FAIRBANKS, AK – Alaska Nanooks skiing head coach Scott Jerome announced the signing of two in-state talents, as David Norris and Eric Ryan have autographed National Letters of Intent. Norris, a native of Fairbanks, and Ryan, of Anchorage, will join the Blue and Gold in the fall and both will train for their first collegiate ski season by running on the trails with the cross country team.
The 19 year-old Norris skied the past six seasons with FAST club of Fairbanks, where former Nanook coach Bill McDonnell has served as his mentor. At this year’s Junior Olympics Norris was the 15km classic technique champion, took second in the 10km freestyle race and relay. He was also fifth in the Classic sprint. He is currently ranked 22nd overall among all US skiers his age (his future teammate Tyler Kornfield is ranked 45th).
“David is quite possibly the strongest skier that we have recruited to Alaska,” said Jerome. “He is one of the top skiers in the US in his age group. I am very pleased that David decided to ski and run for the Nanooks. Clearly he has the work ethic and training background necessary to be competitive at the national level.”
Norris prepped at Lathrop High School, participating in cross country and skiing for the Malemutes, as well as track and soccer. Some of his best performances include taking fourth at the state skiing championships and running a 5km in 16 minutes and 46 seconds. He was also awarded the Wendy’s Heisman Award in 2009.
A soon-to-be graduate of Robert Service High School, Ryan helped the Cougars become state champions during the 2006-07 season, while receiving All-State honors in 2007 and 2009. As a senior this year, earned the school’s Sportsmanship award.
“Eric is one of the top junior racers in Alaska and we are excited that he has chosen to attend UAF and compete for the Nanooks,” Jerome said. “He had three top-five finishes at this year’s junior national championships. This is the type of skier we aim to recruit to our program.”
A seven-year member of the Alaska Winter Stars, where he was a teammate to current Nanook Tyler Kornfield, Ryan earned All-American honors at Junior Nationals in 2008 and 2010. This year he placed 4th in the Junior National Sprint race, and 8th in the Junior National 15-kilometer Classic race.
Both recruits will enter the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the fall with four years of eligibility remaining. Norris, who already has a year of academics at UAF under his belt (and skied independent this year), plans to pursue a career in the medical field, while Ryan plans to major in civil engineering.
The pair is the first to sign with Jerome and the Nanook men for the 2010-11 campaign.