Portage Employees Volunteer at US Ski Championships

January 10, 2016

HOUGHTON, Mich. – Michigan Tech hosted the premier Nordic skiing event in the country last week, the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships. The event is run by a large group of volunteers and UP Health System – Portage supplied the medical team with six of its employees.

Matt St. Louis served as the Medical Director and Drug Testing Site Coordinator. Certified Athletic Trainers, Nate Larson, Holly Sisson, Lauren Randazzo, Casey Donovan, and Abbey Yeo also teamed up to supply the medical needs for over 450 skiers participating. All six are members of the UP Health System Sports Medicine Institute.

“It was a busy week, but very rewarding,” said St. Louis. “We spent a lot of time up at the course on race days and held open hours in the athletic training room during the off days.”

The skiers raced classic distance on Jan. 3, freestyle sprint on Jan. 4, freestyle distance on Jan. 7, and classic sprint on Jan. 9.

The medical team set up aid stations early on race days. They supplied water and Gatorade at the finish line and also out on the course during the distance races.

“It’s been a privilege to work with the group of volunteers both on our medical team and in the overall administration of the event,” St. Louis said. “It’s also great to be around some world-class skiers.”

The team assisted skiers with injury evaluation, coordinating with on-course volunteers if someone needed help away from the stadium. They were also present at the finish line to get the skiers on the road to a speedy recovery.

“I think the coolest thing we experienced is how thankful each athlete is,” St. Louis added. “Most of the them took the time to walk around the stadium after they finished and personally thank each volunteer. They would just get done racing 30 kilometers and still have time to thank the support staff.”

It’s the second year in a row that Michigan Tech hosted the event. Check out the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships website for more information and the results of all the races.

PICTURE: From left to right – Nate Larson, Lauren Randazzo, Holly Sisson & Matt St. Louis