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Westminster Ski Team members reflect on competing in their first NCAA skiing championship

The Westminster College Ski Team team at an event for their teammate in Stowe, Vermont for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) skiing championship which took place March 6-9. In their first year of eligibility, Westminster’s Ski Team qualified for and competed in the national skiing championship. (Photo courtesy Anika Angriman)

In their first year of eligibility, Westminster College’s Ski Team qualified for and competed in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) skiing championship.

After the 2019 season, Westminster and the University of Utah were the only Utah colleges to qualify for the NCAA national skiing championship.

Student athletes Anika Angriman, Anne-Solene Bregou and Giulia Lorini qualified for the women’s Alpine while Martin Arene and Mikkel Whal qualified for men’s Alpine.

“We trained really hard,” Martin Arene said. “There was a lot of physical training involved to get us to where we are now.”

To qualify, schools must place in the top 18 in either the Alpine or Nordic disciplines. Only three women and three men are able to qualify, so Westminster’s Ski Team had to score at least two top ten slots, Arene said.

The Westminster College Ski Team at the 70th Annual Rocky Mountain Ski Association (RMISA) Championships and 2019 NCAA West Regional Championships hosted in Alaska. After the 2019 season, Westminster and the University of Utah were the only Utah colleges to qualify for the NCAA national skiing championship. (Photo courtesy Anika Angriman)

The Griffins only competed in Alpine events including giant slalom and slalom because the college does not have a Nordic team.

The 2019 skiing championship was hosted by the University of Vermont from March 6-9.

Since there aren’t a lot of colleges with ski teams, Westminster competes against Division I schools such as the University of Colorado, University of Denver, Montana State University, University of New Mexico, University of Utah and the University of Wyoming.

“We are a Division II school but we compete with Division I schools with skiing,” Angriman said. “This was the first time we could qualify for the NCAA championship. It’s pretty impressive, to be able to qualify.”

Angriman said, since it was their first time qualifying, the whole team really gave it their all.

She said she was especially excited to have the opportunity to compete against East Coast teams for the first time since she was little.

West coast and East coast teams are compete mostly separately until the NCAA championship. Angriman said having new teams to compete against creates a whole new atmosphere and opportunity, as these are skiers the Griffins haven’t had the chance to compete against before.

“It brings all the teams together, all of the schools we don’t normally see,” Head Coach Chris Hendrickson said. “It was a good event and full of good competition.”

The Griffins finished in 15th with a total of 44 points.

Arene finished in 7th place in giant slalom All American with a total of 25 points.

“I was proud because it was the first time for Westminster and myself to be qualified for nationals,” Arene said. “I wanted to do well for the team so that Westminster and my teammates could be proud of me.”

According to Angriman, the atmosphere at nationals was exciting, active, friendly and there was a huge sense of community.

“The feeling of knowing that you made it there, was really amazing and completely satisfying,” Angriman said.

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Alexandra Dunn
Alexandra is a senior communication major with a minor in film studies, who in her spare time will adventure off to the mountains with her two dogs. Alex enjoys photography and TV shows like “Game of Thrones” and “Outlander.” No matter what project Alex encounters, she will overcome any obstacle to get it done.

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