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Podium Pursuit

Andrew Haraghey on the mountain with skies

Andrew Haraghey trains for the Paralympics

by Rachel Terran (’18)

During the winter season, Andrew Haraghey (’18) is on the snow at nine o’clock in the morning, waiting for the first chair and ready to train. The mountains brought Andrew from Connecticut to Utah, where he is able to fulfill his athletic and academic ambitions. This year, Andrew was named to the US national Paralympic team.

Westminster allows Andrew to pursue his athletic and academic career simultaneously—offering him a unique and supportive environment in which to grow in all facets of his life. Alongside his goal to make it to the Paralympics, Andrew is working toward a degree in public health, while fulfilling the requirements for pharmacy school.  In order to balance school and skiing, Andrew takes classes during the fall and summer, reserving spring semester for ski training.

As someone with cerebral palsy, a neuralmuscular disease, Andrew’s lower limbs are constantly tight and spastic. Training is one of the best ways Andrew is able to overcome some of the challenges that come with cerebral palsy.

“The gym is one of the big ways I overcome my disability,” Andrew says. “Not only do I need the quad strength to ski, but I also need the quad strength to resist my hamstring muscle that is trying to pull me the other way.”

Between the gym and maintaining flexibility, Andrew is able to achieve results at a competitive level.

“I’ve been able to push through my disability and achieve those results after all my hard work. I never let my disability get me down,” he explains.

Skiing has been part of Andrew’s life for the last 13 years, and competitive alpine skiing has been his passion ever since he began the sport five years ago. Andrew trains 4–5 days a week through the National Ability Center (NAC) in Park City, Utah. Andrew is currently on the NAC’s competitive alpine team.

“We have a good team going,” says Andrew. “We have a couple athletes who just got back from    test events in Korea and a couple who are on the national A team, while I am on the development team—on the edge of being on the B team.”

Andrew is training toward the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea next year with the US Paralympic Alpine Team.

“My biggest goal right now with skiing is to be on the podium in the Paralympics, maybe not in Korea, but in China in four or five years,” Andrew says.

His typical training routine consists of drills, gate training, and workouts, followed by rest and recovery. For Andrew, four to five weeks out of the year are dedicated to traveling for ski racing. As a public health major fulfilling the requirements for pharmacy school, Andrew says it can be difficult finding the balance between schoolwork and training.

“Time management between concentrating on schoolwork and training, making sure you’re active in the gym, and having time to do something fun can be difficult,” Andrew says. “Sometimes you need something different to remind yourself why you really do love the sport.”

Andrew’s coaches and parents are his biggest supporters. Watching Andrew race in a national competition inspired his mom to write a children’s book entitled Andrew Can Ski: Even with C.P., a story about Andrew’s skiing career growing up with cerebral palsy.

“Skiing has been a long learning process trying to find the ways for it to work for me,” Andrew explains. “For the first three years I started skiing, my mom would hold one end of the ski pole and I would hold the other end so that I could stay up. It took me three-and-a-half years to be able to ski on my own and then another ten years or so to ski competitively as a World Cup-ranked athlete.”

As Andrew’s athletic career continues to unfold, the Westminster community is rooting for his success. From the slopes around the world to Westminster classrooms, Andrew’s positive character and hard work contribute to a life that holds meaning and passion.

Most memorable competition: “The US and Canadian nationals in Kimberley, Canada. It was the first downhill race since I broke my leg last season, and I came away with a fourth-place finish, beating all of the US National Team guys in my category.”

Age you started skiing: “My mom got me and my brother skiing when I was eight and he was seven.”

A little bit about ski racing: “Ski racing works off a point system. There isn’t one qualifier for events, but qualifying is based on how you do on all of the races leading up to a competition.”

Favorite pre-race music: “Listening to ’80s music before I race will kind of get me in the zone.”



About the Westminster Review

The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.