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Going for Greatness

Alexis Skarda, ’13, was a two sport student-athlete at CMU and is now a professional athlete

When Alexis Skarda began college, she was all about running. A cross-country and track and field athlete, Skarda was Gunnison-bound following high school. Then she got a message that changed her life.

It was from Guy (Gig) Ledbetter, the CMU cross-country coach, inviting her to CMU. By the end of her campus visit, she was a Maverick.

Running can be hard on the body, rife with painful overuse injuries. A competitive runner since 4th grade, running caught up with Skarda shortly after the fall cross-country season of her freshman year.  She was out for the following spring’s track and field competitions. 

Despite the injury, Skarda wanted to stay in shape so she pivoted to cycling and joined the CMU Cycling Team for the road biking season.

“A lot of programs wouldn’t let one of their athletes do another sport,” said Skarda. “But Coach Ledbetter let me follow my own path and do what I needed to do.”

After a successful season on her bike, Skarda became a two-sport athlete.

During the 5.5 years that Skarda was at CMU, she ran for a total of four years, with a semester off each year to recuperate, and cycled for a total of three years. She won three collegiate national championships in cross-country mountain biking. She also earned degrees in adaptive kinesiology and K-12 education. 

A two-time NCAA All-American in cross country and the indoor track and field mile, as well as an NCAA All-American in the outdoor 5000-meter run, Skarda had a stellar career. 

But in the end, competitive mountain biking is what stuck. Now she is a professional mountain bike athlete for Santa Cruz Bicycles, and works part-time for Grand Junction-based TowWhee and Spintertainment, both of which have direct ties to mountain biking.

Skarda will miss this year’s Hall of Honorees induction, as she will be competing in the Mountain Bike Marathon National Championships. 

“Although I won’t be at Homecoming, I am really excited to be a part of the Hall of Honorees,” she said. “I want to thank everyone at CMU.”



Graduation Year: 2013


Hometown: Boulder, Colorado


Profession: Professional Mountain Bike Athlete


Favorite CMU Professor: Guy Ledbetter, Kinesiology


Most Memorable Book: Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi


Favorite Place Visited: Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec


Life Mott Go for greatness (courtesy of Professor Ledbetter)


Hobbies: Making electronic music


Accomplishments: So far in 2021, Skarda has won the Breck Epic, the Telluride 100 and took 2nd at the Mountain Bike Nationals in Winter Park.



Written by Kristen Lummis