UAA’s Nikic takes giant slalom at NCAA West Regional Championships

University of Alaska Anchorage skier Leon Nikic won the giant slalom Wednesday at the NCAA West Regional at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood.

Nikic, a junior from Toronto, was in ninth place after his first run. But after a blazing second run — the second fastest of the heat — he leapfrogged the field into first place.

His final time of 1:34.59 was .40 seconds ahead of runner-up Jeremie Lagier of Westminster. The win by Nikic was the first NCAA West Regional title by a UAA skier since Sean Alexander won the giant slalom in 2016.

Ashleigh Alexander was the top UAA finisher in the women’s competition, placing 11th. Rounding out the women’s finishers for UAA were Alyssa Hill (19th) and Carmen Nielssen (22nd).

Other UAA men’s finishers were Jan Ronner (27th), Caeden Carruthers (31st), Moro Bamber (34th), William Cashmore (37th) and Hunter Eid (39th).

“Amazing day for Leon,” UAA head coach Sparky Anderson said in a statement. “NCAA Regional Giant Slalom Champion. It’s his career-best NCAA and career-best FIS result. And to do it at home in front of our fans is icing on the cake. It’s a championship race, so the rest of our team was putting it all on the line. When you take more risks, you often suffer more mistakes. Today was no exception. Hunter, Ella, Ainsley, and Liv gave it all they got, but went out. Solid day for Ash in 11th. We’ll move into slalom tomorrow and keep taking our shots. But so fun to crown a Seawolf champion at home!”