim and two of his Wildcats earned regional postseason awards, in an announcement made this week by the Central Collegiate Skiing Association.

Fjeldheim was named coach of the year for both the men’s and women’s squads, while Wildcat skiers Rosie Frankowski and Erik Soderman have pocketed regional skier of the year honors.

“It feels awesome,” Fjeldheim said. “I have a lot of respect for all the other coaches, so it’s quite an honor.

“I’m really happy for both Erik and Rosie, as well. They worked hard all season and really deserve it.”

Frankowski posted the region’s best finish on the women’s side at this year’s NCAA Championships, collecting her first All-American honor with a seventh-place finish in the 15-kilometer skate.

Initially a walk-on with the NMU team, Frankowski finished the year as the region’s top female skier, an All-CCSA First Team pick and was the conference’s top skier in four events this season, including both the freestyle and classic events at U.S. Nationals.

“Rosie made me a believer,” Fjeldheim said. “She’s one of the hardest-working athletes I’ve ever seen. “

Soderman collected his second and third career All-American awards at this year’s NCAA Championships. He earned a first team spot with his fourth place finish in the freestyle event and a second-team spot with a 10th place finish in the classic race.

Also an All-CCSA First Team selection and the top-scoring skier in the region this season, Soderman won six CCSA races, including sweeping both events at the CCSA Championships in February.

“Erik is just such a solid character,” Fjeldheim said. “He doesn’t say much, but when he does, it’s usually funny and just makes a lot of sense.”

Fjeldheim oversaw another hugely successful season at NMU, adding four All-American awards, both the men’s and women’s CCSA Championships and the men’s and overall NCAA Central Region championships.

Under his guidance, four of the region’s top 10 skiers on both the men’s and women’s side wore the Wildcats’ green and gold.

“It’s a real honor, but I couldn’t have done it without my assistant coaches – Ingrid, my daughter, and Martin Banerud – who have worked really hard this year,” Fjeldheim said.

“It takes more than just one coach to make a successful program.”