10-year-old drafted for Seawolves ski team
An Anchorage 10-year-old had one of his dreams come true after he was drafted for the University of Alaska Anchorage's ski team Wednesday.
UAA is working with national nonprofit organization Team IMPACT, to help Ryker Riggs join the Seawolves' roster for two seasons, taking part in team activities such as practices, races, team dinners and events.
Team IMPACT's mission is to improve the quality of life for children facing serious and chronic illnesses through "the power of team."
Just watching Ryker ski, you would have no idea he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in 2008. Nothing is holding him back from doing what he loves to do.
Seawolf athletes were excited to welcome him.
"We heard about his skiing abilities and his determination through the grapevine, and we thought we would let him ski with us give him a chance and see if he has what it takes to be a Seawolf," said UAA ski team member Tony Naciuk. "It's about time we let him join the ski team."
Head alpine coach Sparky Anderson welcomed Ryker to the team with a hat. He says Ryker is their secret weapon.
"I think Ryker is the big secret weapon because it inspires all of our kids to keep skiing even after practice," said Anderson.
Ryker says he's looking forward to two things this year.
"Being with my friends and going really fast," said Ryker.
This is the second match between Team IMPACT and an Alaska sports team. Last year, the UAA men's basketball team partnered with 5-year-old James Ludwig.
Since 2011, Team IMPACT has matched more than 1,700 children with more than 500 colleges and universities in 49 states.
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