Westminsters Alpine Team Shines Both On and Off the Slopes
May 26, 2017
Hailing from countries like Norway, France and Sweden, Westminster's 12-person ski team looks more like a mini United Nations than a typical American sports team. However, these international Griffin skiers have boasted victories at all levels, including the World University Games and U.S. National Championships.
During the 2016–17 season, the team finished out with 27 individual wins and 52 podium placements.
"We competed against teams from the University of Utah, University of Colorado, University of Denver and Montana State University — to name a few," said team coach Chris Hendrickson. “Senior Ann-Kathrin Breuning dominated the NCAA-circuit in the West by placing first in four races and placing in several International Ski Federation (FIS) races. We also had one of our graduates, Gulio Bosca '16, represent Westminster at the World University Games and won the World University Giant Slalom — that's like the Olympics for college athletes from all over the world. He also won the Italian Championships."
Because Westminster only has an alpine team and not a Nordic one, it is not able to compete on the same level as other college teams. However, Griffin Skiers will race on the NCAA circuit as well as compete in individual events at FIS races for spots on the podium throughout their season.
"Our Griffin Skiers competed in FIS races at Aspen; Sun Valley, Idaho; Copper Mountain, Colo.; Lutsen, Minn.; Vail, etc.," Hendrickson said. "This season, first-year Oskar Vollo swept all four FIS races at Lutsen."
Westminster's ski team has a lot more than just wins to brag about. This season, the team held an average 3.9 GPA.
"Our team attracts quality students who excel both academically as well as athletically," Hendrickson said. "While we've had U.S. Championship winners, NORAM winners and World University champions, we've also had our graduates land successful jobs in the ski industry, financial district and with companies like Goldman Sachs."
While many of these student athletes have achieved academic and professional accomplishments, some have achieved personal highlights, including beating a former 2014 Olympic Gold medalist.
"Last year at the U.S. Nationals, I won the second run and was very fast — faster than Mikaela Shiffrin, and that was cool," said Breuning ('17), who recently graduated with a degree in math.
"That's like a one-in-a-million shot, which just shows the caliber of our top skiers," Hendrickson said.
Before coming to Westminster, Breuning competed on Germany's national ski team.
"I love collegiate skiing, it's way more fun for me personally then when I was on the national team," she said. “It’s still professional, but I'm having a bit more fun and enjoying it."
To prepare for the upcoming season, Griffin skiers plans to host its second annual Ski Swap in October 2017. Griffins interested in supporting or getting involved in the team can visit the Westminster Ski Team Facebook page.
Westminster's 2017 Alpine Ski Team included:
- Raffael Breu, Germany
- Tim Lindgren, Sweden
- Nicolo Nogara, Italy
- Jonas Nyberg, Sweden
- Oskar Voello, Norway
- Mikkel Wahl, Norway
- Anika Angriman, Italy
- Marie Aufrere, France
- Anne-Solene Bregou, Switzerland
- Ann-Kathrin Breuning, Germany
- Devon Clarke, Canada
- Sofija Novoselic, Croatia
- Madison Ostergren, United States