HOUGHTON, Mich. – Michigan Tech Nordic ski coaches Tom and Kristen Monahan Smith announce the addition of seven men and four women to the roster for the 2021-22 season. The incoming class is represented by student-athletes from Minnesota, Utah, Oregon, Switzerland, France, Canada, Norway, and Finland.
Tech graduated 10 members from the team last spring including eight members of the men’s team and a pair of student managers. The men return five student-athletes, with the women’s team returning its full roster from last season. The women’s team will have 10 including all six returning student-athletes from the 2020-21 season and four newcomers.
“One of our greatest past challenges has been not quite having the team depth to take away conference and regional titles,” Tom Monahan Smith said. “This season’s team will have the most competitive depth we have fielded potentially in the history of our program. We are simply fired up to get this outstanding team of women working together and racing together for team conference, regional and national championship titles.”
The men’s team will be represented by 12 men, including five returning student-athletes from the 2020-21 season and seven new recruits.
“This past spring we graduated a huge class from our men’s team, including our three student-athletes that represented Michigan Tech at both the 2020 and 2021 NCAA Skiing Championships,” added Monahan Smith. “These eight graduates delivered for our team through the past four years both athletically and academically. They raised the bar for our program driving us to an Elite 8 Championship Team, and the top academically performing men’s Nordic team in all of NCAA! We owe thanks to the incredible 2021 graduating class for building our men’s team into what it is today.
“We are confident the strong class of returning student-athletes and the great recruiting class we are bringing in will continue to push us closer to our vision of being the best Nordic ski team in the NCAA, both through our performance in the classroom and through our results on the ski trails.”
Women’s Team Recruiting Class
Marie Sølverud Wangen
Hometown: Magnor, Norway
Marie Sølverud Wangen is a transfer student-athlete coming to us from the Lillehammer University College in Norway. Marie has achieved high top national and international results as a junior athlete in Norway. Marie’s highlight skiing results include a silver medal in the classic sprint and a gold medal in the team relay at the 2019 U18 Nordic Championship in Otepää, Estonia. She was also a finalist in the skate sprint at the 2019 Norwegian National Junior Championships and semi-finalist in 2020. Marie also possesses several top 10 finishes in the Norwegian National Junior Cup.
Intended Major: Engineering
Academic Achievements: Cumulative high school GPA 3.94
Club/High School Team: Norwegian School of Elite Sports (NTG)
Hobbies: Mountain hiking and cooking
Hometown: Lappeenranta, Finland
Nea Katajala comes to us as an exchange student-athlete from Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland! Nea has been one of the top skiers in Finland throughout her athletic career. This past season Nea’s highlight skiing results include 15th place in the classic sprint at the 2021 Finnish National Championships and 18th place in the classic 10km at the 2020 Finnish National Championships. Nea was a member of the Finnish National Junior Team in both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. Nea was the 2015 National Junior Champion in Finland in the classic 5km, and she also won the 2013 Finnish National Junior Championship in the classic sprint. Nea was a two-time top 30 finisher at both the 2014 and 2015 World Junior Championships!
Intended Major: Spring 2022 Graduate Exchange, Chemical Engineering
Club Team: Espoon Hiihtoseura
Hometown: Wayzata, Minnesota
Ingrid Halverson will be a dual-sport student-athlete with both the Nordic ski and cross country teams at Michigan Tech. Ingrid’s highlight skiing results include five CXC podiums with a second place in the skate 7.5km at the Duluth Super CXC Cup, runner up in the 2020 Korteloppet, All-State in Minnesota High School State Meet in both 2020 and 2021, and a two-time Junior National qualifier in 2020 and 2021.
Intended Major: Engineering
Academic Achievements: High School GPA 4.0, Valedictorian – top 10 student in high school graduating class.
Club/High School Team(s): NordicWerks SkiKlubb/Wayzata High School
Hobbies: Hiking, watching Disney movies, and playing guitar!
Hometown: Bend, Oregon
Alice McKnight will be a dual-sport student-athlete with both the Nordic ski and cross country teams at Michigan Tech. Alice’s highlight skiing results include second place U20 in the classic 5km at the 2021 Western Regional Championships, 10th place U20 finishes in the 2021 Tour de Sun Valley skate 10km and sprint, and Junior National qualifier in 2019.
Intended Major: Environmental Engineering
Academic Achievements: Weighted GPA- 4.27
Club/High School Team(s): Mount Bachelor Sports Education Foundation/Bend High School
Hobbies: Trail running, mountain biking
Men’s Team Recruiting Class
Hometown: Madulain, Switzerland
Yanik Pauchard comes to us from the beautiful Engadine valley of Switzerland! Yanik has an incredible passion for skiing and the outdoors and has a proven track record. Yanik’s highlight skiing results include competing for Switzerland in the 2020 World Junior Ski Championships in Oberwiesenthal, Germany, member of the Swiss Junior National Team for three consecutive years, finishing the 2020 season as the third-ranked junior on the overall Swiss Cup ranking.
Intended Major: Business
Club/High School Team(s): Bündner Skiverband Langlauf/Biathlon (BSV)/Scoula Sportiva Champfér
Hobbies: Hunting & fishing
Hometown: Plymouth, Minnesota
Colin Freed joins the Nordic Huskies from Plymouth, Minnesota. Colin had a breakthrough season in 2021 and is now the third nationally ranked skier born in 2002. Colin’s highlight results include a first-place finish in the skate and second overall at the 2021 Minnesota State High School Meet, and podium results in the 2021 CXC Cup including a second-place finish in the skate 7.5km at the 2021 Duluth CXC Cup and a third-place finish in the classic 10km at the 2021 Gitchi Gami Games CXC Cup.
Intended Major: Engineering
Academic Achievements: High School GPA 4.0, Valedictorian – Graduated in the top 10 of graduating class
Club/High School Team(s): Loppet Nordic Racing/Wayzata High School
Hobbies/Cool Facts: I like to mountain bike, BMX, and backflip. Placed ninth U18 at 2019 Mountain Bike Nationals in Winter Park, Colorado
Hometown: Ely, Minnesota
Jasper Johnston will be a dual-sport student-athlete on our Nordic ski and Cross Country Teams at Michigan Tech! Jasper is the 8th nationally-ranked skier born in 2003! Jasper’s highlight results include a 1st place finish in the classic 10km race at the 2021 Gitchi Gami Games CXC Cup, a 3rd place finish in the classic 5km race and 7th place finish in the skate 5km race with two All-American honors at the 2019 Junior National Championships!
Intended Major: Forestry
Academic Achievements: National Honor Society, Graduated with a 3.8 cumulative GPA
Club /High School Team(s): CXC Junior Development Program/Ely High School
Hobbies/Cool Facts: I used to race sled dogs, my longest race was 120 miles. I competed in three sports in high school, cross country, Nordic and track.
Hometown: Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
Parker Courte-Rathwell comes to the Nordic Huskies as a transfer student from Université Laval in Quebec, Canada. Parker’s highlight skiing results include his outstanding Canadian national ranking as the 10th ranked distance and seventh-ranked sprinter amongst all juniors, fourth-ranked distance and 3rd ranked sprinter for his 2001 birth year, and being named to the Quebec provincial team.
Intended Major: Engineering – Aerospace
Club Team: Club de ski de fond Tremblant Nordique
Hobbies/Cool Facts: Play the saxophone, love to also mountain bike, and grew up also competing as a figure skater and soccer player
Hometown: White Bear Lake, Minnesota
Tryg Solberg will be a dual-sport student-athlete on our Nordic ski and cross country teams at Michigan Tech. Tryg’s highlight skiing results include a 14th place overall finish at the 2021 Birkie and a third-place overall finish in the Mayor’s XC Challenge. Tryg was also the 2018 NXR Heartland Open Division Winner in cross country.
Intended Major: Forestry
Club Team: Loppet Nordic Racing
Hobbies/Cool Facts: Love canoeing, woodworking, and running
Hometown: Kamas, Utah
Aidan Rasmussen comes to the Nordic Huskies from Sun Valley, Idaho where he took a postgraduate year through the 2020-21 season to further his athletic development with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. Aidan’s highlight skiing results include qualifying for Junior Nationals every year since he was a first-year U16, with a seventh-place finish for U20s in the skate 15km at the 2021 Tour de Sun Valley, and a 10th place finish for U20s in the classic 10km at the 2021 Western Junior Championships.
Academic Achievements: 31 ACT
Hobbies: Mountain biking
Hometown: Morzine, France
Félix Cottet-Puinel will be a graduate student-athlete with our Nordic Huskies and is coming to us as a former French National Biathlon Team member. Félix graduated this spring from the Université Grenoble Alpes in France with a bachelor’s degree in sport science. Félix’s highlight skiing results include two-time bronze medalist in the 20km individual and single mixed relay at the 2019 Winter University Games in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, National Champion of France in the relay in 2016, and bronze medalist in the team relay at the 2015 World Junior Championships!
Intended Major: Graduate Program, Kinesiology