SAAC Spotlight: Alaska's Kryston McPhetres
McPhetres has been named to the USCSCA National All-Academic Team as an Emergency Management major.
McPhetres has been named to the USCSCA National All-Academic Team as an Emergency Management major.
Kryston McPhetres
Kryston McPhetres

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, uses this space to profile conference student-athletes who are members of their respective institutions' Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). In addition to providing feedback on the student-athlete experience, conference and institutional SAAC members also offer input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes' lives on NCAA member institution campuses. Click here for more information on the function of SAAC at the NCAA level.


Kryston McPhetres
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Cross-country skiing
Chugiak, Alaska

College major:
Emergency management

Why did you choose to attend UAF?
I chose UAF because of the opportunities provided by the ski team. Because of the long winters, we have an opportunity to start winter training earlier than most schools.

What is your favorite class you have taken in college and why?
My favorite class at UAF that I have taken is Rescue Practices. This has been my favorite class because it was a hands on course where I learned how to perform various rescue techniques in emergency situations. In this class we learned how to perform water rescues, rope rescues, and various extrication techniques.

Who is your favorite professor you've had in college and what did you enjoy about learning from him or her?
Terri Solomon is my favorite professor that I have had in college. What makes her stand out above the rest is her realistic attitude and her personal experience in the field. She is an EMT in Fairbanks who has been on many calls and experienced many different situations. In her class, we practice skills every day. Her lectures consist of demonstrations and explanations from the text. Although the class was challenging, she was able to educate us on how to be an EMT 1 and guide us to pass the state exam.

Years involved in SAAC:

The reason I chose to get involved in SAAC:
I chose to be involved in SAAC to better contribute my time to the community. The community and athletic department have done so much for my success, and I want to do my part to better others’ experiences and give others the opportunities I've had since being an athlete at UAF.

Most memorable SAAC activity:
The Nanook Olympics is the most memorable activity I have been a part of at UAF. This is an event in which all the sports teams compete against each other in the 10 sports offered at UAF. Last year, the former SAAC president and I created this event to educate other athletes on our sports. As a cross country skier, most people assume we ski downhill and don't know much about our sport. It was awesome to finally give others an opportunity to try what we do. The same can go for me trying other sports. It was challenging in different ways playing sports that involve lots coordination and relying on other teammates. This year, we are making the event even bigger and inviting the community to watch. Our goal is to raise money for Make-a-Wish and better our community engagement and involvement.

What is the most important thing you've learned from balancing the demands of athletics and academics?
The most important thing I have learned from balancing the demands of athletics and academics is time management. I find it important to do all my homework early as it takes away the unneeded stress of trying to get homework done at the last minute.

What does it mean to be a Division II student-athlete?
It is an honor to call myself a DII student-athlete. The memories I have made since being a part of the cross country running and ski team here at UAF will last me a lifetime. The people I have met and the experiences I have had are one of a kind and I have had many opportunities that I could not have dreamed about. The community and staff have been such a major part of my experiences, and that, I am thankful for.

Current mentor(s):
My current mentors include my coach Christina Turman, athletic director Gary Gray, and athletic trainers Mike Curtain and Amber Barlow.

Future goals after school:
After school I plan to pursue a career in Emergency Management. My goals are to do my part to improve the safety of the citizens of the United States and better prepare our country for disasters. Helping others is my passion, and I hope one day that I get the opportunity to use my interest of disasters in conjunction with my passion of helping other to better our future.

Biggest obstacle overcame during collegiate career:
My four years as an athlete have not been easy. Not only have I had to balance a career as a student and an athlete, I have been fighting a sports related injury since my freshman year. In my first two weeks here as a freshman I was a part of a crash in training where I sustained a concussion, whip-lash and fracture to my hip. I took care of the concussion, scrapes and bruises and whip-lash, but ignored the fracture on my hip thinking it was just a deep bone bruise. I tried to run months later but was in a lot of pain. I decided to redshirt in order to figure out what was wrong. I got an MRI and it turned out I had a torn and detached labrum, bone spurs, bone impingement, and a small fracture. At the end of my sophomore year I had my first surgery to fix the injury. All the way up to the surgery I spent hours in the gym rehabbing and trying to maintain my strength and endurance in order to return to the sport as quickly as possible. I decided to stop running and focus solely on skiing. I trained all summer while continuing PT and returned to race my junior year. Sadly, to much disappointment, I was still in lots of pain while racing. I successfully finished out the year and started PT immediately after the season to return for my senior year pain free. After a summer of unsuccessful PT, I finally decided to get another MRI and it turned out that I once again tore my labrum. I made the decision to continue skiing the season with the pain, but not to use my redshirt senior year. It has been a good year, but the injury has gotten worse. I will have surgery again in March. If it was not for the support of the coaches and athletic trainers I would not have had the success I have had. Even with the injury I have maintained my speed, endurance and love for the sport.

Best advice I’d give to an incoming freshman:
There is always a positive, even in tough times.

If I could spend the day with one person (past or present), who would it be (and why)?
My grandpa David McPhetres. My grandpa died before I was born and I never got a chance to know him, but I have heard stories from my aunt and dad. I am a part of an amazing and unique family and I could only imagine what he was like. I have had the opportunity to know my great grandparents on both sides, but wish I could have met him. He is the reason my parents are together, and if he had the judgment to know they are perfect together, then he had to be a great man.

Favorite sports team:
Toronto Maple Leafs

Most memorable sports-related moment:
It is hard to pick one memorable sports-related moment, but if I must narrow it down I would say that my last race of my junior year (2013/2014) was a highlight. All season I was struggling to be where I was before the injury and was getting real frustrated. This last race was something special. I woke up that morning very confident and ready to go. I finished in the top 15 and I felt like I was back.

One thing that people don't know about me is:
I have a phobia of frogs.