This past week was packed with regular and postseason action at both the prep and collegiate level across the Alaska sports landscape. In the final week of the high school football regular season, top-ranked Juneau completed an undefeated season by topping the last team that beat them, and Bartlett passed its toughest test since Week 2. The University of Alaska Anchorage hockey team captured a meaningful win in its return to the ice for the regular season. At the Region IV cross-country meet, South High and runner Blaise Boyer surprised the field to take wins.
Headlines and highlights
The last time the Juneau varsity football team lost was in the 2021 Division I state championship. The team that bested the Huskies was Bettye Davis East High, which won the title 30-17. The two teams faced off in the final week of the 2022 regular season Saturday and even though the Huskies had already claimed their second straight conference title, they had something to play for in completing the season with a perfect 8-0 record. Thanks to a three-touchdown performance from senior quarterback Jarrell Williams and a final defensive stand to force a turnover on downs, they were able to achieve it in a tightly contested 19-14 victory.
“There were a lot of emotions after the game,” Williams said. “We had some guys crying because last year’s team was really special, and I’m glad that we redeemed that loss for them.”
The most thrilling game of the weekend took place the night before across town when Bartlett and West went down to the wire under Friday night lights. After quickly finding themselves down 14-0 early in the first quarter, the Eagles rallied to tie it, and the two teams went back and forth in the second half. It wasn’t until junior backup quarterback Javen Esera scored what would be the game-winning touchdown on a rugged 35-yard run in the fourth quarter and senior defensive back Thalit Bayath came up with the game-sealing interception in the final minute that the Golden Bears were able to finally exhale and walk away with a 33-27 triumph.
[Battle-tested Bartlett prevails over West in CIC thriller to close out regular football season]
Top-ranked Juneau isn’t the only high school football team that completed a perfect regular season this past weekend. Defending Division II state champion Lathrop did the same with a 35-0 win over West Valley and remains on top of the latest ASBN poll for Divisions II and III in football for the eighth week in a row. Soldotna (8-0) and Houston (7-0) also finished the regular season with unblemished records while Homer (6-2) and Nikiski (4-2) round out the top 5.
The high school flag football regular season came to a close this past week with some exciting games between some of the top teams. Led by standout senior quarterback Olivia Heartwell, South avenged an earlier loss to Service by beating its rival 14-0 last Wednesday. Three days later, the Wolverines closed out the season with their second game against defending champion Dimond. After jumping out to an early 7-0, South was ultimately undone by a pair of interceptions that were returned for touchdowns that proved to be the difference on the scoreboard in the end as the Lynx prevailed 20-7.
The high school cross-country postseason began this past Saturday with the Region IV meet. The Chugiak girls continued to show they are the cream of the crop with six top-10 finishers led by star senior Campbell Peterson. On the boys side, a strong finish from Blaise Boyer of South vaulted the Wolverines into first place just ahead of Eagle River.
[South’s Boyer surprises while Chugiak girls cruise to Region IV cross-country crowns]
The boys and girls swim teams for both South and Dimond earned victories this past Friday. The Wolverines beat the Chugiak Mustangs by a combined score of 110 to 78 while the Lynx beat Service 227-140. The dominance of Dimond’s girls team led the way once again as its 130 points accounted for well over half of the team’s combined point total.
The Region IV Tennis Tournament featured singles titles for Service’s Allya Pedalino and Ulysses Escobar. West High claimed another region and conference title despite only having one individual region champion. The Eagles sent 13 of their 14 players to the semifinals and seven to the finals.
[Service’s Pedalino, Escobar take singles titles at Region IV tournament]
On the college volleyball scene, UAA swept state rival UAF 3-0 Saturday on the road. The Seawolves took care of the Nanooks to remain undefeated in conference play, extend their winning streak to nine games and improve their overall record to 17-1. They weren’t led in kills by star senior Eve Stephens as her fellow senior outside hitter Lisa Jaunet recorded a dozen. Stephens was still a close second with 11.
The UAA men’s hockey team opened the season by splitting a two-game series with nationally ranked Western Michigan. The Seawolves bested the Broncos 3-1 on Saturday night in their first game in over 930 days. The Seawolves dropped the second game of the series the following night 4-1 after allowing Western Michigan to score three goals in the third period.
[UAA hockey starts regular season with a win that brought one Seawolf’s journey full circle]
The Anchorage Wolverines got swept by the Minnesota Wilderness in a three-game road series this past weekend with each loss coming by one goal. They lost the first on Friday 3-2, dropped the second 2-1 on Saturday, and fell 4-3 in overtime in the third.
Last Week’s Results
Lathrop 35, West Valley 0
North Pole 45, Kodiak 0
Wasilla 56, Palmer 0
Houston 49, Redington 14
Chugiak 21, Homer 20
Nikiski 48, Seward 22
Bartlett 33, West Anchorage 27
Juneau 19, East 14
Soldotna 49, Eagle River 13
Barrow 28, Kenai 12
Colony 49, Service 8
Dimond 12, South Anchorage 3
South 14, Service 0
East 20, Bartlett 13
West 26, Chugiak 12
Dimond 35, Eagle River 0
Service 39, Eagle River 6
West 20, East 0
Bartlett 20, Chugiak 6
East 29, Chugiak 6
Dimond 20, South 7
Bartlett 5, Chugiak 4
Region IV Tennis Tournament
1. West 20; 2. South 13; 3 (tie). Dimond 12; Service 12; 4. (tie) Bartlett 3; Chugiak 3; Eagle River 3; 7. East 1.
No. 1 Ulysses Escobar, Service, def. Daniel Monge, East, 6-1, 6-0
Isaac Forsyth, Bartlett def. Cameron Koch, Chugiak, 6-0, 6-1
No. 4 Bryce Brooks, Dimond, def. Zach Schaffer, West, 6-3, 6-1
No. 5 Jack Baker, South def. Jack Wallace, Eagle River, 6-3, 6-0
Phoenix Perkins, Service, def. Carson Hand, Dimond, 6-1, 6-3
No. 3 Ayan Cebrian def. Carter Lestina, Chugiak, 6-0, 6-0
Zachary Elmore, East, def. Wyatt Rush, Bartlett, 6-0, 6-0
No. 2 Aaron Griffin, South, def. Tommy Molloy, Eagle River, 6-0, 6-0
Escobar def. Forsyth 6-0, 6-0
Brooks def. Baker 7-6, 6-2
Cebrian def. Perkins 6-0, 6-0
Griffin def. Elmore 6-3, 6-0
Escobar def. Brooks 6-0, 6-0
Griffin def. Cebrian 6-4, 2-6, 10-7
Escobar def. Griffin 6-4, 7-6
No. 1 Allya Pedalino, Service, bye
Amae Kam-Magruder, Dimond, def. Miyu Nakamura, Eagle River, 6-0, 6-3
No. 4 Olivia Gastrock, South def. Haley Chadwick, Bartlett, 5-7, 6-4, 10-8
No. 5 Ruth Green, West, bye
Kylee Dietz, Eagle River, def. Veronica Kester, South, 6-2, 6-0
No. 3 Azra Pedalino, Service, bye
Alison Pogue, Bartlett, def. Alyssa Walker, Dimond, 7-5, 6-3
No. 2 Antonia Yu, West, bye
Al. Pedalino def. Kam-Magruder 6-2, 6-0
Green def. Gastrock 6-1, 6-1
Az. Pedalino def. Dietz 6-0, 6-0
Yu def. Pogue 6-0, 7-6
Al. Pedalino def. Green 6-1, 6-1
Yu def. Az. Pedalino 6-1, 6-4
Al. Pedalino def. Yu 6-3, 6-0
No. 1 Cebrian/Clendaniel, West, bye
Fisk/Hemry, South, def. Kornmesser/Flanum, Service, 4-6, 6-3, 10-8
No. 4 Love/Senden, Eagle River def. Folds/Albertson, East, 6-0, 6-1
No. 5 Teasley/Yoon, Dimond def. Rocereta/Beck, Chugiak, 6-2, 6-0
Clark/Debenham, Dimond, def., Wrigley/LaValley, Service, 6-2, 2-6, 10-7
No. 3 Zimmer/Flynn, West, def. Willet/Patterson, Bartlett, 6-2, 6-1
Lattier/Erickson, Chugiak def. Couvillion/Monge, East, 6-1, 6-0
No. 2 Bailey/Ulman, South, def. Saylor/Charlestream, Eagle River, 6-1, 6-0
Cebrian/Clendaniel def. Fisk/Hemry 6-3, 6-3
Teasley/Yoon def. Love/Senden 6-3, 6-1
Zimmer/Flynn def. Clark/Debenham 6-4, 6-4
Bailey/Ulman def. Lattier/Erickson 6-1, 6-1
Cebrian/Clendaniel def. Teasley/Yoon 5-7, 6-4, 10-7
Bailey/Ulman def. Zimmer/Flynn 6-2, 6-3
Cebrian/Clendaniel def. Bailey/Ulman 6-2, 6-0
No. 1 Lief/Yang, West, bye
McGrath/Olds, Dimond def. Utterback/Ford, Eagle River, 6-3, 6-2
No. 4 Hanna/Moffett, Chugiak, bye
Kennedy/Monson, South, def. Lao/Lao, Bartlett, 7-5, 6-4
O’Leary/Li, West, def. Lewis/Hawkes, Chugiak, 6-3, 6-4
No. 3 Shen/Richardson, Service, bye
Allbritton/Xiong, Bartlett def. Bartow/Montgomery, South, 6-1, 6-4
No. 2 Fagerstrom/Spils, Dimond, bye
Lief/Yang def. McGrath/Olds 6-0, 6-0
Hanna/Moffett def. Kennedy/Monson 6-1, 6-3
O’Leary/Li def. Shen/Richardson 6-4, 6-4
Fagerstrom/Spils def. Allbritton/Xiong 6-0, 6-2
Lief/Yang def. Hanna/Moffett 6-0, 6-0
Fagerstrom/Spils def. O’Leary/Li 6-1, 6-2
Fagerstrom/Spils def. Lief/Yang 7-5, 4-6, 10-7
No. 1 Jameson/Skaaren, South, bye
No. 4 Batac/Jung, Dimond def. Her/Baqui, Bartlett, 6-0, 6-2
No. 3 Slama/McCasland, Eagle River def. Moore/Nagl-Mermelstein, Service, 6-1, 6-1
No. 2 Smith/Sedwick, West, def. Childress/Harmon, Chugiak, 6-0, 6-0
Jameson/Skaaren def. Batac/Jung 6-0, 6-1
Smith/Sedwick def. Slama/McCasland 6-1, 6-1
Jameson/Skaaren def. Smith/Sedwick 7-6, 6-3
South v Chugiak
Boys: South 52, Chugiak 42
Girls: South 58, Chugiak 36
Dimond v Service
Boys: Dimond 97, Service 86
Girls: Dimond 130, Service 54
Dimond 3, Palmer 0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-13)
West 3, Bartlett 0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-17)
Prep cross country
1. South Anchorage 66; 2. Eagle River 67; 3. West Anchorage 77; 4. Dimond 80; 5. Service 84; 6. East Anchorage 144; 7. Chugiak 147.
1. Chugiak 25; 2. South Anchorage 66; 3. Dimond 88; 4. West Anchorage 119; 5. Eagle River 134; 6. East Anchorage 137; 7. Service 138.
Service 5, Chugiak 2
Eagle River 7, West 0
UAA 3, UAF 0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-14)
UAA 3, Western Michigan 1
Western Michigan 4, UAA 1
Minnesota Wilderness 3, Anchorage Wolverines 2
Minnesota Wilderness 2, Anchorage Wolverines 1
Minnesota Wilderness 4, Anchorage Wolverines 3
Three things to watch for this week
East at West, 7:30 p.m. Friday
The quarterfinal round of the Division I playoffs will feature a rematch between crosstown rivals. The Eagles came away with a 21-6 victory at East but this time around, they’ll be hosting the Thunderbirds at the Nest on Hillcrest. Both teams are coming off tough losses in the final week of the regular season and will be looking to rebound in the opening round of the postseason.
Dimond at Bartlett, 3 p.m. Friday
The other Division I postseason game in town this weekend will feature another regular-season rematch between the Golden Bears and Lynx. When these two teams last met, it was on Dimond’s home turf and Bartlett came away with a lopsided 41-14 victory. They both ended the regular season with a decisive win as the Golden Bears won their sixth straight and the Lynx earned their first since Week 2 and first victory in conference.
State Tennis Tournament and State Cross-Country Meet
The postseason for both sports officially got underway this past weekend and will continue this upcoming week and weekend. Bartlett will host the state meet for cross country Saturday and on the tennis front, the Alaska Club East will once again be the venue for the state tournament as it was for the Region IV tournament. State tennis starts Thursday and runs through Saturday.