When Sarah Fischer and Hilary Turner were growing up they were the best of friends.
They shared a love of skiing, spending long hours racing for the Juneau Ski Club. But between her sophomore and junior years in high school, Fischer left Juneau-Douglas High School to transfer to Rowland Hall-St. Marks, a private school in Salt Lake City. Turner, who is two years younger, stayed at JDHS, and the two friends drifted apart as they only saw each other when Fischer came home to Juneau for the holidays and the summer.
Now that they're young women, college skiing helped bring the two friends back together.
Turner entered college right after she graduated from JDHS in 2001, and is a sophomore psychology major at Montana State University. Fischer, who spent a couple of years after high school training with the Park City (Utah) Developmental Ski Team after graduating from Rowland Hall-St. Marks in 2000, is a freshman advertising/graphic design major at the University of Colorado.
Both Colorado and Montana State compete in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association, which also includes the University of Alaska Anchorage among its nine teams. Most of the RMISA teams compete in the same meets, which is how Fischer and Turner were able to reconnect.
"We used to be really close friends, but we lost contact when I left to go to Rowland Hall-St. Marks," Fischer said by phone from her college home in Boulder, Colo. "It's kind of weird, because now I see her every other weekend. It's pretty good. We sit down and talk. ... When we meet up on the college circuit, everybody I've ever skied with is there, kids I skied with in Alaska or I've known from junior racing in Utah."
"We chat every race," Turner said by phone from her college home in Bozeman, Mont. "We see each other on the hill and in the lodge. It's nice to see someone from Juneau."
The two skiers wrapped up their college seasons early this week with the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association's Western Regional races Sunday and Monday in Winter Park, Colo.
In Monday's giant slalom race, Fischer took 24th place with a two-run time of 2 minutes, 16.17 seconds. Turner finished one spot back, taking 25th in 2:18.30. Sophie Ormond, a French skier for Denver University, won the race in 2:05.07.
Fischer also took 24th place in Sunday's slalom race, posting a two-run time of 1:34.03. Turner was 37th in 1:40.91. Ormond won in 1:28.03.
Neither skier will advance to the NCAA National Championships, which take place March 5-8 at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. Fischer has enough points to be listed as an alternate for the NCAA meet, but she ranks sixth on her team and only three skiers from each team can compete at nationals. Turner ranked third on her team, but didn't have enough top-15 finishes to qualify for nationals.
Both skiers said it was an adjustment going from club skiing to being on a college team, but they've enjoyed the transition.
"It's gone pretty well," Fischer said. "It was a big change, a lot different than being on a local ski team. There's a lot more team unity, and it takes a lot more time. It took me a full semester to get used to it. My whole life, skiing has been such an individual sport. I've got to learn how to be a teammate."
"I really enjoy it, but it's a lot more hard work," Turner said. "It was a little easier this year, because I knew what to expect. When I got on the team, I didn't know the benefits (equipment, lift passes, etc.). I really wanted to race."
Fischer's team is one of the most intense in college skiing. The Buffaloes, who won three straight national championships until being supplanted by Utah two years ago and Denver last year, train early in the morning, getting up before some college students even think of going to sleep. Turner's Bobcats are a bit more relaxed in their training, which takes place in the afternoon, and MSU won't even have a men's ski team until next year.
"I think they have more funding, and their training is a lot different," Turner said. "We train in the afternoons, from noon to 4 p.m., then we go to Bridger Bowl, a local ski area about 15 miles from Bozeman, which has one run dedicated to our ski team's use."
"Our team is the hard-core team," Fischer said. "We get up at 5 a.m. and work out from 6 to 9 a.m. We have a great workout center, overlooking the (football) stadium. When we need to, we go up to Eldora, which is about a half-hour from here. We're barely awake."
Another transition is in the focal events for alpine skiing. Both Fischer and Turner were known as speed skiers when they were younger, favoring the downhill and Super G events where they could let their skis run. College alpine skiing features the two technical events, slalom and giant slalom, so both skiers had to work on their gate skiing.
"It's definitely different," Fischer said. "The past four years I've been focusing on the speed events, and this entire year has been technical skiing. They are important technical events. I was really intimidated in my first races and my coach and teammates had to tell me to relax. Everyone here has been really good about helping me out."
"I used to race downhill and Super G, but I had knee surgery and went downhill from there," Turner said. "I'm a slalom-downhill person, more of a combined skier now. Some days I think I'm a better slalom skier."
Both skiers had mixed feelings about their results this year, feeling they could have done better than they did.
"Personally, I'm not that happy with my results this season," Turner said. "There wasn't a lot of snow (at the start of the year), but I'm starting to move up and slowly I'll get back into it. I think my GS (giant slalom) has improved quite a bit, and my slalom's just starting to improve. I'm figuring out the little things."
"I've had more DNFs (did-not-finishes) than I've ever had," said Fischer, who started off the season as a non-scholarship skier and is now receiving a 70 percent scholarship. "It's been frustrating. But I've come a lot further than I thought I'd get. I think I still have good spot on the team. It's kind of like when I went to Utah, it took me about a year to get into a routine."
Auburn University junior Derek Gibb, a Petersburg High School graduate whose family now lives in Juneau, helped the Tiger men post the highest team score in the history of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Swimming and Diving Championships with 918.5 points for the meet held Feb. 19-22 in Auburn, Ala. Gibb was a member of Auburn's SEC-record-setting 400-yard freestyle relay team (2:51.96), a member of Auburn's first-place 200 medley relay team (1:26.52), a member of Auburn's first-place 200 free relay team (1:17.73), took sixth place in the 50 free (20.07, with a preliminaries time of 19.87), claimed fifth in the 100 backstroke (48.11) and took sixth in the 100 free (44.04), with NCAA Division I A qualifying times in the three relays and B qualifying times in the three individual events. Gibb will compete at the NCAA Division I Men's Swimming and Diving Championships on March 27-29 at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas.
"It went pretty well," Gibb said of the SEC meet in a press release from Auburn. "It feels good to win another SEC Championship. I am happy to be here training with the Auburn sprinters. They are a great group of guys. We wanted to come out here and make a statement and show the country what we're all about. We're going to keep training hard and go kick some butt at NCAAs."
College of Charleston sophomore Derek Carlson (Petersburg) was named to the All-Southern States Men's Swim Team after his performance in helping the Cougars claim the men's team title in the Southern States Conference Championships on Feb. 13-15 in Radford, Va. Carlson was a member of Charleston's first-place 200-yard freestyle relay team (1:26.70), was a member of Charleston's first-place 200 medley relay team (1:36.51), took second place in the 50 free (21.85) after being eighth in the preliminaries, finished fourth in the 100 butterfly (54.04) and placed eighth in the 100 free (50.51 with a prelims time of 49.56). The College of Charleston is an NCAA Division I school in Charleston, S.C.
Western Illinois University senior Ty Westre (Petersburg) and junior Travis Watson (Sitka) helped the Leathernecks claim the men's title in the Midwest Classic Invitational held Feb. 21-23 in Indianapolis, Ind. Westre was a member of WIU's first-place 400-yard freestyle relay team (3:06.91), was a member of WIU's second-place 200 free relay team (1:25.76), a member of WIU's disqualified 800 free relay team, took third place in the 50 free (21.28), finished third in the 200 free (1:44.70) and was fourth in the 100 free (47.04 with a prelims time of 46.89). Watson was a member of WIU's first-place 200 medley relay team (1:34.68), was a member of WIU's second-place 400 medley relay team (3:29.16), took second place in the 200 breaststroke (2:07.07), finished third in the 200 individual medley (1:57.57) and was third in the 100 breast (58.64). Western Illinois is an NCAA Division I school in Macomb, Ill.
Seattle University senior Sean Seaver (Ketchikan) was the only Redhawks swimmer to earn an NCAA Division II A qualifying time this season, meaning he will be Seattle's only swimmer at the NCAA Division II National Championships on March 12-15 at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D. Seaver got his A cut in the 1,650-yard freestyle (a school record 16:02.11) in a dual meet against Whitworth College on Jan. 31, which means Seaver will also be able to swim his events with B cut times at the NCAA meet - the 500 free (4:35.26) and the 200 free (1:44.06). Seaver helped the Redhawks take fourth place at the Pacific Coast Swim Conference Championships, held Feb. 21-23 in Long Beach, Calif., finishing seventh in the 500 free (4:42.92 with a prelims time of 4:35.52), 10th in the 1,650 free (16:33.42) and 41st in the 200 free (1:50.32). He was also a member of Seattle's first-place 800 free relay team (6:57.11).
University of Tampa freshman Teri Jo Hasbrouck (Petersburg) helped lead the Spartans to the women's title in the New South Conference Swim Championships held Feb. 14-16 at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss. Hasbrouck swam a preliminary leg for Tampa's first-place 400-yard medley relay team (winning time a conference record 4:01.23, prelims 4:09.78) but wasn't on the team in the finals, she took third place in the 200 backstroke (2:14.23), was fourth in the 100 butterfly (1:01.02, with an NCAA Division II B cut time of 59.59 in the prelims) and was fifth in the 200 individual medley (2:15.68 with a 2:14.74 in the prelims). Hasbrouck needed an A cut time to qualify for the NCAA Division II national championships on March 12-15 in Grand Forks, N.D.
University of Northern Colorado sophomore Hannah Robus (Juneau-Douglas) was sidelined when the Bears took third place at the North Central Conference Swimming and Diving Championships held Feb. 19-22 in Grand Forks, N.D. Robus, a breaststroke and individual medley specialist, had no results this season. Northern Colorado is an NCAA Division II school based in Greeley, Colo.
Linfield College freshman Annie Fox (Juneau-Douglas) was a member of the Wildcats' second-place 200-yard freestyle relay team (1:43.06), a member of the Wildcats' third-place 200 medley relay team (1:57.81), took fifth place in the 50 free (25.93), finished ninth in the 100 free (57.53) to win the B final and took 18th in the 100 backstroke (1:10.82) during the Northwest Conference Swim Championships held Feb. 14-16 at Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore. Linfield, an NCAA Division III school, finished second in the women's team standings.
Shasta College sophomore Chad Walter (Juneau-Douglas) claimed a pair of individual victories in the 50-yard freestyle (22.77) and 100 free (50.08) as the Knights opened their season with a 67-33 dual-meet loss to Santa Rosa College on Feb. 21 and a fourth-place finish on Feb. 22 in the NorCal Relays. Shasta is a junior college based in Redding, Calif.
Former Juneau-Douglas and Sitka High School star Andrea Lloyd Curry, who graduated from a high school in Moscow, Idaho, was inducted into the University of Texas Women's Athletics Hall of Fame on Nov. 8, 2002. Lloyd Curry, known as Andrea Lloyd when she lived in Alaska, was a center-forward who helped the Longhorns post an undefeated season and win the NCAA Division I Championship in 1985-86, led the United States to a gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and went on to play 13 years of professional basketball in Italy, for the Columbus Quest of the now-defunct American Basketball League and for the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA. She retired from the Lynx in 2002, worked for the team in its corporate sales office last year and recently became publisher of Women's Business Minnesota magazine, which will publish its first issue in April 2003.
University of Alaska Anchorage junior guard Tanya Nizich (Juneau-Douglas) is averaging 9.2 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 21 games (19 starts) for the Seawolves, who are 10-12 this season with four games left to play. UAA is an NCAA Division II school in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
University of Alaska Fairbanks sophomore guard Adrienne Taalak (Mount Edgecumbe) is averaging 10.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 23 games (16 starts) for the Nanooks, while sophomore guard Courtney Mason (Juneau-Douglas graduate, transferred to JDHS from Skagway) is averaging 1.1 points and 0.7 rebounds in 11 games (no starts) for the Nanooks, who are 8-15 with three games to play. UAF is an NCAA Division II school in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
University of Southern Colorado freshman center-forward Hilary Rehfeld (Juneau-Douglas) is averaging 5.8 points and 2.6 rebounds in 25 games (two starts) for the Timberwolves, who are 17-8 with two games left in the regular season. Southern Colorado, an NCAA Division II school based in Pueblo, Colo., will conclude its season with the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament.
Oregon Institute of Technology senior center-forward Jaime Stanford (Mount Edgecumbe graduate, transferred to MEHS from Haines) led the Owls in scoring with 15.6 points and was third in rebounding with 6.9 boards in 28 games (26 starts) this season, helping the Owls post a 20-10 record. Stanford was sidelined by a concussion for OIT's first-round game of the Cascade Conference playoffs, a 60-54 victory over Albertson College on Tuesday. She should be back in the lineup for tonight's second-round game against Eastern Oregon. OIT is an NAIA school in Klamath Falls, Ore.
Pacific University junior forward Leslie Jeffries (Ketchikan) averaged 2.5 points and 2.3 rebounds in 23 games (one start) for the Boxers, who finished their season with an 8-15 record. Pacific is an NCAA Division III school based in Forest Grove, Ore.
Whitman College freshman forward Karna Williams (Petersburg) averaged 1.0 points and 0.8 rebounds in four games (no starts) for the Missionaries varsity team, which finished the season with an 8-16 record. She also played for the Whitman junior varsity team, but no stats were available. Whitman is an NCAA Division III school based in Walla Walla, Wash.
Southwestern Oregon College sophomore guard-forward Amanda Kolanko (Ketchikan) played her second season for the Lakers, but no stats were available. SWOC is a junior college based in Coos Bay, Ore.
Indiana University freshman guard Rodrick Wilmont, who played junior varsity basketball for Sitka High School before graduating from high school in Miramar, Fla., is redshirting this season for the Hoosiers. Wilmont averaged 31.9 points a game his senior season at Miramar and earned first-team all-state honors. His Indiana basketball biography said he wants to go live in Alaska after his basketball career is over. Indiana was last year's NCAA Division I runner-up.
Whitman College junior center-forward Casey Nelson (Ketchikan) averaged 7.8 points and 4.3 rebounds in 24 games (13 starts) for the Missionaries, who finished the season with a 7-18 record. Whitman is an NCAA Division III school based in Walla Walla, Wash.
University of Alaska Fairbanks sophomore guard-forward Scott Jones (Sitka) has yet to play this season for the Nanooks, who are 17-6 this year with four regular-season games left to play. UAF is an NCAA Division II school.
Pacific University freshman guard Colin Kambak (Sitka) averaged 2.3 points in 12 games (no starts) for the Boxers, who finished their season with an 11-14 record. Pacific is an NCAA Division III school based in Forest Grove, Ore.
Southern Oregon University junior guard Travis Dybdahl (Juneau-Douglas) averaged 2.3 points and 1.3 rebounds in 15 games (one start) for the Red Raiders, while junior forward Will White (Gustavus) averaged 2.0 points in one game (no starts) as SOU posted an 8-22 record this year. White's wife, Becky White, who went to high school in Nampa, Idaho, is a sophomore guard for the women's team, but redshirted this season.
Linfield College freshman guard-forward Ryan Monagle (Juneau-Douglas) played on the junior varsity team for the Wildcats, but season stats weren't available for the JV team. Linfield is an NCAA Division III school in McMinnville, Ore.
Grays Harbor College freshman guard Curtis Lane (Juneau-Douglas) was one of seven players still active at the end of the season for the Chokers, who posted a 1-16 record this season. Lane's season stats weren't available for the Chokers, who are coached by former Homer and Metlakatla High School coach Gary Arthur.
Belmont University senior third baseman Wade Walter (Juneau-Douglas) went 1-for-5 as the Bruins won their season-opener 7-5 against Tennessee-Martin on Feb. 18. Walter led the Bruins in hitting last year with a .352 batting average. Belmont (2-0 this season) is an NCAA Division I school based in Nashville, Tenn., and a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Arizona State University sophomore catcher Garrett Schoenberger (Juneau-Douglas) struck out in his only at bat so far this season, in a 24-9 victory over San Diego State on Jan. 26. The Sun Devils are ranked fourth, fifth or sixth nationally, depending on the poll, and have an 18-1 record this season. Schoenberger has already signed an offer to play for the Kenai Peninsula Oilers of the Alaska League this summer, his second with the team. ASU is an NCAA Division I school based in Tempe, Ariz.
Dayton University freshman pitcher Dylan Hickey (Juneau-Douglas) struck out five batters, gave up four hits, one walk and one unearned run in his first three-inning relief appearance this season for the Flyers (0-4 this season). Dayton is an NCAA Division I school based in Dayton, Ohio, and is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Eastern Oregon University freshman pitcher Alec Schramek (Petersburg) has yet to play this season for the Mountaineers (1-7 this season). Eastern Oregon is an NCAA Division III school based in LaGrande, Ore.
Shasta College features four former Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears on its roster - freshman shortstop-outfielder Kari Parr, freshman catcher-third baseman Suzanne Parr, freshman pitcher Nicole Adair and freshman outfielder Krista Staveland. Season stats weren't available for the Knights (9-3 this season), but Adair has a 3-0 record with one save and Suzanne Parr knocked in a couple of key runs in two victories over Fresno City College and a loss to Merced College. Shasta College is a junior college based in Redding, Calif.
Linfield College freshman outfielder Zeta Moss (Ketchikan) is playing for the Wildcats, who open their season on March 8. Linfield is an NCAA Division III school based in McMinnville, Ore.
Texas A&M freshman Seva Iwinski, a former Juneau-Douglas High School student who graduated from Walker High School in Marietta, Ga., is playing in the No. 5 or No. 6 singles slot and on the No. 3 doubles team for the Aggies (6-3 overall), who are ranked 33rd in this week's Collegiate Tennis Rankings. Iwinski is 4-5 in singles and has paired with Nicki Mechem for a 6-3 record in doubles this season, with a three-match winning streak in singles and doubles.
"Seva is an extremely coachable and fun-loving player who thrives on grinding out matches," Texas A&M coach Bobby Kleinecke said in a press release. "She can sit back at the baseline and then suddenly blast the ball right by you. She plays long matches, and even when she is down she can never be counted out because of her relentless tenacity."
The Juneau Empire's College Corner feature runs about once a month during the school year and is compiled by sports editor Charles Bingham from school Web sites and tips from readers, coaches and parents. If you know of any other college athlete from Southeast Alaska who should be included in the feature, please let us know. You can fax information to 586-3028 (attention Sports), or you can e-mail the information to firstname.lastname@example.org (please do not send text attachments).