April 5, 2013

NMU Sports Hall of Fame Inductee - Caitlin (Compton) Gregg

MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Sports Hall of Fame will induct four new members on Saturday, April 13, 2013 in the Great Lakes Room of the University Center. The dinner and program begins at 6 p.m. and the Sports Hall of Fame ceremony will once again be held in conjunction with the Student-Athlete Awards Banquet.

The second inductee into the class of 2013 is Caitlin (Compton) Gregg. Gregg was a two-sport athlete, participating in cross country and Nordic skiing from 1999-02. She was a four-time All-American in cross country and an All-American in skiing.

“I recruited Caitlin as a skier,” NMU Nordic ski coach Sten Fjeldheim, who coached the cross country and ski teams at the time. “She actually heard about NMU and called me. Her dentist, Dr. Steve Pittman, was my old college roommate on the ski team and reassured Caitlin about NMU.”

Gregg became the first NMU women’s cross country runner to become an All-American in 1999 with an 18th place finish at the NCAA Championship in Joplin, Missouri. It was also the first time an NMU runner qualified for the national finals. She finished second at the GLIAC Championship and NCAA Regional that season and third at the Roy Griak.

“Caitlin is not only a great athlete but also a very good role model,” current NMU cross country coach Jenny Ryan said. “She was a committed, hard working athlete and was just a good person. She wanted the best for other people and she was also a great runner. She was born to run.”

In 2000, NMU qualified for the NCAA Championship as a team for the first time in school history, finishing eighth. Compton had an All-American finish in 16th place. She also finished second at the NCAA Regional and won the GLIAC Championship race. That season, she went on to win the Wildcat Open, Lester Park Invitational, Red Hawk Invite and U.P. Championship while finishing second at the Roy Griak.

“Caitlin loved running,” said Ryan. “Sten and I would see her out running when she wasn’t supposed to be training. She just loved to train. We had to remind her to not do too much.”

Gregg won the GLIAC individual title in 2001 and finished second at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. Northern finished sixth at nationals. Gregg placed 28th to become a three-time All-American.

Her senior season, Gregg won the NCAA Regional and finished 12th at the NCAA Championship for her fourth All-America award. NMU had its best finish ever at nationals in fourth. She also won the Midwest Collegiate met and was seventh at the GLIAC Championship.

“She really had to work hard at everything she did,” Ryan added. “Her family didn’t have a lot of money and she helped raise her brother at one point. She had to do a lot of stuff on her own and had to work hard.”

Gregg skied three seasons for the Green and Gold from 2000-02. During her sophomore year (2000-01), she qualified for the NCAA Championship after finishing in the top 10 in 13 races on the season. Gregg was also named to the National All-Academic Ski team.

At the 2002 NCAA Skiing Championship, Gregg placed sixth in the 15-kilometer freestyle to become a Nordic skiing All-American. She also finished 12th in the 5K classic at NCAAs. Gregg won the CCSA Regional 15K freestyle race and finished third in the 5K classic earlier in the season.

“I had to hold Caitlin back,” added Fjeldheim. “She didn’t need any motivation and was just an incredible trainer. Instead of training for 16-17 hours a week, she would go for 27 hours.”

Gregg’s accomplishments in sports didn’t stop after graduating from NMU. She spent two years (2007 and 2009) as a member of the United States National Ski Team. In 2010, she competed at the Vancouver Olympics as a member of Team USA. 

“She had the best result in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics in a distance event since Nancy Fiddler in 1988,” Fjeldheim said.

In the Olympic competition, Gregg finished sixth in the team sprint. She was the first American to finish in the 10K freestyle, with an overall 30th place. Her strong finish made her the best US finisher in the race since 1984. In the 15K pursuit race, Gregg finished 42nd and was the second best American finisher of the year.

In her professional career, Gregg is a three-time national champion. She has 21 Super Tour victories, two Norman Tour wins, two American Birkebeiner victories and has competed in three world championships.

Gregg is a native of Warren, Vermont and graduate of Harwood Union High School. She graduated from NMU in 2004 with a bachelor of fine arts in environmental design and is married to Brian Gregg. The couple resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Tickets for the evening are $20 for adults and $15 for students. They can be purchased at the NMU Superior Dome Ticket Office or by calling 906-227-1032.

Photos: Caitlin (Compton) Gregg

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