Van Williams | Alaska Sports Hall of Fame

Dick Mize just wanted a place for kids to ski. John Brown just wanted to play basketball. Michaela Hutchison was just following in her family’s footsteps. What started as small ideas turned into something big.

Mize, Brown and Hutchison joined Nancy Pease and the Iron Dog to make up the Class of 2015 for the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.

Those five, plus the recipients of four Directors Awards, were honored Thursday night at the Anchorage Museum.

“It’s a huge honor,” said Mize, the revolutionary designer of nordic ski trails in Anchorage. “The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame is one of those things you look up to, but you don’t think too much about being there yourself until it happens. I’m real honored to be there.”...

Van Williams | Alaska Sports Hall of Fame

The Connecticut Sun play basketball like the stock market, winning six in a row and then losing four straight.

They got back on track with a 78-76 victory over Tulsa, needing a late bucket to seal the deal. Afterwards one of the veteran Connecticut players called out her teammates, demanding more focus.

She wasn’t talking about Kelsey Griffin of Eagle River.

Griffin is having another strong season in the WNBA and is on page to average career highs in rebounds and blocked shots despite her shooting struggles.

Griffin, a Chugiak High graduate, is averaging 4.8 points in 18 games this season but shooting only 30.8 percent from the field. She came into the season firing at a 38.8 clip...

Van Williams | Alaska Sports Hall of Fame

Chugiak’s Christine Henie and the Western Washington University women’s rowing team lost out on a national championship by the slimmest of margins.

Just two points separated the top three teams, the closest finish in the history of the NCAA Division II Championships.

Humboldt State [Calif.] won the title with 16 points, one more than defending champion Nova Southeastern [Fla.] and two more than Western Washington.

Henie, a senior team captain, sits No. 3 on the WWU’s eight-person boat. Her team just needed to finish second or better in the grand finale to secure the team’s national title...

Van Williams | Alaska Sports Hall of Fame

After a long layoff from major competition, Janay DeLoach Soukup of Fairbanks returned to the long jump this weekend at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore. That was the good news. Forced to change her takeoff technique on the eve of her first jump, the 28-year-old Alaskan never found her rhythm and finished seventh in a powerful field that included some of the best women in the world.

DeLoach Soukup’s best jump – taking off on her weaker foot, mind you – was just more than 21 feet, a far cry from when she’s 100 percent.

“Not bad for jumping off my right with one jump practice,” she said on Twitter. “Feels horrible getting last regardless of the situation. Even more #hungry.”...

Van Williams | Alaska Sports Hall of Fame

As one of the hardest throwers in Alaska, West High pitcher Dalton Chapman was able to intimidate most batters with just one pitch -- his fastball, which has been clocked at 89 mph.

Then the 6-foot-5 right-hander added a 12-to-6 curveball to his arsenal and he became almost untouchable. His strikeouts went up from 55 last season to 77 this season.

"In counts where people assumed I'd throw a fastball, I'd mix it up and throw my curveball," Chapman said. "I think that's the reason why I struck out a lot of batters. I just kept them guessing."

There is no guessing when it comes to the best baseball player in the Cook Inlet Conference...

Van Williams | Alaska Sports Hall of Fame

Former East High football player Caleb Holley has signed with the Buffalo Bills after rookie minicamp.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound wide receiver was an undrafted free agent and the only tryout player from the minicamp who ended up getting signed to the team’s 90-man roster. Holley finished his college career at East Central University in Oklahoma after playing his first two years at San Francisco City.

Last season, the Anchorage native set a school record at East Central with 970 receiving yards on 55 catches. He hauled in nine touchdowns. He set the school’s single-game record with 224 yards against Southern Nazarene.

Holley earned second-team All-Great American Conference honors...

Van Williams | Alaska Sports Hall of Fame

When it comes to running the 1,500 meters, nobody does it at Michigan Tech better than Anchorage’s Jani Lane.

The sophomore from Anchorage's Service High School owns four of the five fastest times in Michigan Tech history, including a school record 3:46.53 posted earlier this season.

Now he has a chance to give the school a national title. Lane qualified for the 1,500 final at the NCAA D2 Track and Field Championships in Michigan after finishing fourth in the first heat of the prelims. He ran a 3:55.61, the fifth fastest time in Michigan Tech history...

Van Williams | Alaska Sports Hall of Fame

Tyler Bennett of Anchorage might be the best Alaska athlete you’ve never heard of. The first-year University of Idaho decathlete earned second-team all-conference honors with a sixth-place finish at the Western Athletic Conference Championships in Utah.

Bennett finished the grueling 10-event competition with 5,894 points. Here is a breakdown of his performance in each event:

• 100 meters: fifth in 11.66 seconds;

• Long jump: fourth at 21 feet, 4.25 inches;

• Shot put: sixth with 34 feet;

• High jump: fifth at 5 feet, 11.5 inches;

• 400 meters: fourth in 52.69 seconds;

• 110 hurdles: sixth in 16.41 seconds;

• Discus: seventh with 95 feet;

• Pole vault: fifth at 12 feet, 9.5 inches;...

Van Williams | Alaska Sports Hall of Fame

Trevor Dunbar of Kodiak finished second in the 5,000-meter run at the Pac-12 Track and Field Championships on Sunday.

The 23-year-old All-American hit the finish in 13 minutes, 45.26 seconds to finish about four seconds behind winner Lawi Lalang of Arizona. Dunbar edged his junior teammate Eric Jenkins by one-hundredth of second.

Dunbar entered the championships in Pullman, Wash., with the NCAA’s fourth fastest time [13:32.38].

“I’ve had a full year where I’ve been 100 percent healthy and training,” Dunbar told the Eugene Register-Guard. “I’m building on my confidence with every race. I’m fulfilling my expectations and I’m liking where I am right now.”

Two years ago, Dunbar finished sixth in the 5,000 at the NCAA Championships...

Van Williams | Alaska Sports Hall of Fame

A return to the starting lineup did wonders for Andre Laws of Anchorage and Sao Jose’s basketball team. Laws hit 4-of-5 three-pointers and dropped in 18 points to key an 83-78 victory over Paulistano, evening the Brazilian league semifinal series at 1-1.

The former East High all-star came off the bench in Game 1 and managed only four points in an 88-71 loss. The best-of-five series continues Sunday with Game 3. Laws has averaged 11 points in 40 games this season...

Van Williams | Alaska Sports Hall of Fame