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Alaska sports digest for Dec. 19

UAA athletics

UAA 17th in Cup standings

With the NCAA Division II fall championship season in the books, UAA ranks 17th in the Learfield Sports Director's Cup standings, putting the Seawolves in the top six percent of all Division-II schools.

This is the fourth straight season UAA sits in the top 20 following the fall season. At 14th, Western Washington is the highest ranked school from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

The Seawolves top fall performers were the men's and women's cross-country running teams, which, led by individual national champion Micah Chelimo, each finished in the top six at the NCAA Championships in November.

The rankings quantify the national success of all 300 NCAA Div. II programs and will be updated after the winter championship season in April and finalized in June. The Seawolves are coming off a program-best 16th-place finish in last season's Director's Cup standings.

soccer

Asplund honored

Anchorage's Laura Ellen Asplund received a regional U.S. Youth Soccer TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year award, TOPSoccer announced Wednesday.

The award goes to role models who create fun learning experiences as a mentor, advocate, coach or administrator. Asplund, 15, was honored for her work as a certified TOPSoccer coach who encourages her friends to embrace and enjoy the game.

Asplund also maintains a 4.0 GPA as a sophomore at Grace Christian and has enjoyed success as a soccer player as a member of the Alaska Olympic Development Program team.