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ALPINE SKIING

College Skiing: Halfway through the NCAA championships, the Seawolves boast three All-Americans and the Nanooks have one

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Alpine Skiing, Cover Story, Nordic Skiing

The UAA ski team added to its impressive list of All-America skiers by producing three top-10 finishes on the first two days of the NCAA Ski Championships in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Sophomore Ainslee Proffit and senior Leon Nikic chalked up top-10 finishes in Wednesday’s giant slalom race and senior Astrid Stav did the same in Thursday’s 7.5-kilometer freestyle race.

It’s the seventh straight year — and the 37th time in 38 years — that UAA skiers have earned All-America status at the national championships.

Stav is a four-time All-American and Nikic is a three-time All-American. Both are seniors. Proffit, a sophomore, is a first-time All-American.

UAF got its lone All-America finish from Rosie Fordham, a junior from Australia who placed sixth in the women’s 7.5K race.

Joe Davies, who won a national championship for the Nanooks in last year’s men’s freestyle race, transferred to Utah this season and placed second for the Utes on Thursday.

The four-day championships opened Wednesday with the giant slalom race.

Nikic, of Tux, Austria, skied to third place in the first run but made a mistake in his second run to slip to ninth place overall. Utah’s Mikkel Solbakken won the title in 1 minute, 44.78 seconds; Nikic had a two-run total time of 1:45.62.

Proffit, who is from St. Charles, Missouri and trained with a Colorado club before coming to UAA, grabbed eighth place in the women’s giant slalom. She was ninth after the first run and posted the sixth-fastest time of the second run.

Colorado’s Magdalena Luck won in 1:54.51; Proffit clocked 1:56.68.

“Huge effort from Ainslee, who is skiing her best GS of the season,” UAA coach Sparky Anderson said in a press release from the school. “Leon had a great day too. Sitting in third after the first run, he risked all he could to win the overall. He got sucked low coming off the pitch and a small mistake cost him the podium. Super happy with his effort.”

Fairbanks native Kendall Kramer finished 13th in Thursday’s 7.5K race. Photo by Tobias Albrlgsten

Cross-country competition began Thursday at the Howelsen Hill Ski Area. UAA and UAF each had one All-America performance, and each team had a 13th-place skier — Ari Endestad for the Seawolves and Kendall Kramer for the Nanooks. Endestad and Kramer both grew up in Fairbanks.

Johnny Hagenbuch of Dartmouth won the men’s race in 19:09.2 for an 11-second win over Davies. Endestad finished in 20:14.1, about six seconds shy of a top-10 finish.

Utah’s Sydney Palmer-Leger won the women’s race in 22:08.2. Fordham was sixth for UAF (22:51.6) and Stav, who is from Norway, was seventh for UAA (22:55.5).

Kramer, a junior who came into the race as a two-time All-American, finished in 23:19.1, about 11 seconds out of the top 10.

The efforts by Stav, Proffit and Nikic bring UAA’s total number of NCAA All-America finishes to 173, dating back to 1979.

In a 30-year span from1987 to 2016, the Seawolves boasted at least one All-American every season. The streak ended in 2017 but a new one, now at seven straight years, began in 2018.

UAA, which qualified five alpine skiers and five nordic skiers for the championships, sits in seventh place among 23 teams halfway through the competition. UAF, which does not have an alpine team, is in 10th place.

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Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

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