Champions in Ski Cross, Gymnastics

Gymnast celebrates after routine
Gymnast of the Year Kyla Kessler, pictured at a meet earlier in the season.

Quick Summary

  • Justin Wallasch wins title in ski-snowboard nationals
  • Kyla Kessler No. 1 gymnast in Mountain Pacific conference
  • Gymnastics team earns 17 first- and second-team honors

Justin Wallasch’s championship-winning run can be seen at the 2:33:30 mark in the above video. Click here to watch the video from that point.

In the span of 10 days in March, one UC Davis student won the U.S. collegiate championship in men’s ski cross, and another earned this season’s Gymnast of the Year title in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

Justin Wallasch, a member of the student-run UC Davis Alpine Ski and Snowboarding Sport Club, won the ski cross event March 8 in the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association nationals. Seventy-five skiers participated in the event, taking on the jumps and tight turns of the course laid out at Whiteface Mountain, not far from Lake Placid in New York.

The event began with time trials, in which Wallasch ran the course in 35.51 seconds — second-best in the field, giving him the No. 2 seed in the round of 32. He then advanced through the bracket (three heats) to the championship race, crossing the finish line ahead of two skiers from Rocky Mountain College (Billings, Montana) and one from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul).

3 men, lined up, pose, at ski resort
UC Davis ski club members, from left, Trent Alder, Justin Wallasch and Nathan Kushner, pictured at Whiteface Mountain, New York, where they participated in the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association nationals. (Courtesy photo)

Wallasch, a fourth-year student majoring in business/managerial economics, also competed in giant slalom at the nationals. He was joined in New York by fellow club members Trent Alder (third-year political science major) and Nathan Kushner (third-year global disease biology major), both of whom participated in ski cross.

Campus Recreation, which administers sport clubs, contributed to this report. Read more about sport clubs.

Gymnastics accolades

The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation announced its all-conference honors in gymnastics on March 17. Kessler, a senior psychology major, scored UC Davis’ conference-high 10th Gymnast of the Year award, while also earning first-team honors in vault, balance beam, floor exercise and all-around — the only gymnast in the conference to earn four first-team awards.

Nine Aggie gymnasts, including Kessler, scored a total of 17 first- and second-team accolades.

Other first-team selections: Keanna Abraham (vault), Emily Pires (vault) and Megan Ray (floor exercise). All three are freshmen.

Second-team honors: Abraham (floor exercise), Kaitlyn Lyle (balance beam), Thea Michovsky (uneven bars), Emma Otsu (vault and balance beam), Ray (vault and balance beam), Ava Scafani (uneven bars and balance beam) and Bella Trejo (floor exercise).

Saturday (March 19), UC Davis hosted the MPSF Championship at the University Credit Union Center, with the Aggies posting a score of 196.050 to finish second behind San Jose State with a meet-record 196.425. Read Aggies Athletics coverage of the championship meet.

The championship concluded a historic season for the Aggies as they posted four scores north of 196.

The Athletics communications team contributed to this report.

Media Resources

Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556,; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932,

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