A day after earning a prestigious award for her achievements in the classroom, UAA senior Casey Wright showed what she can do on the ski trails.
Wright captured All-America honors Wednesday at the NCAA Championships in Burlington, Vermont, where she skied to 10th place in the women’s 5-kilometer freestyle race.
The day before, she earned the NCAA’s Elite 90 award for having the best grade-point average among all women at this week’s NCAA championships. Wright has a 4.0 GPA in physical education.
Wright was the only UAA skier and the only skier with Alaska connections to earn All-America status with a top-10 finish. Coming close in the women’s race was West High graduate Lydia Blanchet, who placed 13th for Dartmouth, 7.2 seconds behind Wright. In the men’s 10K freestyle, UAA’s Sigurd Roenning placed 14th, four seconds out of a top-10 finish.
“While we didn’t have the stellar day we’d hoped for, I think the athletes skied great and certainly gave it their very best,” UAA coach Andrew Kastning said in a press release from the school. “Casey continued her rise, and set the pace early from bib 6. It wasn’t until bib 18 that other skiers started matching her early lead. “
Julia Richter of Utah won the women’s race (13 minutes, 28 seconds), and Erik Dengerud of Colorado won the men’s race (24:25).
Wright, a 2018 Olympic skier for Australia, finished in 13:58.7. UAA’s Michaela Keller-Miller placed 17th (14:09) and Anna Darnell was 24th (14:27).
Among men, Roenning clocked 25:15 and was the only UAA skier in the top 20. Toomas Kollo was 30th (25:43), and JC Schoonmaker was 38th (26:20).
“Michaela continued her breakout season and should be very happy with 17th,” Kastning said. “The men seemed a little sluggish on the uphills in a very tight race. You need to be feeling your best in a field this fast. I believe they will be ready by Friday, and we’re looking to close out the season on a high note.”
The championships continue Thursday with a giant slalom for alpine racers.