This past week featured milestone performances and achievements by several teams and individual athletes at both the prep and collegiate level across the Alaska sports landscape. In Week 7 of the high school football season, top-ranked Juneau not only stayed undefeated, they won its second straight conference title, Colony bounced back with a big win over West and Chugiak beat rival Eagle River for the first time in three years. The prep cross-country regular season came to a close and saw two schools have a pair of top-three finishers at the Chugiak Smokin’ Stampede.
Headlines and highlights
This past weekend’s football action kicked off with a matchup between a pair of Division I teams ranked in the top 5 of the ASBN polls and resulted in a huge-bounce back win for Colony which won 37-17 over West on Friday. After the Knights’ defense got bulldozed by Bartlett last week, they rebounded by coming away with six interceptions and snapping the Eagles’ three-game winning streak. Senior quarterback Jack Nash led the charge on both sides of the ball with five total touchdowns and a pair of intercepted passes. He ran for three scores, threw for one and caught another from his favorite target Jayce Underwood.
The following afternoon, the top-ranked Juneau Huskies stayed red-hot with a commanding 49-32 win over the Service Cougars down in the state’s capital city to claim the Cook Inlet Conference title for the second year in a row. They racked up nearly 500 yards on the ground, had four players find the end zone, and scored their most points of the season on their way to improving their record to a perfect 7-0.
For the first time since 2019, the Chugiak football team came out on top of the “Battle of the Bridge” after besting rival Eagle River 16-14 in Saturday afternoon. The Mustangs were led to victory by an opportunistic defense that came away with five turnovers and the clutch play of senior kicking specialist Andrew Nielson, who successfully converted 3-of-4 field goal attempts including the game-winner from 37 yards with seven seconds left in the game.
In his first game back from injury after missing the last two weeks, Bettye Davis East starting quarterback Azariah Atonio spoiled Dimond’s homecoming night by leading the Thunderbirds to a 29-26 victory over the Lynx on Saturday. The junior went 11-of-20 for 221 yards, two passing touchdowns and one interception. The win lifted East back into the top five of the ASBN polls for the first time since Week 2.
Lathrop remains on top of the latest ASBN poll for Divisions II and III in football for the seventh week in a row with Soldotna still a close second. Both teams boast perfect 7-0 records and are two of three unbeaten teams in the poll, along with Division III Houston, which improved to 6-0. Homer (6-1) and Barrow (4-3) round out the top 5.
The high school cross-country regular season came to a close this past Saturday with the Chugiak Smokin’ Stampede. A pair of schools had several top 10 finishers in the boys and girls varsity division. The Grace Christian boys came in first place and were led by David Sliwinski who finished first followed by Seth Lochmann at third, Robbie Annett at sixth, and Colton Merriner at ninth. The Chugiak girls came in first place as well and were led by another dominant performance from Campbell Peterson who finished first followed by Addison Capozzi in second, Skyler Belmear at seventh, Emily Moore at ninth and Petra Knox at 10th.
The Dimond boys and girls swim teams cruised to victories over Chugiak this past Friday. The Lynx had several swimmers finish first in multiple individual events and were a part of relay teams that came first place as well at the dual meet. Isabelle Borke finished first in the girls 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard freestyle and was a member of the first-place 200-medley and freestyle relay teams as well.
On the prep tennis front, a pair of rival schools squared off on the court for two tightly contested matches in the past week. South narrowly defeated Service 5-4 on Thursday at the Alaska Club East and Chugiak bested Eagle River by the same score on Friday.
The top two teams in prep volleyball in the state faced off this past Friday and while the Dimond varsity football team came up short on homecoming weekend, the Lynx volleyball team did not. Energized by a rowdy crowd, Dimond prevailed over rival West 3-1 to remain undefeated both in the CIC and against Alaska competition all together.
On the college volleyball scene, the University of Alaska Anchorage got another record-setting performance from senior outside hitter Eve Stephens as the Seawolves pushed their winning streak to eight matches in a row and remained undefeated in conference play. Stephens was named GNAC Offensive Player of the Week for the second straight week and for a record breaking 11th time in her career after she recorded a combined 33 kills over two matches including a 3-0 sweep over nationally ranked Western Washington last Thursday. This past Saturday, she also broke the program record for career kills with 21 against Simon Fraser. In that same game, senior setter Ellen Floyd recorded 40 assists in a “well-rounded” performance according to UAA head coach Chris Green.
The UAA men’s cross-country team was paced at the Bill Roe Classic by standout sophomore Cole Nash on Saturday in Ferndale, Washington. He was the top collegiate finisher after covering the 8K course in 24 minutes, 25 seconds. Both the men’s and women’s team finished in sixth place at the event with Elle Stevens recording the best time of any Seawolf in the women’s division with a finish of 23:04, which was good enough for 21st place.
The Anchorage Wolverines came out on top of their three-game road series with the Chippewa Steel this past week by winning two out of the three contests. They narrowly won the first 3-2, dropped the second 5-2, and handily won the third 6-3. Forward Jackson Reineke led the team in scoring with three goals, all of which came in the last two games of the series that included a two-goal performance in the third game.
Last Week’s Results
Colony 37, West 17
West Valley 41, Kodiak 6
Soldotna 48, Wasilla 14
Homer 46, Nikiski 36
Chugiak 16, Eagle River 14
East 29, Dimond 26
Bartlett 64, South 43
Juneau 49, Service 32
Houston 40, Kenai 6
Barrow 42, Redington 6
Lathrop 42, North Pole 8
Service 12, East 6
South 35, Bartlett 0
Dimond 32, Chugiak 7
West 16, Eagle River 8
West 26, Bartlett 6
Service 25, Chugiak 7
South 46, Eagle River 0
Dimond 41, East 0
South 6, Chugiak 3
Dimond 5, Service 4
Eagle River 8, Bartlett 0
Eagle River 7, Bartlett 1
West 9, Bartlett 0
West 8, Dimond 1
South 5, Service 4
Chugiak 5, Eagle River 4
Dimond 7, Bartlett 2
West 6, South 3
Service 5, Eagle River 3
Dimond v Chugiak
Boys: Dimond 103, Chugiak 68
Girls: Dimond 106, Chugiak 64
West 3, Chugiak 0 (25-23, 25-18, 29-27)
South 3, Service 1 (21-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-20)
Dimond 3, Eagle River 0 (25-10, 25-13, 26-14)
Dimond 3, West 1 (25-19, 17-25, 25-14, 25-11)
South 3, East 2 (25-21, 20-25, 25-18, 20-25, 16-14)
Prep cross country
1. Grace Christian 40, 2. South Anchorage 96, 3. Colony 98, 4. Eagle River 104, 5. West Anchorage 127, 6. Dimond 148, 7. Service 191, 8. East Anchorage 209, 9. Chugiak 228, 10. Palmer 284, 11. Wasilla 298, 12. Nome-Beltz 348, 13. Anchorage Christian 350, 14. Redington 456, 15. Kotzebue 479, 16. Barrow 490, 17. Fort Yukon 533
1. Chugiak 27, 2. South Anchorage 50, 3. Dimond 107, 4. West Anchorage 129, 5. Eagle River 143, 6. East Anchorage 158, 7. Service 186, 8. Grace Christian 230, 9. Bartlett 264, 10. Redington 279, 11. Kotzebue 335, 12. Palmer 358, 13. Barrow 364
South 4, Dimond 3
West 5, Service 2
Eagle River 7, Chugiak 0
Bartlett 7, East 0
West 5, South 2
UAA 3, Western Washington 0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-22)
UAA 3, Simon Fraser 1 (25-16, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21)
Bill Roe Classic
Men’s: 1. Western Washington; 2. Simon Fraser; 3. University of Victoria, 6. UAA
Women’s: 1. Western Washington; 2. Simon Fraser; 3. Bellingham Distance Project; 6. UAA
Anchorage Wolverines 3, Chippewa Steel 2
Chippewa Steel 5, Anchorage Wolverines 2
Anchorage 6, Chippewa Steel 3
Three things to watch for this week
Bartlett at West, 7 p.m. Friday
The final week of the high school football regular season will kick off with a matchup between a pair of teams ranked in the top five of the latest ASBN polls when the Golden Bears travel to the Nest on Hillcrest to take on the Eagles. While No. 4 West will be looking to rebound from a lopsided loss to No. 3 Colony, No. 2 Bartlett is coming off its second outing of scoring over 60 points in the last three weeks with the intention of extending its winning streak to six in a row heading into the postseason.
CIC Tennis Tournament and CIC Cross-Country Meet
The postseason is officially here for the fall high school season. This weekend Bartlett will host the CIC cross-country meet on Saturday, with the varsity races scheduled for 1:40 p.m. for the girls and 2:20 p.m. for the boys. On the tennis front, the Alaska Club East will be the venue for the CIC tournament, which runs Friday and Saturday.
Western Michigan at UAA, 6:07 p.m. Saturday and 5:07 p.m. Sunday
The Seawolves made their long-awaited return after a two-year hiatus Friday against Simon Fraser in an exhibition game. But they will get the regular-season portion of their schedule started this weekend at the Seawolf Sports Complex with a two-game series against the Broncos.