Thursday, January 12, 2017

World War Three

The UAA Ski Team has spent the past week racing in the Utah Invitational college ski races, which also happened to be the US National Championships. Thus, the races served as the qualifying races for big international ski races like the World Ski Championships, the World Junior Championships, the World Under-23 Championships and a high-level racing opportunity in Norway for juniors in the Under-18 age class.

When the dust settled, we found out that half our UAA women's team will be heading back to Soldier Hollow in a few weeks for some championship racing. They may be teammates here on the UAA Ski Team, but they'll be at each other's throats at the World Championships because they're all racing for different countries.

Hailey Swirbul qualified to race for the USA in the World Junior Championships. This won't be her first time. She raced in the World Juniors two years ago in Kazakhstan.

Natalie Hynes will be representing Canadia at World Juniors. This won't be her first time either. She raced at World Juniors last year in Romania. You can hear an interview she did this week with someone from Canadia (I could tell by the way the interviewer said "been" and "again") here at this link.

Casey Wright will be racing for Australia in the Under-23 World Championships. This will be her first time at U-23s, but definitely not her first big championships. Long before she first laid eyes on Alaska, she'd been traveling around the world racing at multiple World Juniors in Italy and the Czech Republic, World University Games in Italy and even the adult World Championships in Sweden. So this will be nothing new for Casey. Here she is with her brother Abe, who was also in Utah last week. Did Abe race?  Did he qualify for something?  I haven't the slightest idea and it's not my job to find out. This is the UAA Ski Team Blog, not the Wright Family Blog.
Additionally, Andrew has been selected as one of the coaches for the US Under-18 team that'll be doing some racing at the Knyken racing trails near Orkanger, Norway. You can read all about the event here and here.
Here's coach Andrew Kastning with some of the Alaskans whom he'll be guiding around Norway later this month. (That's Molly Gellert, Gus Schumacher, Canyon Tobin and Luke Jager.) By all accounts, this is a great group of kids, which should give Andrew a nice break from the shenanigans he has to put up with around here on this team.

Natalie, Skippy and Hailey. Championship-bound.

Note: Former UAA Seawolf Lasse Moelgaard-Nielsen will also be in Utah, coaching the Danish team at World Juniors. He claims that the Danish team will not have any women there, which will allow him to cheer for our UAA skiers on the final big hill in Soldier Hollow. My advice to our Seawolves is do what Lasse says! He skied the last two kilometers of the 2011 RMISA Championships as well as anyone's ever skied two kilometers of any ski race and wound up second behind his teammate Lukas. If you do it the way Lasse did on that day, you'll be doing it right!

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