The UAA ski team has gotten off to a fairly rough start this year, but the outlook is still bright in qualifying a number of athletes for the NCAA Championships.
“We have definitely been struggling and had a pretty rough start to the season,” Head Coach Trond Flagstad said. “We are not where we think we should be.”
Injuries and sickness has plagued the Seawolf roster up to this point – two skiers from the women’s alpine team, former All-American Kristina Repcinova and team captain Lacy Saugstad, have suffered season-ending knee injuries.
Also, a number of skiers have encountered low iron levels; endurance athletes typically have a higher-than-normal iron level.
These low iron levels forced Flagstad to leave some skiers behind during the New Mexico Invite on Feb. 5 and 6, in which UAA placed seventh. But, this problem is being remedied by having the iron deficient skiers take iron supplements. It is expected that these supplements will take approximately three weeks to take affect.
The Seawolves have two meets left before the NCAA Championships in March and UAA needs to take full advantage of that in order to qualify a full team for the national meet.
The Nordic team is coming around, but the alpine team needs to step up in the last couple of meets to maintain any hope of qualifying a full team, though, at this point they can probably qualify four skiers, according to Flagstad.
“We have two meets, four races, left,” Flagstad said. “We are pretty confident that we will qualify a full Nordic team. If we do not qualify a full team, it will definitely be disappointing.”
Qualifying a full team would give the Seawolves a good shot at finishing in the top five at the NCAA Championships.
Despite the crippling affect of these problems, and the team apparently having a little trouble getting their skis back under them, hopes remain high for the remainder of the season.
“We definitely believe in what we are doing and we are charging ahead,” Flagstad said. “We are all going to work in the next two meets to ski better than we have in the last few.”
UAA will take part in the Nevada Invite at Sugar Bowl in Truckee, Calif. on Feb. 19-21, and then in the Colorado Invite in Steamboat Springs, Colo. on Feb. 26 and 27.