ANCHORAGE – University of Alaska Anchorage head ski coach Sparky Anderson announced the addition of four alpine skiers for the 2018-19 season.
“I’m ecstatic about this incoming class of alpine kids” said Sparky Anderson. “It’s a quality group that will very much compliment an already strong group of returning student athletes. It’s going to be fun to see how the new crew can push an extremely motivated team where every day is a competition.”
Kristina Natalenko joins the Seawolves after a decorated career in Canada. The Vancouver native won the British Columbia FIS Cup Overall Championship in 2017 and 2018. She finished in the top-10 in the NOR AM super G in 2018 and won the Canadian U19 super g national title. Natalenko is planning to major in health sciences.
“Kristina is coming off a great season with the BC Team, and is someone I expect to hit the ground running,” said Anderson.
Liam Wallace is the second Canadian addition to UAA. The Calgary, Alberta native was a member of the Alberta Ski Team in 2016 and was named to the Candian National team in 2018 after winning the Canadian U18 slalom championship. Wallace is interested in exploring a science major.
“Liam is a huge pick up for our program,” said Anderson. “We fought hard to get this guy and for good reason. He’s one of the most talented athletes to come out of Alberta in a long time and was just named to the Canadian National Team. He’ll be a dual citizen of Seawolf Nation and Alpine Canada. I’ve already spoken with his national team coaching staff, and we have a good management plan for him moving into this season. Very exciting stuff.”
Sky Kelsey joins the Seawolves as the first in-state recruit since Lacy Saugstad in 2009. Kelsey, a native of Anchorage, was first coached by head coach Sparky Anderson as a youth before going on to success at the national level. Kelsey won the U16 national overall championship in 2013 and 2014. He won the U18 national championship in downhill and finished fifth in slalom. Kelsey placed second in the super g at the U19 national championships and placed sixth in the giant slalom and seventh in the slalom at the 2018 National Junior Championships. Kelsey was a member of the US Ski Team National Training Group from 2013-16. He is undecided on a major.
“It’s so great to have an Alaskan back on our roster,” said Anderson. “Our last local on the Alpine side was Lacy Saugstad back in 2009, so it’s been a while. Sky brings a lot of enthusiasm as well as talent to our program. I actually had the chance to coach him as a junior back when we were both at the Alyeska Ski Club, so there is definitely some fun history there.”
Didrik Nilsen comes to UAA after placing 16th in the giant slalom at the Norwegian National Championships. The native of Oslo, Norway, won the giant slalom at the Wyller FIS race and is ranked in the top-275 in the giant slalom in the FIS World Rankings.
“Didrik is a very strong GS skier and should fit in great with our guys,” said Anderson. “He’s from Norway and brings true Europa Cup experience with him. I think that’s going to really benefit our team.”
The 2018-19 season will open with the Alaska Cup hosted by Alaska Fairbanks Nov. 17-18.