Alaska sports notebook: 19-year-old bests former Iditarod champion in Kusko Season Opener, UAA women’s basketball breaks program record with road win

At just 19 years old, Raymond Alexie of Kwethluk cruised to a first place finish in the Kuskokwim 300 Season Opener to start the Delta Championship Series on a strong tone. He bested 2019 Iditarod Champion Pete Kaiser of Bethel by a whopping 14 minutes.

“I thought they were close going back to the finish line until somebody said that they were far so I just let the dogs slow down and paced them,” Alexie said.

The race included 21 mushers and covered 32 miles of tundra trail from Bethel to Atmautluak and back again. According to race manager Paul Basile, he was one of four racers under the age of 20 and there were also “a couple in their 60s.”

This year, the Kusko 300 race committee installed the Delta Championship Series, which includes six races and will crown an overall points champion at the end of the season.

Dog mushing is a family tradition for Alexie as his father, uncle and cousin also participate in the sport but none of them have enjoyed the same level of success he has had in his young career.

Seawolves hoops set new road record

The University of Alaska Anchorage women’s basketball team rebounded from a blowout loss in southern California to Cal State Dominguez Hills on Sunday by turning around and getting back in the win column with a lopsided victory of their own on Monday by beating Bethesda University 108-29 in record-setting fashion.

The Seawolves’ 79-point margin of victory in their nonconference finale was the fourth largest program history and the largest ever for an away game. They had four different players record double figures in points led by freshman guard and King Cove product, Elaina Mack who scored a career-high 22 points.


Right behind her was junior guard, Hayley Berfield, who also set a new career-high with 21 points. Senior guards Vishe’ Rabb and Ra’Anaa Bey finished third and fourth on the team in scoring with 18 and 11 points, respectively.

The No. 14 ranked Seawolves will be back in action and back on the road following holiday break when they start their conference slate for the remainder of the season on Dec. 29. UAA will play defending Great Northwest Athletic Conference champion Western Washington, which is currently 7-1 and riding a seven-game win streak.

UAA volleyball star receives another prestigious award

Even though her sensational senior season in which she rewrote program and conference record books ended over a month ago, the elite honors continue to come for UAA’s Eve Stephens except this time, it wasn’t just for her incredible play on the court alone.

On Wednesday, Stephens, from Palmer, became the first player in program history to be voted First Team Academic All-American by the College Sports Communicators. She earned a 3.91 overall grade-point average in accounting and just graduated with magna cum laude honors last week at the school’s winter commencement.

Her long list of outstanding accomplishments already included being named a unanimous first-team All-American and the D2CCA Ron Lenz National Player of the Year, a unanimous Great GNAC Player of the Year and NCAA DII West Region Player of the Year, and a three-time CSC Academic All-District and four-time Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Academic Team honoree.

Anchorage to host Team USA Biathlon Trials

For the first time in nearly a decade, Alaska’s largest city will host the US Biathlon Youth and Junior World Championships Trials. The five-day event will run from Dec. 27-31, take place at Kincaid Park, and will both decide the Youth and Junior World Championship Team as well as fill the last spots for the FISU World University Games to be held in Lake Placid, New York in January 12-22, 2023.

“We look forward to the exciting Youth and Junior World Championship trials in Anchorage, Alaska,” said USBA Director of Athlete Development, Tim Burke in a statement. “This is US Biathlon’s premier youth and junior event of the season, and I’m confident Anchorage will put on a top-notch event for our athletes. Hopefully, these races can also inspire Alaska’s developing biathletes and help the continued growth of the Anchorage clubs.”

The event will be jointly hosted by the Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage (NSAA) and the Alaska Biathlon Association. Executive Director of NSAA and Olympic cross-country skiing champion, Kikkan Randall, is happy that the event back in the Last Frontier.

“After a seven year absence, the Youth-Junior Championship Trials are coming back to Anchorage,” said Randall in a statement. “The Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage and the Alaska Biathlon Association are proud to host these trials this coming December and select the best American biathletes to compete in the Youth Junior World Championships in Kazakhstan, March 2023. We’re looking forward to supporting our future Team USA.”

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.