The Rewind: West takes both state skiing titles, East boys sweep basketball rival, and UAA women clinch basketball playoff berth

Welcome to The Rewind, a weekly digest that puts a spotlight on the biggest stories and best performances from Alaska’s world of sports.

On the high school sports scene, the West boys and girls nordic ski teams used depth to carry them to state titles, snapping Service’s championship streak in the process, and the 2022 boys 4A basketball state runner-ups swept its crosstown rivals. On the college scene, the University of Alaska Anchorage women’s basketball team punched its ticket to the 2023 GNAC tournament and is heading into the playoffs on a streak.

Headlines and highlights

After watching powerhouse Service claim the boys and girls nordic skiing state championships the past three years, both of the West teams were determined to not let them make it four in a row. The Eagles were able to snap the Cougars’ title streak thanks in large part to their impressive depth and some clutch performances. Their girls team dominated all three days to win their first team title since 2019 and the boys went down to the wire with Service and were able to prevail for their first team title since 2018.

West snaps Service title streak by sweeping boys and girls state ski championships

Even though the Cougars saw their title streak end, their Skimeister streak got extended to three in a row for the girls and two in a row for the boys. Senior Aaron Power capped off his standout prep career by receiving the honor in back-to-back years and freshman Oliva Soderstrom started hers off on a high note by keeping teammate Meredith Schwartz from receiving the honor for a second time.

On the college skiing scene, Anchorage’s Luke Jager completed his college career in his home town by sweeping both the freestyle sprint and the classic 10K races at the UAA Invite at Kincaid Park last Monday and Tuesday. The senior at the University of Utah edged out teammate Walker Hall with a time of 3:09.98 to win the freestyle race and outpaced Norwegian Andreas Kirkeng and APU skier Zanden McMullen by less than three seconds each in the classic race.

Back home in Anchorage, University of Utah’s Luke Jager sweeps UAA Invite Nordic skiing events


UAA junior Leon Nikic won the giant slalom last Wednesday at the NCAA West Regional at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood by going from being in ninth place after his first run to catapulting himself into first place with final time of 1:34.59. Thanks to a blazing second run that helped him leapfrogged the rest of the field and become the first Seawolf to win a NCAA West Regional title since Sean Alexander won the giant slalom in 2016.

UAA’s Nikic takes giant slalom at NCAA West Regional Championships

The Bettye Davis East boys basketball team swept crosstown rival West for the fourth straight year last Tuesday in a low-scoring yet thrilling fashion. The Thunderbirds fended off a late rally by the Eagles to hold on to secure a decisive 45-43 victory and were led in scoring by sophomore Muhammed Sabally with a game-high 14, over half of which came on free throws.

Bettye Davis East boys basketball team tops West to complete regular-season sweep

In college hoops action, the UAA women’s basketball team closed out the 2022-23 regular season with their third and fourth straight victories this past week, the first which came over Seattle Pacific University last Thursday and clinched playoff berth to the GNAC tournament. The Seawolves were led in scoring in both games by junior guard Vishe’ Rabb who scored 43 points in the two contest combined that included her fourth game of scoring 25-plus her last six games against the Falcons.

The UAA men’s won’t be going to the playoffs for the first time since the 2018-2019 season but they were able to end their 2022-2023 season on a high note with 70-61 win over GNAC foe Montana State Billings in their finale this past Saturday. The result snapped a three-game losing skid to close out a season that was defined by close losses and narrow margins of defeat. The Seawolves were led in scoring in their final two games by junior guard Dathan Satchell who scored 27 combined points followed by senior guard AJ Garrity with a combined 25 points.

The UAA track and field team had a strong showing at the 2023 GNAC Track and Field Championships last week and were headlined by sophomore Cole Nash who received Male Athlete of the Week honors after winning the 3,000-meter in a meet record time of 8:18.32 and setting the 5,000-meter meet record of 14:17.09. The Seawolves also had junior sprinter Kevin Angarita win his first GNAC title with a first place finish in the 400-meters in a time of 48.70 while freshman sprinter Olivia Manley of Fairbanks set new personal bests at 60 meters and 200 meters as she finished fifth in both races.

The UAA men’s hockey team was back in action this past week after nearly a month off and were able to snap a five-game losing skid with a 4-0 shutout of Long Island University on Saturday for their first win of the new year. The triumph was sandwiched between a losses to University of Connecticut on Thursdays and a LIU in the second game of their three-game series on Sunday. The Seawolves had nine different players record a goal with junior forward Matt Allen leading the team with a pair, both of which came in the team’s 4-3 overtime loss to UCONN.

For the second straight year, The team of Tyler Aklestad and Nick Olstad won the 2023 Iron Dog snow machine pro class race this past Saturday. They arrived in Big Lake at 12:05 p.m. which was 36 minutes ahead of the runner-up team of Casey Boylan and Bryan Leslie. In total, they defending champions logged 52 hours, 58 minutes and 32 on the course, running the 2,503-mile course at an average of 47.25 miles per hour.

Aklestad/Olstad team wins second straight Iron Dog title

For the 10th time in his illustrious mushing career Blayne “Buddy” Streeper won the 2023 Fur Rendezvous Championship Sled Dog Race this past Sunday. His total time across three days of 4 hours, 22 minutes and 20 seconds was just over 10 minutes faster than Greg Taylor who came in third on Sunday but took second place in the overall race with a total time of 4:32:23.

Buddy Streeper wins Rondy sled dog race to secure his 10th world championship title

Alaska stars shining Outside

Seward’s Lydia Jacoby won the Big 12 Conference Championship 100-yard breaststroke with a new personal best time that broke her own national record for her age group and set a new meet record as well. The University of Texas freshman produced a blazing time of 57.29 seconds this past Friday to edge out her Longhorns teammate, junior Anna Elendt (57.59), for her first conference title and break her own national record for the 17-18 age-group for the third time this season. Her time was the third-fastest in the country this season and ranks second all-time in Texas school history.

Anchorage’s Alissa Pili didn’t tie or set a career-high in points in the regular season finale for the University of Utah women’s basketball team. However, the Pac 12 Player of the Year candidate did accomplish career first by helping lead the Utes to a 84-78 win over perennial powerhouse Stanford on Saturday night. It marked her first time emerging victorious over the Cardinal in her six career game against them and it claimed a share of the Pac 12 conference title for the team for the first time program history. Pili finished as the team’s second leading scorer with 14 points that included going 6-of-14 from the field and knocking down a pair of 3-pointers.

Eagle River’s Vanessa Aniteye joined Nash as one of the standout top finishers at the at the GNAC Indoor Track and Field Championships last Tuesday with ties to the Last Frontier. The Chugiak high alum and former Seawolf came in first in the 800 meters to lead the Seattle Pacific University women’s team to a fifth-place overall finish. Her time of 2:08.71 marked the fifth individual GNAC title of her career and was 5.51 seconds faster than the second place finisher.

Anchorage’s Daishen Nix came off the bench and recorded a career-high 16 points for the Houston Rockets on Sunday night in a 131-114 loss to Portland Trailblazers. While seven-time All-Star Damian Lillard’s record 71 points was biggest takeaway from national standpoint, Nix went 7-of-19 from the field that included sinking a pair of 3-pointers to record the most points scored by an Alaska player in the NBA since Jan. 26, 2018, when Anchorage’s Mario Chalmers recorded 17 points as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies in a 109-100 to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Anchorage’s Amber Steinhilpert a South alum and Laila Tosi of East fame helped the Alvernia University women’s hockey team win the Middle Atlantic Conference title on Feb. 18. Steinhilpert is a senior forward and scored a goal 14 seconds into a power play to give the team a 3-0 advantage in the second period while Tosi is a freshman didn’t score a goal in her first year with the program but did record 5 assists, 5 points, and attempted 42 shots.


Last week’s results

Prep Basketball



West 69, East 28

Dimond 61, South 32

Chugiak 41, Eagle River 20

Bartlett 53, Service 33

Lumen Christi 51, Nanwalek 12


Wasilla 60, Palmer 23


Dimond 71, Service 26

Colony 61, West Valley 31

Wasilla 74, Lathrop 48


Grace Christian 73, Nikiski 25

Chugiak 49, East 24

West 69, Service 16

Dimond 51, Eagle River 16

Lumen Christi 37, Cook Inlet Academy 32

Wasilla 60, West Valley 27



Wasillas 69, Bartlett 20

Grace Christian 63, Homer 20



Dimond 80, South 34


East 45, West 43

Service 66, Bartlett 53

Chugiak 58, Eagle River 55

Wasilla 95, Palmer 56

Mt Edgecumbe 59, Sitka 42

Delta 57, Eielson 53

Klawock 64, Hydaburg 58

Nikiski 55, Homer 43

Cook Inlet Academy 76, Holy Rosary 45

Monroe 62, North Pole 19


Mt. Edgecumbe 61, Kenai 52

Houston 73, Redington 23


West Valley 75, Colony 56

Wasilla 81, Lathrop 57

Delta 70, Glennallen 44

Mt Edgecumbe 63, Kenai 50


Dimond 76, EagleRiver 20

East 62, Chugiak 39

ACS 79, Kodiak 63

W Valley 73, Wasilla 60

Houston 79, Lathrop 32

Kayhi 71, Juneau 52

Seward 53, Homer 26

Kenai 42, Sitka 37

Sohi 63, Palmer 55

South 55, Bartlett 36

North Pole 50, Galena 42

Grace 69, Nikiski 18

Nome 62, Bethel 38

Cook Inlet Academy 68, Lumen 31

Delta 71, Eielson 48

Monroe 62, Valdez 38

Klawock 63, Craig 48

Angoon 78, Hoonah 32

Yakutat 48, Gustavus 18

Unalakleet 72, Dillingham 46

Service 63, West 55


Grace 68, Homer 26

Sohi 67, Seward 46

West 79, Lathrop 43

ACS 45, Kodiak 34

Shishmaref 49, Gambell 39

Tanalian 51, Aniak 59

Unalakleet 64, Dillingham 61

Ft Yukon 58, Eielson 57

Monroe 52, Valdez 36

Sitka 40, Kenai 35

Wasilla 71, Bartlett 51

North Pole 56, Galena 41

Juneau 57, Ketchikan 51

East 43, Colony 41

Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches Power Rankings

4A Girls

  1. Anchorage Christian 18-2
  2. Wasilla 20-2
  3. Colony 16-5
  4. West 16-3
  5. Dimond 15-5 +Ketchikan 15-6

4A Boys

  1. West Valley 21-1
  2. Dimond 18-3
  3. East 20-2
  4. Monroe Catholic 18-4
  5. Colony 16-6 / Service 13-8

3A Girls

  1. Grace Christian 17-2
  2. Monroe Catholic 18-4
  3. Mt Edgecumbe 17-4
  4. Sitka 14-6
  5. Seward 15-6

3A Boys

  1. Grace Christian 18-2
  2. Nome-Beltz 18-2
  3. Houston 18-4
  4. Mt Edgecumbe 16-5
  5. Valdez 14-7

2A Girls

  1. Tikigaq 15-3
  2. Craig 12-2
  3. Haines 13-3
  4. Susitna Valley 18-3
  5. Glennallen 16-5

2A Boys

  1. Ninilchik 19-3
  2. Tikigaq 13-7
  3. Hooper Bay 16-3
  4. Metlakatla 12-6
  5. Cordova 18-7

1A Girls

  1. Cook Inlet Academy 15-5
  2. Lumen Christi 17-5
  3. Shaktoolik 16-2
  4. Newhalen 18-3
  5. Shishmaref 10-2 + Tanalian 12-5

1A Boys

  1. Scammon Bay 21-2
  2. Cook Inlet Academy 20-2
  3. Newhalen 21-1
  4. Kake 17-0
  5. Nelson Island 16-3/ Minto 16-3


Women’s Basketball


UAA 64, Seattle Pacific 54


UAA 65, Montana State Billings 58

Men’s Basketball


Seattle Pacific 72, UAA 71


UAA 70, Montana State Billings 61



Connecticut 4, UAA 3 (OT)


UAA 4, LIU 0


LIU 6, UAA 2



Fairbanks Icedogs 4, Anchorage Wolverines 3 (OT)


Fairbanks Icedogs 2, Anchorage Wolverines 0

2023 Frostbite Footrace

2.5K Female Overall

1: Madison Everett, Eagle River, AK 16:13; 2: Lori Elliott, Anchorage, AK 18:45; 3: Gina Romero, Anchorage, AK 19:03; 4: Angela Castillo, Anchorage, AK 19:28; 5: Sherri Warnke, Anchorage, AK 20:37

2.5K Male Overall

1: Max Leguineche, Anchorage, AK 12:25; 2: Nathan Rivas, Anchorage, AK 14:39; 3: Nilson Mixsooke, Anchorage, AK 18:42; 4: Caleb Penney, Eagle River, AK 20:02; 5: Anthony Fletes, Eagle River, AK 20:44

5K Female Overall

1: Abigail Kessinger, Gurley, AL 23:05; 2: Diana Rogers, Anchorage, AK 23:11; 3: Nicole Kimball, Anchorage, AK 24:18; 4: Courtney Spann, Anchorage, AK 24:42; 5: Nevaeh Dunlap, Anchorage, AK 25:47

5K Male Overall

1: Julio Ramirez, Anchorage, AK 17:57; 2: Gunner Bahn, Anchorage, AK 18:40; 3: Dash Dicang, Anchorage, AK 18:41; 4: Katahdin Staples, Anchorage, AK 19:46; 5: Corvin Bookey, Anchorage, AK 21:54

Fast Forward


Boys Basketball

Dimond at Bettye Davis East, Tuesday 7:30 p.m.

Two of the top teams not just in the region but the entire state will meet for final second and potentially final time this season when the Thunderbirds host the Lynx for a CIC showdown in the final week of the regular season. In the first meeting between the two elite squads on Feb. 16, Dimond rallied late and came away with a one-point victory over East in a defensive slugfest so their highly anticipated rematch will likely be another tightly contested affair.

Girls Basketball

West at Dimond, Friday 6:00 p.m.

The top two teams in the Cook Inlet Conference will faceoff for the final time in the regular season and potentially of the year depending on what transpires at regions the following week. West is currently riding an impressive 14-game winning streak and will be looking to sweep Dimond but the Lynx will be aiming to avenge their only conference loss of the season thus far when they host the Eagles in the regular season finale.


Anchorage Wolverines v Fairbanks Icedogs, Friday and Saturday 7 p.m.

After getting swept by their instate rival on the road this past weekend, the Wolverines will be back in town with a chance to return the favor in the final matchup between the two teams of the 2022-2023 regular season. The season series is currently tied 5-5 so with a sweep, Anchorage would break the tie and help their playoff positioning.

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.