McKennis on U.S. Development Team
NEW CASTLE, Colorado – When you think of Western Colorado and its seemingly infinite supply of elite skiers, New Castle isn’t the first place that comes to mind as a breeding ground for that top talent.
Think again. New Castle’s own Alice McKennis learned Wednesday that she had landed a spot on the U.S. Ski Team’s women’s developmental squad.”It was pretty exciting,” the 18-year-old downhiller said. “There’s been a lot of work and a lot of years put into it. Ever since I was a little kid I always wanted to make the ski team.”A strong finish to the competitive season paved the way for McKennis’ selection. She dropped her downhill world ranking by about 40 spots during the 2007-08 season while competing in some big-stage events.
Most notably, she skied with the U.S. Ski Team in the FIS Alpine Junior World Championships in Formigal, Spain. That was back in late February.From there, she tackled the Nor-Am Finals and U.S Nationals in March.”I finished out pretty strong,” McKennis said. “My world rankings went down a lot, which helped.”On top of reaching her long-held U.S. Ski Team goal, McKennis is also on the cusp of wrapping up a degree in business through Phoenix Online. She’ll polish that off next week, giving her just one more thing to celebrate.
“Almost there,” said McKennis, who spent her childhood in home school and secured her GED at 16 years old. “I’m excited for that to be done.”That’ll free McKennis up for a summer of traveling and training. She’ll get her fill of ski camps and workouts along the way.The New Castle teen’s come along way since she began spending weekends on the slopes at Sunlight Mountain Resort as a youngster. She credits everything to the support of her father, Greg, and sister, Kendra.”It’s something I definitely couldn’t have done without my dad and sister,” McKennis said. “They’ve always just been there to support me. They sacrificed a lot for me to be a ski racer. We’ve lived several different places – Vail, Summit County, Steamboat. They kept me going when I wasn’t doing well.”
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It was a close game, but after some thrilling back-and-forth plays the Rifle Bears were able to pull off the 28-20 victory over The Academy on May 1.