STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, COLO. – Hailey Swirbul of Alaska Anchorage earned her second All-American honor after finishing second in the 15-kilometer freestyle at the NCAA Championships Saturday.
“That was one of the most exciting races that I've ever watched,” said head Nordic coach Andrew Kastining. “Hailey skied as good as she possibly could have, and was very smart. Kathrin Ogden of Dartmouth made a big move on the second lap and the group that Hailey was in didn't try to respond. On the final lap, Linn Erickson tried to make a move and gapped Ogen and Hailey by 5 to 10 seconds. Hailey made her move on Ogden on the final big climb, trying to reel Linn back in and with 500-meters to go caught her and flew by her on the final downhill to secure the silver medal.”
Katharine Ogden of Dartmouth won the race in a time of 43:22.0. Hailey Swirbul was second (43:22.0), and Linn Ericksen of Denver was third (44:08.3).
“It was smart racing and gutsy racing all at the same time,” said Kastining. “Haley said she had the fastest skis in the field which gave her a lot of confidence that she could move up in the last two-kilometers which is mostly downhill.”
Hailey Swirbul is the first UAA skier to earn two All-American honors in the same year since Lukas Ebner in 2014.
Natalie Hynes finished 16th in a time of 46:21.0.
“Natalie skied very well for her and will be banging on the door of All-American next year,” said Kastining. “She took an unfortunate tumble on the second lap which dropped her back a few places, but she skied back up and had a strong final lap to move into the top-16.”
Sadie Fox was the final UAA women placing 38th (50:02.2).
“Tom and Marcus skied well and put in a really good fight,” said Kastining. Those boys fought well and skied to their potential this season. I’m pleased with the results of the Nordic team at NCAA’s and believe that the future is bright for UAA skiing.”
Ian Torchia of Northern Michigan won the men’s race with a time of 54:21.0.
Alaska Anchorage finished ninth with 194 points. The Seawolves have finished in the top-10 14 times in the last 16 years at the NCAA Championships.