Sports

Alaska sports week in review: Lots of action for UAA athletics; Houston hockey remains unbeaten

UAA women's basketball

This past week featured several impressive finishes and performances at the prep, collegiate and amateur levels across the Alaska sports landscape. It also saw some athletes with Last Frontier roots shine Outside. On the prep hockey scene, reigning Division II champion Houston ran the table at the Big Lake Tournament. On the college scene, both the University of Alaska Anchorage and University of Alaska Fairbanks had distance runners earn All-American honors at the Division II National Championship to highlight a jam-packed past seven days of action and accolades.

Headlines and highlights

Both of the University of Alaska Anchorage basketball programs played their first games against Great Northwest Athletic Conference competition this past week with a pair of home games. After suffering its first loss of the season at the hands of Montana State Billings on Thursday 68-61, the women’s team rebounded with a decisive 62-54 victory over Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

[UAA women’s basketball team suffers first loss of season in conference opener]

The men’s team went down to the wire in both of its games but came up short in each. Against the Yellowjackets on Thursday, they weren’t able to hold on to a late lead and fell 81-77 in overtime and on Saturday, they narrowly lost to the Falcons 90-87.

UAA men's basketball

[UAA men’s basketball team falls to Montana State Billings in overtime]

Seniors Vishe’ Rabb and Da’Zhon Wyche recorded double figures and led their respective programs in scoring this past week. Rabb totaled 24 points in 41 combined minutes while Wyche totaled 42 points in 68 combined minutes.

UAA senior volleyball star Eve Stephens added the most notable accolade to her already well-decorated resume this past week when she became the first player in the program’s storied history to be named the Ron Lenz D2CCA National Player of the Year. She was chosen to receive the honor after helping lead the Seawolves to one of their best regular seasons ever in which she rewrote conference and program record books.

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[UAA volleyball star Eve Stephens named Division II National Player of the Year]

Both UAA and UAF sent a contingent of distance runners to the Division II cross-country national championships down in University Place, Washington and each program had a student-athlete finish in the top 10 of their respective division and earn All-American honors in the process. Seawolves sophomore Cole Nash came in sixth place in the men’s race with a time of 29 minutes, 57 seconds while Nanooks sophomore and Fairbanks native, Kendall Kramer, came in eight place in the women’s race with a time of 20:52.2.

[UAA’s Nash, UAF’s Kramer notch top 10 finishes at DII cross country championships]

The UAA men’s hockey team was back on the ice after a 14-day hiatus and in front of its home fans for the first time since mid-October over the weekend. They were able to extend their winning streak to four straight and avenge their season-opening loss to Simon Fraser by sweeping the Red Leafs in a two-game exhibition series. The Seawolves didn’t allow a single goal in either contest and scored a combined 10 of their own between the two games. Freshman Conor Cole and senior Ben Almquist tied for the team lead in scoring with each forward recording a pair of goals over the course of the series.

[UAA hockey avenges season-opening loss to Simon Fraser with third straight win]

In addition to taking care of business on the ice, the Seawolves and head coach Matt Shasby were busy on the recruiting trail as well and signed a pair of standout junior hockey players to national letters of intent to join the team. The first was former Aberdeen Wings and current Odessa Jackalopes goalie Gergely Orosz of the NAHL and the second was Karter McNarland of the BCHL who currently leads the Powell River Kings in points and assists.

Reigning Division II Alaska state prep hockey champion Houston continued its strong title defense by extending its winning streak to six in a row after running the table and winning all three of its games at the Big Lake Tournament this past week. The Hawks outscored their opponents 17-4 and improved their record to 10-0-1 overall.

The high school skiing season had its first event on Saturday with the Service Snowball Sprint. The boys division was won by Service’s Aaron Power in a time of 6:25.0. While Power won by 16 seconds, the girls division was much closer. Service’s Meredith Schwartz edged teammate Olivia Soderstrom by just a second. Schwartz posted a time of 7:49.0, with Soderstrom right behind at 7:50.0.

The Anchorage Scholastic Bowling League returned from the Thanksgiving break with two rounds of matches between Cook Inlet Conference foes. Through the first five matches of the 2022 season, West Anchorage and Eagle River are still undefeated in the boys division at 5-0 while Bettye Davis East suffered its first two losses of the season. In the girls division, Dimond remains the lone unbeaten after handing Service its first loss of the season.

Leading the charge in the lanes for the Lynx is Maia Struble who recently announced she will be competing collegiately at Valparaiso University. She will be signing her national letter of intent on Dec. 12 at 2:30 pm at Dimond High School.

The Anchorage Wolverines kicked off their four-game series with the Kenai River Brown Bears by notching their second and third straight victories with a clean sweep in back-to-back road games at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. The Wolverines had five different players score a goal and were led in scoring by Alaskan products Aiden Westin and Trent Powell, who found the back of the net twice. Westin, of Anchorage, scored both of his goals in the first game and Powell scored both of his in his hometown of Soldotna.

Alaska stars shining Outside

Seward native and 2020 Olympic champion Lydia Jacoby produced a record-breaking performance in the women’s 100-yard breaststroke at the Minnesota Invitational in Minneapolis over the weekend. The University of Texas freshman’s mark of 57.54 was .06 seconds off of the top time that was recorded by her teammate, Anna Elendt. However, the 18-year-old did set a national record for the 17-18 age group, besting USC’s Kaitlyn Dobler’s mark of 57.71 that was set in 2021.

Eagle River native and Chugiak High School alum Derryk Snell helped the Montana State University Bobcats punch their ticket to the FCS quarterfinals over the weekend. The junior tight end hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass in the team’s 33-25 win over Weber State and extended his consecutive games with a score streak to five in a row.

Last week’s results

Prep Wrestling

Tuesday

Boys

Kenai Central 54, Nikiski 42

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Eielson 55, Delta 51

Delta 48, Hutchison 36

Eielson 72, Hutchison 29

Redington 39, Service 39

South Anchorage 51, Service 21

Wednesday

Boys

Dimond 42, Bartlett 12

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West Anchorage 40, Bettye Davis East Anchorage 35

Friday

West Valley Wolfpack 72, Kodiak 36

Lathrop Wrestling 54, Kodiak 36

North Pole Patriots 72, Wasilla 51

North Pole Patriots 42, Nenana 12

Wasilla 96, West Valley 30

North Pole 102, Kodiak 24

Wasilla 90, Lathrop 42

Kodiak 36, Nenana 6

North Pole 57, Wasilla 18

Prep Hockey

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Boys

Tuesday

South 7, Eagle River 3

Thursday

West 3, Diamond 1

Wasilla 4, Eagle River 1

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Houston 7, North Pole 0

Palmer 14, Bartlett 1

Service 5, Monroe Catholic 3

Friday

Eagle River, 4 Monroe 3

Houston 6, Palmer 2

Wasilla 3, Service 2 (OT)

Saturday

West 3, South 1

North Pole 3, Eagle Rive 1

Houston 4, Wasilla 2

Monroe Catholic 17, Bartlett 12

Prep Bowling

Boys

Tuesday

West 35, Chugiak 0

West - Matteo Rhude 258

Chugiak - Barick Stewart 119

Eagle River 33, Bartlett 2

Eagle River - Kendric Siders 258

Bartlett - Jeremija Henderson 177

Dimond 33, East 2

Dimond - Jared Krison 238

East - Damien Cruz 186

Service 31, South 4

Service - Cyrus Vareia 172

South - Jet Kmet 178

Girls

Chugiak 29, West 6

Chugiak - Lindsey Vig 168

West - Callie Justice 169

Eagle River 35, Bartlett 0

Eagle River - Grace Hardy 182

Bartlett - Tida Xiong 104

Dimond 33, East 2

Dimond - Maia Struble 245

East - Katelyn Dennis 124

Service 31, South 4

Service - Alyssa Porcelli 191

South - Ellie Shaw 114

Thursday

Boys

South 28, Bartlett 7

South - Patrick Vottis 203

Bartlett - Nicholas Jones 165

West 29, East 6

West - Donovan Gee 256

East - Colton Penetac 224

Dimond 29, Service 6

Dimond - Jared Krison 279

Service - Aaron Richard 252

Eagle River 35, Chugiak 0

Eagle River - Kendric Siders 267

Chugiak - Barrick Stewart 104

Girls

South 24, Bartlett 11

South - Stella Baldessari 121

Bartlett - Tida Xiong 96

West 31, East 4

West - Callie Justice 256

East - Katelyn Dennis 112

Dimond 22, Service 13

Dimond - Maia Struble 279

Service - Alyssa Porcelli 233

Eagle River 20, Chugiak 15

Eagle River - Grace Hardy 182

Chugiak - Rachel Bundy and Anna Parks 164

Prep skiing

Service Snowball Sprint

Boys A

1. Aaron Power, Service, 06:25.0; 2. Liam Chisholm, West, 06:41.0; 3. Murphy Kimball, West, 06:44.0; 4. Cole Flowers, West, 06:45.0; 4. Skyler Amy, Service, 06:45.0; 6. Blake Hanley, West, 06:47.0; 7. Justin Lucas, Service, 06:49.0; 8. Vebjorn Flagstag, South, 06:50.0; 9. Oskar Flora, Service, 06:54.0; 10. Elias Soule, Service, 06:55.0; 11. Ethan Eski, West, 07:02.0; 11. Ethan Howe, East, 07:02.0; 13. Owen Saltzman, Dimond, 07:10.0; 13. Owen Young, South, 07:10.0; 15. Kyle Fischer, South, 07:11.0; 15. Nolan Miller, South, 07:11.0; 15. Elias Oswald, Service, 07:11.0; 18. Noa Kam-Magruder, Dimond, 07:12.0; 18. Miles Numme-Worrell, East, 07:12.0; 20. Jacob Johnson, Dimond, 07:13.0; 20. Logan Cuddy, Service, 07:13.0; 22. Scott Johnson, South, 07:24.0; 23. Eli Lammers, Chugiak, 07:25.0; 24. Merik Silba, West, 07:31.0; 25. Dean Toole, Eagle River, 07:37.0; 26. Grayson Stanek-Alward, South, 07:40.0; 27. Alexander Glover, Dimond, 07:42.0; 28. Nathan Vanderlugt, Eagle River, 07:43.0; 29. Walker Battreall, East, 07:45.0; 30. Rylan Allwright, Chugiak, 07:50.0; 31. Brian Weatherby, Chugiak, 07:55.0; 32. Ryan Urbanus, Chugiak, 07:56.0; 32. Drake McGinley, Dimond, 07:56.0; 34. Bryce Herda, East, 08:02.0; 35. Jack Molloy, Eagle River, 08:04.0; 36. Colin Urbanus, Chugiak, 08:06.0; 37. Owen Farr, Chugiak, 08:14.0; 38. Henry Michener, Eagle River, 08:16.0; 39. Cedar Ruckel, South, 08:17.0; 40. Liam Albertson, East, 08:20.0; 41. Holten Reid, Bartlett, 08:21.0; 41. Gareth LeCrone, East, 08:21.0; 43. Liam Cleary, East, 08:31.0.

Girls A

1. Meredith Schwartz, Service, 07:49.0; 2. Olivia Soderstrom, Service, 07:50.0; 3. Amaeli Kam-Magruder, Dimond, 08:03.0; 4. Madeleine Reckmeyer, Service, 08:19.0; 4. Kiley Dennis, Chugiak, 08:19.0; 6. Marley Ireland, East, 08:20.0; 7. Emily Erickson, Dimond, 08:21.0; 8. Samantha Legate, West, 08:25.0; 8. Piper Sears, West, 08:25.0; 10. Merridy Littell, West, 08:28.0; 11. Kaleigh Amundson, Chugiak, 08:29.0; 12. Rose Conway, East, 08:30.0; 13. Berit Meyers, West, 08:31.0; 14. Zoe Rodgers, West, 08:33.0; 15. Brynn Rathert, East, 08:47.0; 16. Mia Stiassny, South, 08:48.0; 17. Heidi Schumacher, Service, 08:52.0; 18. Gema McGrew, West, 09:00.0; 19. Talia Day, Service, 09:15.0; 20. Haley Finch, Service, 09:16.0; 21. Linnea Gray, Eagle River, 09:21.0; 22. Svea Thomas, East, 09:27.0; 23. Abigail Howe, East, 09:34.0; 24. Gwendolyn MacLean, Dimond, 09:35.0; 25. Maya Tirpack, South, 09:36.0; 26. Keiko Wilson, Service, 09:49.0; 27. Adele Matthews, South, 09:54.0; 28. Beatrix Brogan, East, 09:55.0; 29. Lauren Gaskill, Dimond, 10:11.0; 30. Anita Walsh, Eagle River, 10:12.0; 31. Hannah Stepetin, Chugiak, 10:30.0; 32. Tahlia Carroll, South, 10:37.0; 33. Ada Burrup, Chugiak, 11:11.0; 34. Olivia Burrup, Chugiak, 11:13.0; 35. Skyler Harty, Chugiak, 11:45.0; 36. Katie Christenson, Chugiak, 11:54.0.

College

Women’s Basketball

Thursday

Montana State Billings 68, UAA 61

Saturday

UAA 62, Seattle Pacific 54

Men’s Basketball

Thursday

Montana State Billings 81, UAA 77 (OT)

Saturday

Seattle Pacific 90, UAA 87

Hockey

Friday

UAA 6, Simon Fraser 0

Saturday

UAA 4, Simon Fraser 0

NAHL

Friday

Anchorage Wolverines 3, Kenai River Brown Bears 2

Saturday

Anchorage Wolverines 5, Kenai River Brown Bears 2

Three things to watch for this week

Prep

Wrestling

Region IV Tournament at South Anchorage High School, Saturday 9 a.m.

The postseason for the 2022 high school wrestling season will get underway this weekend with regional action across the state. The Cook Inlet Conference title will be on the line in the home gymnasium of 2021 state runner-up South as wrestlers from throughout the Anchorage School District will aim to punch their ticket to the 2022 State Championships next weekend.

College

Basketball

William Jewell at UAA, Saturday 7 p.m. and Sunday 5 p.m. at Alaska Airlines Center

The UAA women’s basketball team will be back on its homecourt for a second weekend in a row and looking to start another winning streak when the Seawolves host the Cardinals for a two-game series. This marks the Seawolves last time playing in front of their home crowd this calendar year. Their next game in Alaska will be on the road against state rival University of Alaska Fairbanks on Jan. 7 and their next home game will be the following week against Central Washington.

NAHL

Kenai River Brown Bears at Anchorage Wolverines, Friday 7 p.m. and Saturday, 7 p.m. at Ben Boeke Ice Arena

After sweeping the Brown Bears on the road last weekend, the Wolverines will be looking to do the same on home ice this weekend to extend their winning streak before heading out of town for their last four games of the year.

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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