McPhetres paces Nanooks in NCAA Championships debut

Photo by Cory Ransom
Photo by Cory Ransom

Jamie Foland

Sophomore Alyson McPhetres (Chugiak, Alaska/Spanish and Geological Engineering) was the Alaska Nanooks top finisher in the women’s five-kilometer interval start classic technique race at the NCAA Skiing Championships being held at the Rikert Nordic Center on Thursday morning.

McPhetres completed the 5K course in 16 minutes and 53.6 seconds, more than 80 seconds behind the individual champion Anja Gruber of Vermont, who crossed in 15 minutes, 31.1 seconds to claim the title by more than ten seconds. The top five finishers earn First Team All-American honors, while skiers finishing 6-10 garner Second Team recognition.

“The women chose to go with no wax on their skis today and that turned out okay,” Alaska head coach Scott Jerome said. “Aly has an ear infection, but we can’t make excuses; today’s performance certainly wasn’t where we (team or individuals) raced this season.”

Crossing second for the Nanooks was two-time NCAA participant and senior Crystal Pitney (Fairbanks, Alaska/Business Administration) in 17:21.2 and 35st place overall.

“It was a tricky wax day because the course became glazed as more people got on it, but I think our skis were okay,” Jerome said. “There’s a reason why these are the 40 best (skiers) and we’re trying to get them (the Nanooks) prepared for that; they have to watch the other skiers strategic moves and be careful on their position in the downhills so they don’t end up in the woods.”

The Nanooks will look to improve on Thursday’s results when they take to the trails on Saturday a 10 a.m. EST (8 a.m. AKST) for their 15K mass start skate race.