ANCHORAGE – With the 2015-16 season starting this weekend, the Alaska Anchorage ski team received its first National Letter of Intent for the 2016-17 slate in Hailey Swirbul, announced by associate head Nordic coach Andrew Kastning Wednesday.

“I am really happy to be able to add Hailey to our 2016 fall roster,” said Kastning. “To have an early commitment from a top-tier American speaks volumes to what UAA can offer and is exactly the direction we want to take the team.”

A local of Aspen, Colo., Swirbul comes to UAA following a very successful junior career. Nationally ranked third in her age group, Swirbul most recently was a member of the 2015 World Junior Championship Team and the 2015-16 Rocky Mountain Regional Select Team. At the junior championships, she was the second American across the line in the 10K Skiathon (5K classic/5K skate) and helped USA’s 4x5K Relay to an eighth-place finish.

At the 2015 US Junior National Championships, Swirbul finished third in two races – 10K freestyle and 10K mass start. Additionally, she took bronze in the 5K classic mass start at the 2015 US National Championships, junior division.

Meanwhile, in 2014, Swirbul found herself on the top of the podium at the Junior National Championships in the 5K classic and 5K freestyle mass start.

“We brought her up on an official visit and she admitted later that, before seeing the campus, the ski trails, and the Alaska Airlines center, UAA was not in her top five of choices, but after 48 hours of firsthand experiences, we became her top choice,” said Kastning.