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 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.