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Seawolf Hall of Fame adds hockey scorer Glencross, sprinter Pearce and super-supporter Olson

  • Author: Doyle Woody
  • Updated: August 23, 2017
  • Published August 22, 2017

Curtis Glencross was a goal-scoring winger who was about as subtle as a hammer, and he helped spearhead the most momentous turnaround in UAA hockey history.

Mary Pearce was a tenacious quarter-miler whose stride was as elegant as it was explosive, and her Seawolves record in the 400-meter dash still stands.

And Bobbi Ramos Olson has been a Seawolves supporter for so long her fingerprints — green and gold, no doubt — have been all over the school's athletic programs since they debuted four decades ago.

The contributions of Glencross, Pearce and Olson at UAA merged Tuesday, when the school announced the trio as the Class of 2017 in the Seawolf Hall of Fame.

The three, honored by a committee of staff, coaches, boosters, volunteers and faculty, will be inducted in an Oct. 8 public ceremony at the Alaska Airlines Center on campus. The Seawolf Hall of Fame inducted its inaugural class in 2001.

Glencross spent two seasons at UAA (2002-04) before the NHL beckoned following his sophomore year, and he parlayed a contract with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks — that deal came with a $750,000 signing bonus — into a career that included eight-plus seasons in the world's best league.

When Glencross arrived at UAA from Canada, he carried 180 pounds on his 6-foot frame, and that reported weight was probably generous. He played as if he was 6-3 and 220, and committed to a perpetual search-and-destroy mission. He used his speed to race in on the fore-check and batter defensemen. That demeanor was carryover from his mid-teens, when he was tiny for his age and ferocity made up for his lack of size.

Glencross racked a team-leading 11 goals as a freshman, but the Seawolves endured the worst season in school history. They won their first game, and never won another, going 1-28-7. Glencross, an emotional player who wore his heart on his sweater and played with a boulder on his shoulder, stewed.

As a sophomore, though, Glencross and his teammates soared. He scored a team-high 21 goals and 34 points, the Seawolves shocked host Wisconsin in first-round playoff series and advanced to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five for the first time. In St. Paul, Minnesota, they beat Colorado College in the play-in game before falling to North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth. Glencross scored a goal in each of those last two games, and his 45-foot slapper top-shelf in his last college game entered into Seawolves lore as the $750,000 goal.

Glencross, who retired from hockey in 2015, owns records among former Seawolves for most NHL goals (134), assists (141), points (275) and games played (507). He lives in the Calgary area, where he and wife Tanya have three kids — Karter, Paisley and Stratton — and his Glencross Invitational Charity Roughstock Event has raised more than $1 million for Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta and minor hockey in Alberta.

Pearce, a Dimond High graduate, transferred back home to UAA after starting her college track career at Baylor in Texas. She immediately excelled, winning the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year honor in 2006, when she swept the 200 and 400 at the conference meet and became the first UAA sprinter to qualify for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships. At the NCAAs, Pearce broke the GNAC record in the preliminaries with her 54.82-second run and slashed it to 54.20 in the finals to finish fifth and seize All-America honors.

In 2007, Pearce again won the GNAC 400, and again twice lowered her GNAC record in the one-lap race, going 53.88 in the prelims and 53.56 in finals to finish fourth and claim another All-America. Her 53.56 has stood for a decade.

Now Mary Ahonen — she and Adam married in 2012 — the decorated sprinter teaches at Service High. The couple has a young son, Olin, and a second child on the way.

Olson contributions to UAA athletics stretch back to 1978, when she served on the committee for the inaugural Great Alaska Shootout men's basketball tournament, which was then called the Sea Wolf Classic. In 1980, she chaired the committee for the inaugural Northern Lights Invitational women's basketball tournament, which eventually moved under the Great Alaska Shootout umbrella. Olson also is on the short list of people who have attended every basketball tournament in UAA history.

Olson, a former financial planner, has served on committees to find athletic directors and basketball coaches. She has coordinated fundraisers and auctions, and served on the Interscholastic Athletic Board, and currently serves on the UAA Advisory Committee. Olson and husband Jim have donated generously to the athletic department — a conference room at the Alaska Airlines Center on campus is named after them — and also helped start the Seawolf Legacy Fund, and long traveled to UAA games Outside.