My first NCAA podium. 5k Classic- 3rd place
University of Alaska Anchorage- Fourth place team
I have finally arrived home after what seems to be like traveling home from another country. Maine may be close to the farthest place in the US you can get from Alaska. Regardless of our five hour time change (an extra hour because of daylight savings the first day there), and the long travels UAA was able to post the best team result in history! A successful first day for the woman, and a successful second day for the men put us in first place for the nordic team standings. In college NCAA skiing, alpine and nordic skiing is considered one team. Our alpine team had some unlucky runs, and wasn't able to pull off races as well as the rest of the season. Even so, UAA came in fourth in the team standings. The best UAA has ever recorded in history is fifth, many years back. It was fun to be a part of it. Our team got a nice huge trophy that everyone enjoyed lugging around town and the airport on the way home. It is fun to race as a team, then you are sharing the excitement afterwards!
As far as my races, I had one really successful race, and one not so successful race. The first day was 5k classic. This is my favorite event, so I had my eyes set on gold. The course was perfect for me. A mellow first couple of kilometers, and then it picked up quickly. With two long steep uphills in the last kilometer and a half, I knew that holding the hard pace at the end was most important. I felt good, and was able to slide across the line making the podium, in third place, 17 seconds out of first. The second day was not nearly as successful. I did a 15k race for the first time ever. The 15k was a mass start, so things were extremely aggressive for the firs 5k lap. I have never been in such an aggressive race, falling two times in the first couple of kilometers. Girls were pushing and shoving, running over each other, even taking each other out. Rather than being crazy, I decided to ski the first lap comfortably and try to come on hard at the end to avoid the crashes and breaking equipment. When the time came to go really hard and catch up, I was too far back to get back on with the front group. I didn't feel too terrible, but the result was not what I was hoping for.
Overall it was an awesome experience, competing not only for yourself but 11 other members of your college team. Rumford, Maine was an enjoyable place, but I have realized I never want to spend more than 10 days at a time there.
I am now off to Fairbanks for distance Nationals next week. I will be racing in the team sprint, 5k classic, and 15k pursuit. Hopefully Fairbanks warms up a bit...!!