Saints Nordic Skiing to Send Program Record Five Skiers to NCAA Championships

The Saints will compete in the 5km/10km classic on Thursday, March 11 and the 15km/20km skate freestyle on Saturday, March 13, at the Jackson Nordic Center in Jackson, New Hampshire. 

DULUTH, Minn. – After a crazy start to the season, the St. Scholastica nordic ski team is once again sending skiers to the NCAA Championships, and this year will send a program record five athletes to Jackson, New Hampshire. For the women, sophomore Emma Stertz and freshmen Maj-Lis Helmer and Maggie Whitaker will be making the trip. For the men, juniors Emil Book Bratbak and John Schwinghamer qualified, with Schwinghamer making his first trip.

“There’s so much to be gained by taking this big group out there,” head coach Maria Stuber said.

The Saints will send a full allotment of women to the championships for the first time in program history, and all three are making their first trip.

“It’s awesome to have so many freshmen going with as well, just get all of these people experienced at a big race,” Stertz said.

“Our women got those last three spots which is just huge. That’s the young group that’s going to learn a ton and soak up every bit,” Stuber added.

On the men’s side, the Saints will send two members for the second year in a row, including Emil Book Bratbak, who’s making his third straight trip.

“There’s something special like you’re one of the top 40 guys in the nation. It felt like there was some pressure that I was expected since I made it the last two years,” Book Bratbak said.

Book Bratbak was in the middle of championships last year when it was canceled due to the pandemic, and with a top five finish in his last few races, he’s extra motivated heading into this year.

“I still had my best race to go when it was canceled last year and I was really bummed, so I’ve got some unfinished business out there,” Book Bratbak added.

Being the only Saints team that will be able to compete in NCAA Championships this year, these skiers are ready to race and represent more than themselves.

“We have really strong skiing in all of the Northland and it’s exciting to see Maj-Lis as well who’s from Duluth,” Grand Rapids native Sertz said.

“Teams that didn’t get to have nationals this year, we’re there for them,” Stuber added.

The Saints will compete in the 5km/10km classic on Thursday, March 11 and the 15km/20km skate freestyle on Saturday, March 13, at the Jackson Nordic Center in Jackson, New Hampshire.

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