With a season-best second place and numerous fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-place finishes, the Seawolves are still on the prowl for a top-three finish outside of their home state.
In the Montana Invite, UAA posted a total of 329 points between the Nordic and alpine teams. Their total was enough to earn sixth place, but was no match for New Mexico who claimed first, registering 467 points, beating defending NCAA Champion, Denver.
The reason for UAA’s sub-par results can probably be attributed to mental blocks they have yet to break, according to sophomore Alex Parker
“I think we all get a little too upset when we have a bad day,” Parker said. “Even though skiing is largely an individual sport, our performances all contribute to a team score and this tends to add pressure and sometimes we all get a little too caught up in the results.”
“This makes it hard to go out there the next race with confidence.”
While they have not performed at their highest level, they have been improving in each event.
The women’s alpine team’s performance is steadily improving as planned and should peak in March. The men are not only competing against themselves mentally, but also some of the best competition UAA has known, according to alpine coach Sparky Anderson.
“We came home from a very tough two week road trip. We lost Lacy Saugstad, our team captain and slalom anchor, which was a big blow emotionally,” said Alpine Coach Anderson. “Guys were skiing the first run and finishing first or second, then going out in the second run. Things didn’t go our way.”
“Some of it was dumb luck, some of it was mental. We have made adjustments in our training since we came home.”
If this was an inspirational movie, now would be the part where they just gone through a tough time, and now, under the pressure of necessity, begin to excel in everything they do.
“We all are really close and are always there supporting and cheering for each other,” said Parker. “I think this helps us a lot as a team because the support from each other pushes us individually allowing us to each contribute something to the team.”
“We seem to perform best when we are having fun.”
To turn the season around, the Seawolves must think positively and fight through the mental ups and downs of the sport.
The Seawolves will travel to Red River, N.M. on Feb. 5 and 6 to take part in the New Mexico Invite.