Sports

Alaska sports week in review: Juneau football stays on top; Service hands South first flag football loss; UAA runner Cole Nash continues to dominate

This past week featured several dominant performances across the Alaska sports landscape at both the prep and collegiate level. On the high school football front, Juneau stayed undefeated with a statement win over Colony, while Bartlett steamrolled Dimond to win its second straight. The University of Alaska Anchorage volleyball team continued its hot start to the season with its first taste of conference play on the horizon, and the men’s cross-country team claimed another victory over in-state rivals.

[Bartlett High dominates Dimond on both sides of the ball for second straight win]

Headlines and highlights

The most highly anticipated Division I prep football game in Week 4 failed to live up to the hype as the Juneau Huskies improved their record to 4-0 with a commanding come-from-behind 42-13 victory over the Colony Knights. Both teams came into the game with perfect records but in the battle of the unbeatens, it was the team from the state’s capital city that proved to be in a class of their own. After trailing 13-0 in the first half, Huskies were powered by star running back Jamal Johnson, who ran for 337 yards and three touchdowns.

The team that took Colony’s spot as the No. 2 team in the latest ASBN polls despite having one less win because they had a bye in Week 1 was Bartlett. While the Huskies were running the Knights into the ground out in the Valley, the Golden Bears were grinding the Dimond Lynx into submission on the same night. Their punishing rushing attack was led by senior running back Nico Aleilefaleula, who recorded 164 yards and a touchdown on the ground; all five of the team’s other scores came courtesy of the running game as well.

Bettye Davis East High, Football, North Creek Wa,

The North Creek varsity football team from Bothell, Washington, flew up to Alaska to kickoff their 2022 campaign and enjoy a “once in a lifetime” experience for most of their players and coaches. The Jaguars did a lot of team bonding activities off the field, and on the field, they bested defending Division I Alaska state champion Bettye Davis East by handing them their third straight loss in a 41-16 defeat.

[A Washington football team got its first win this year vs. East High, and ‘an experience of a lifetime’ in Alaska]

The only team that has kept top-ranked Juneau from scoring more than 30 points thus far this season has been West High, which held the Huskies to 14 points in Week 3 and improved their overall record to 2-2 in Week 4 with a 40-20 win over Service. The Eagles also used a potent running game to notch the victory and were powered by a pair of rushing scores from juniors Mason Tanoa and Damien Iloilo. Their other two scores came on a touchdown pass from Tanoa to junior tight end Aaron Hampton and a 70-yard kickoff return by senior Roman Fritz, where he reversed field and followed a convoy of blockers up the left sideline.

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Lathrop continues to lead the ASBN poll for Divisions II and III in football. At 4-0, the Malemutes are one of three unbeaten teams in the poll. Soldotna is also 4-0 and Houston is 3-0. Homer (3-1) and West Valley (2-2) round out the top 5.

For the second straight week, sophomore Cole Nash led the UAA men’s cross-country team to victory over instate rival UAF and was named Great Northwest Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week. This time, the meet was in Anchorage last Saturday and he covered the eight-kilometer course in 25 minutes, 22 seconds, to notch his fifth career win.

The UAA volleyball team continued its strong start to the 2022 season by going 3-1 at the Nanook Classic. Leading the Seawolves’ offensive effort for a third straight week was senior Eve Stephens, who recorded double-digit kills in all four of their matches, including outings of 20 and 31 in back-to-back matches. Stephens finished the tournament with 80 total. She led the team in that statistical category in all but one match and was named the AVCA National Player of the Week and GNAC Offensive Player of the Week. Fellow senior Ellen Floyd recorded 39 assists against the University of Findlay to become the seventh player in GNAC history to surpass the 4,000 mark, and recorded 64 assists in the next match against Florida Southern.

The Service High varsity volleyball team bounced back from a 3-0 loss to Dimond on Tuesday with a 3-1 win over Eagle River on Thursday. Seniors Anna Fenn and Camryn Steven both had standout performances for the Cougars in their third win of the season. Steven recorded 27 assists and Fenn had the volleyball equivalent to a double-double with team highs in kills with 18 and digs with 16.

Service’s volleyball team wasn’t the only program to have success in their respective arena in the past week. The school’s flag football team won pair of games in polar opposite fashions. Two days after going a perfect 16-for-16 passing for 205 yards in a lopsided win over Chugiak, quarterback Geta Helgeson led the Cougars to a last-minute rally over rival South. She connected with her favorite target Zoe Witter for an 80-yard touchdown on fourth down and then again for the go-ahead two-point conversion to win the game and hand the Wolverines their first loss of the season.

While the South varsity flag football team got its first taste of defeat this season, the Dimond Lynx stayed hot with a pair of victories last week that featured standout performances from a couple of upperclassmen. Senior Ellie Cunningham caught three touchdown passes in the team’s 33-0 win over East and junior Mai Mateaki scored four all-purpose touchdowns, which included three rushing and one on a 65-yard punt return in a 41-0 win over Eagle River.

West High swimmer Ari Kaufman broke a school record in the 100-meter butterfly that stood for nearly five decades in a dual meet against Chugiak this past Friday. He swam a 53.06; the previous record was set 45 years ago by Clark Rush, who swam a 54.91 in 1977.

Last week’s results

Prep football

Friday

Juneau 42, Colony 13

Bartlett 41, Dimond 14

West Anchorage 40, Service 20

Soldotna 42, South Anchorage 8

North Pole 48, Redington 7

West Valley 27, Wasilla 25

Houston 42, Kodiak 0

Chugiak 20, Palmer 0

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Homer 38, Kenai Central 20

Saturday

North Creek 41, East 16

Lathrop 35, Eagle River 7

Flag Football

Tuesday

Service 42, Chugiak 0

Dimond 33, East 0

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West 22, Bartlett 0

South 39, Eagle River 0

Thursday

Service 14, South 13

Dimond 41, Eagle River 0

East 19, Bartlett 6

West 28, Chugiak 0

Prep tennis

Monday

South 7, Chugiak 2

Tuesday

Dimond 8, Eagle River 1

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Chugiak 5, Eagle River 4

Service 5, South 3

West 7, Bartlett 2

Friday

Service 6, Eagle River 2

West 5, South 4

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Swimming

Double-dual meet

Girls

Team Scores

1. Dimond 149, 2. South, 128.

1. South 216, 2. Bartlett, 23.

1. Dimond 189, 2. Bartlett, 26.

Boys

Team Scores

1. Dimond 184, 2. South 88

1. South 156, 2. Bartlett 11

1. Dimond 205, 2. Bartlett 10

Volleyball

Tuesday

Dimond 3, Service 0 (25-21, 25-10, 25-15)

Thursday

Service 3, Eagle River 1 (25-20, 25-17, 19-25, 25-14)

College

Cross Country

Seawolf Throwdown

Saturday

Men’s

UAA 37, UAF 18

Women’s

UAF 32, UAA 23

Volleyball

Thursday

UAA 3, Findlay 0 (25-8. 25-21, 25-19)

Friday

Florida Southern 3, UAA 2 (25-22, 26-24, 17-25, 23-25, 15-12)

UAA 3, Black Hills St. (25-13, 25-20, 25-19)

Saturday

UAA 3, Arkansas-Fort Smith 1 (25-17, 25-15, 20-25, 25-20)

Three things to watch for this week

Prep football

Dimond at West, 7 p.m. Friday

After a lopsided win over Service in Week 4, West remains in the No. 4 spot in the latest ASBN poll. They will be looking to soar even higher on their homecoming night with a strong performance against the Lynx, who will be looking to stop their losing skid and win their first conference game.

Cross Country

George Plumley XC Invitational

Nearly 40 different high schools from across the state and even one from out of the state will descend upon the Mat-Su area this upcoming Saturday for the third annual year of the multi-school and division event out in Palmer. The lone out-of-state school in attendance is Seattle Prep and several of Alaska’s top prep programs will be participating as well.

Volleyball

After going 3-1 at the Nanook Classic, the UAA volleyball team will be getting its first GNAC competition later this week in a two-game homestand. Stephens is just 17 kills away from breaking the conference record for career kills, a mark that could fall this week.

The Seawolves will play the undefeated Saint Martin’s Saints on Thursday at 7 p.m. and the Western Oregon Wolves at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

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