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Story Last modified at 9:13 p.m. on Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Loan earns Estonia trip after stellar showing at nationals

Alaska Star staff


Chugiak High's Kinsey Loan was named to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's World Junior team.

Eagle River's Kinsey Loan was one of 12 skiers named to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's World Junior team that will travel to Estonia later this month after a standout showing at the recent U.S. National Championships in Maine.

Loan, a senior at Chugiak High who skis for Alaska Pacific University, earned her way onto the team during the U.S. National Championships in Rumford, Maine, where she had several strong races. Loan's best finish at the weeklong event came on Jan. 6, when she earned a silver medal in the girls' 5-kilometer freestyle event, finishing 16 seconds behind the University of Colorado's Joanne Reid.

Loan also had a stellar showing in the women's freestyle sprint races on Jan. 8, when she qualified in 12th position for the bracket portion of the event, which included skiers from all age groups. Loan reached the "B" final, where she was fifth to finish in 11th place overall.

Junior team head coach Matt Whitcomb said members of the 12-member junior team – which includes five skiers who either live or train in Alaska – is a stepping-stone to the top of the skiing world.

"The World Junior Ski Championship Team is the foundation for a successful U.S. Ski Team," Whitcomb said in a press release. "It is likely that some of these athletes will be U.S. Ski Team and Olympic Team members in less than four years."

Loan will travel with the team to the World Championships Jan. 26-31 in Otepea, Estonia.

Loan wasn't the only local skier to have a strong performance at the national championships. Also traveling to Maine was Chugiak's Lauren Fritz, an Eagle River High and Muddlebury (Vt.) College grad skiing for Alaska Nordic Racing (ANR); Alyson McPhetres, a Chugiak grad and University of Alaska Fairbanks freshman who skis for ANR; and McPhetres' sister Kryston, a senior at Chugiak who also skis for ANR.

Fritz, who won the season-opening Besh Cup sprint races at the Beach Lake Trails last month, raced her way into the women's freestyle sprint final, where she finished sixth. She also finished 16th in the classic sprint race, was 24th in the women's 20K freestyle race and finished 53rd in the women's 10K classic.

Alyson McPhetres' top showing was in the girls' 5K sprint, where she finished seventh. Kryston McPhetres was 39th in that race, also her top finish of the championships. Alyson was 86th in the women's classic sprint qualifier and 69th in the 10K classic race. She nearly reached the bracket portion of the women's freestyle sprint races, coming in 34th in qualifying for the 30-person bracket. Kryston was 88th in qualifying for the freestyle classic event and finished 101st in the 10K classic race.

This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, January 12, 2011.