Alpine catapults UAA into fifth at NCAAs
BIG SKY, Mont. – Propelled by three All-America finishes by the men’s and women’s Alpine teams in the slalom races Saturday, the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves completed the 59th annual NCAA Skiing Championships in fifth place among the 21 participating teams.
The Seawolves, who posted a combined six All-America honors throughout the four-day meet, finished with 519 points. No. 3-ranked Vermont took the team title with 832 points, while No. 1 Utah (671) edged the NCAA defending champion, Colorado (670) by one point. No. 4 Dartmouth finished fourth with 590 points. All six schools from the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association finished in the top eight.
On the final day, UAA was led by the men’s Alpine squad which posted a team-high 93 points by placing their three scorers in the top 15. The Seawolves were led by rookie Sean Alexander, who hails from Calgary, Alberta. Making his NCAA debut, Alexander collected his first All-America honor with an 8th-place showing at one minute, 51.30 seconds.
Right on Alexander’s heals was the 2010 NCAA Slalom Champion in junior Andreas Adde. A local of Osteras, Norway, Adde claimed his second All-America finish of the meet and fourth of his career, finishing ninth with a time of 1:51.60.
Posting an 11th-place performance was freshman Niko Harmanen (Saarenkyla, Finland), helping UAA catapult up from their seventh place standing on Friday.
On the women’s side, the Seawolves received an All-America finish by senior Alex Parker (Calgary, Alberta). Parker, who now leads current UAA skiers with five All-America honors, completed the two-run course in a time of 1:36.22, good for a three-way tie for seventh place. With her performance, Parker became the first UAA Alpine skier – men or women – to have five All-America awards.
Also scoring for UAA was freshmen Vanessa Berther (1:37.16) and Anais Urbain (1:43.81), finishing 18th and 29th, respectively. Berther, from Bellevue, Wash., also collected All-America honors in the giant slalom on March 8.
UAA’s lone All-America honor from the Nordic side came from the capable hands of senior Jaime Bronga in the women’s freestyle race. Bronga posted the highest finish by a Seawolf at the meet, earning First-Team honors with a fifth-place showing.
The six All-America honors are the most for UAA since the 2010 season, while the fifth-place team finish is the best since the Seawolves posted a program-best fourth in 2009. The last time UAA claimed fifth was in 1998. The fifth-place finish also marks the 29th time UAA has posted a top-10 result.
Vermont’s team championship broke a four-meet streak of RMISA schools taking the team title, while in the last 20 years, RMISA members have been crown victorious 17 times.