Most of the country spent the early part of February wrapped up in the hype surrounding two brothers coaching against each other for the Lombardi Trophy.
The University of Idaho ski team had a sibling rivalry of its own.
Brothers Erik and Drew Anderson capped their careers placing first and second respectively on the final day of slalom competition at Tamarack Ski Resort on Feb. 10.
Erik came from behind on his last run of the day to top Drew in the final standings. The ski team placed fourth overall behind the strong showings from the Anderson brothers.
“It was a pretty cool experience to go one and two the last race of our college career representing the U of I ski team,” Erik said.
The result comes as no surprise to the team’s coach, Jerry McMurtry, who says they feed off each other’s competitiveness.
“They’re brothers and they push each other, but yet at the end they’re both winners and are both supportive of each other,” McMurtry said.
Despite their individual accomplishments, which includes an individual conference championship and runner-up finish for Erik, the brothers insist that their fondest memories were being part of a team, the same team.
“My fondest moment with the team is getting a good group of people that all enjoy the same sport…just having that camaraderie right there enjoying the sport that I love,” Erik said.
Drew recalled qualifying for nationals last year, the first time in school history the ski team had done so despite being the oldest club sport on campus.
“For me, my greatest memory would have to be making nationals last year as a team. It was the first time in school history the team did that and to make a little history is pretty cool,” he said.
Erik and Drew have also helped to raise awareness of the university’s ski team amongst prospective student athletes, according to McMurtry.
“The years where we have really strong teams like this year and last year where we were able to attend the nationals, Idaho’s on the map. I get contacts year round from junior athletes who are interested in coming to Idaho just because of the visibility the team has brought at the regional level and national level,” he said.
The ski team will now look ahead to regionals, but will do so without the brothers. Both have decided to stay behind and focus on academics, something McMurtry completely supports.
“School is first and they made what I consider a pretty wise decision to stay and focus on school and getting done since they’re both in pretty rigorous majors,” he said.
Thomas McGee can be reached at email@example.com