Pitney, McPhetres qualify for NCAA skiing championships

Photo by Bert Boyer
Photo by Bert Boyer

Jamie Foland

Two Alaska Nanook women’s skiers werre selected on Tuesday to participate in the 2013 NCAA Skiing Championships to be hosted by Middlebury College March 6-9 in Middlebury, Vt.

Senior Crystal Pitney (Fairbanks, Alaska/Business Administration) earned her second consecutive NCAA apperance, while sophomore Alyson McPhetres (Chugiak, Alaska/Spanish and Geological Engineering) will be making her debut. The duo helped the Nanooks capture the Central Region Championships last weekend and represent one-third of the region’s skiers selected for the 2013 event. In total, 74 student-athletes were selected to compete at the national championship next month, which includes Nordic and Alpine events.

Participants are selected on a regional basis from two designated regions for Alpine skiing (East and West Regions) and three designated regions for Nordic skiing (Central, East and West Regions). Bids are awarded to regions using a formula determined by the skiing committee. A maximum of 12 student-athletes (three per gender per discipline) may participate from an institution. Alaska can only qualify a maximum of three women (and three men for a full Nordic Team) since it does not sponsor Alpine skiing.

Northern Michigan topped the regional selections with a full three-member women’s team. Rounding out the Central Region’s six individual selections was St. Scholastica’s Sharmila Ahmed. She edged Alaska junior Raphaela Sieber (Vöhrenbach, Germany/Business Administration) for the final qualifying spot.

McPhetres will make her first trip to the national championships and will look to carry momentum built in recent weeks. She has won her last  three consecutive races, including one Central Collegiate Skiing Association title and both individual Central Region crowns. She was named to the All-CCSA Second Team and garnered all-region honors after last weekend’s pair of gold performances.

Pitney is making her second apperance at NCAA’s after a solid season where she has continued to contribute for the Nanooks, while improving her results. She was also a memeber of the All-CCSA Second Team and the all-region team taking fourth and seventh in a pair of races last weekend in Houghton, Mich.

In 2012, Pitney made her collegiate skiing debut for the Nanooks and was one of three participants representing the Blue and Gold in Bozeman, Mont. She finished the women’s 15K mass start event in one hour, six minutes and 49.4 seconds, crossing the finish line in 39th place.