Welcome to The Rewind, a weekly digest that puts a spotlight on the biggest stories and best performances from Alaska’s world of sports.
In Alaska high school sports, the reigning Division I champion girls soccer team tasted defeat for the first time in over two years and both the softball and baseball seasons are in full swing. Outside the rink, the Anchorage Wolverines had their head coach resign to take an assistant position elsewhere for the second straight year. In college sports news, the University of Alaska Anchorage track and field team had a strong showing down in Washington and their basketball teams stayed busy on the recruiting trail. And on the national sports scene, a trio of Alaska-born football stars had their dreams of making it to the NFL come true.
Headlines and highlights
In the first matchup between the two powerhouse high school girls soccer programs in the state, South handed two-time defending state champion Dimond their first loss of the season, and their first defeat in more than two years. The Wolverines were also the last team to beat the Lynx back in 2020, and this time around, thanks to an early second-half surge last Tuesday night, they were able to repeat history and win by the same score — 2-1.
On the boys side, Colony remained undefeated after notching three more victories without giving up a single goal, outscoring their trio of opponents by a combined 9-0. The Knights improved to 11-0-1 on the season, have produced nine shutouts and have outscored their first dozen foes tenfold 40-4.
In a rematch of last year’s state title game, the defending champion South boys soccer team shut out West 2-0 on a rainy night last Thursday. Junior Jack Hickox had a hand — or rather, foot — in scoring both of the Wolverines’ goals. He had assisted Kyle Fischer in scoring the first of the bout and helped permanently ground the Eagles with a goal of his own.
In high school baseball action, while the reigning Division I state champion South took care of business in town with a pair of commanding wins over Dimond and Grace Christian, defending American Legion state champion Eagle River was doing the same out in Wasilla. The Wolves dominated and cruised their way to finishing a perfect 4-0 at the Buddy Dale Invitational, including shutouts against Chugiak and Colony and blowouts of Petersburg and Palmer by a combined 33-4.
The 2023 high school softball season got underway this past week, and despite having a lot of new and young faces on the roster, the bats for two-time defending champion South don’t appear to have cooled off since they rattled off six straight victories during last year’s title run. The Wolverines went 3-0 in their first week of action and outscored their opponents a combined 40-11, with the closest contest being an 8-7 win over Chugiak last Tuesday in a rematch of the past two state title tilts.
Weather delayed the start of the outdoor portion of the high school track and field season and caused the cancellation of this year’s Anchorage Invitational, which was slated to be held at Dimond. However, it didn’t stop some of the usual suspects from dominating at the Anchorage Varsity Invite.
Bettye Davis East’s Brian Morris won the boys 100 and 200 meters and helped the Thunderbirds finish first in the boys 4x100 relay, and second in the 4x200. Eagle River’s Alan Szewczyk won the boys 110- and 300-meter hurdles. The Chugiak girls collectively cruised to another overall team victory with a total of 168, and the next closest team was South with a total of 142.5.
On the college scene, the UAA track and field team had a strong showing at the Ralph Vernacchia Invitational hosted by Western Washington University on Saturday. Senior sprinter Enrique Campbell won the 200 to lead the way for the Seawolves, who finished fifth out of 19 for the men and seventh out of 21 schools for the women.
His time of 21.55 ranks third all-time in program history; senior Mikayla Mader’s second-place mark in the high jump of 5-4.5 was the third-best ever by a Seawolf; and graduate student Drew Johnson came in second in the 1,500 with a time of 3:49.19, which not only ranks fourth-fastest at the school but also provisionally qualifies him for the NCAA Championships.
The UAA women’s basketball team announced a pair of additions from the junior college ranks this past week.
The first was Senya Rabouin, who signed a scholarship agreement to join the Seawolves. The 5-5 guard spent three seasons at Central Arizona College, where she averaged 15.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.9 steals in 65 career games.
“Senya can flat out score, however that isn’t all she is looking to do each game,” said head coach Ryan McCarthy in a statement. “She is a very skilled, well rounded player who has the ability to make tough shots and has excellent shooting range.”
The second was 6-2 post player Tori Hollingshead, who comes to the program after earning First Team All-Northwest Athletic Conference honors in her first two seasons at Umpqua Community College. During her time there, she recorded 820 points and 611 rebounds in 51 career games and was named the NWAC South Division Defensive Player of the Year last season.
For the second year in a row, the Anchorage Wolverines will be looking for a new head coach this offseason after local product Evan Trupp accepted an assistant coaching position on the staff of the Muskegon Lumberjacks, a Tier 1 junior hockey team in the United States Hockey League. The Wolverines went 28-24-8 in his lone season at the helm after he took over for Mike Aikens, who took the team all the way to the Robertson Cup finals in the organization’s inaugural season in 2021-22.
“I’m excited to further my career as a coach and continue to surround myself with different hockey minds as I try to grow my career,” Trupp said in a statement. “I am forever blessed and thank the Anchorage Wolverines for bringing me in and helping me transition into the coaching side of things after my playing career ended. The Wolverines organization is top-notch and they have the best fans in the NAHL. Although I am excited for my new opportunity in the USHL with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, the future is bright for hockey in Alaska and for the Anchorage Wolverines.”
Alaska stars shining Outside
Even though he moved from Alaska to Texas when he was about 2 years old, Anchorage’s Tyree Wilson still likes to tell people that he’s from the Last Frontier. His mother, Tiffany Weatherton, was a track star at Dimond High School in the mid-1990s, and she walked down the red carpet with him Thursday before he was selected No. 7 overall in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft by the Las Vegas Raiders.
The 6-foot-6, 276-pound defensive end was one of the top prospects in this year’s class and was a virtual lock to be selected in the top 10 after a standout career at Texas Tech University, where he recorded 121 total tackles, 32 tackles for loss and 17 sacks during his four years as a Red Raider.
Palmer’s Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu heard his name called much later when the 6-foot-5, 317-pound offensive lineman was selected No. 199 overall in the sixth round of the draft by the Baltimore Ravens. He moved from Alaska following his freshman year at Palmer High School to continue playing high school football in Nevada, and eventually played at the collegiate level at the University of Oregon, where he was a multi-year starter for the Ducks, after a brief junior college stint at Navarro College.
Anchorage’s Brandon Pili didn’t hear his name called during the draft but is still getting his shot to make it to the NFL after signing with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent. The former Dimond alum and prep star signed a contract worth $100,000 guaranteed, which shows that he was a priority free agent target for the team. Like Aumavae-Laulu, the 6-foot-4, 325-pound defensive lineman also played his college ball in the Pac-12 and was a key member in the defensive trenches for the University of Southern California Trojans. (Check back later this week for a more in-depth story in the Anchorage Daily News about all three players.)
Anchorage’s Finnigan Donley became the latest Alaskan to be named a member of the U.S. Ski Team last Wednesday. This announcement comes after a sensational season in which the 18-year-old was named U.S. Skiing and Snowboarding’s Rookie of the Year in alpine skiing, dominating the competition in his age group. His selection makes him the first Alaskan named to the alpine skiing national team since Kieffer Christianson in 2010.
Last week’s results
South 2, Dimond 1
West 5, East 0
Service 4, Bartlett 0
South 4, West 0
Service 2, Lathrop 0
Service 4, Colony 0
Dimond 2, West 0
Bartlett 1, East 0
Colony 5, Eagle River 0
South 2, Dimond 0
West 4, East 1
Colony 1, Chugiak 0
Palmer 1, Grace Christian 0
South 2, West 0
Service 1, Lathrop 0
Bartlett 2, East 0
West 3, Dimond 1
Colony 3, Service 0
West 15, East 3
South 7, Dimond 2
Wasilla 10, Palmer 6
Service 11, East 0
Eagle River 10, Colony 0
Wasilla 12, Kodiak 11
Eagle River 17, Petersburg 2
Chugiak 9, Wasilla 6
South 15, Grace Christian 1
Eagle River 16, Palmer 2
Colony 6, Petersburg 1
Wasilla 12, Soldotna 9
Chugiak 13, Kodiak 4
Eagle River 10, Chugiak 0
Wasilla 10, Colony 8
South 25, West 1
West 6, Bartlett 1
South 8, Chugiak 7
East 5, Chugiak 3
South 7, East 3
Dimond 6, West 5
East 7, Dimond 5
Service 9, Chugiak 0
Bartlett 15, Chugiak 0
Track and Field
Anchorage Varsity Invite
Boys 100 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Brian Morris 11.19, East Anchorage
2. Marquez Nevitte 11.28, Bartlett
3. Semaj Walker 11.34, Chugiak
Girls 100 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Tamiyah Moses 13.22, Dimond
2. Sarah Dittman 13.33, Dimond
3. Gabrielle Okorodudu 13.37, Eagle River
Boys 200 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Brian Morris 22.85, East Anchorage
2. Marquez Nevitte 23.16, Bartlett
3. Semaj Walker 23.53, Chugiak
Girls 200 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Olyvia Mamae 26.34, East Anchorage
2. Sarah Dittman 27.10, Dimond
3. Skyler Belmear 27.31, Chugiak
Boys 400 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Anders Larsen 51.42, Chugiak
2. Jack Molloy 51.90, Eagle River
3. Murphy Kimball 52.34, West Anchorage
Girls 400 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Skyler Belmear 1:01.42, Chugiak
2. Alliyah Fields 1:01.59, Chugiak
3. Skylar Morris 1:02.48, South Anchorage
Boys 800 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Jack Molloy 2:06.38, Eagle River
2. Garret Simon 2:06.56, Service
3. Owen Kirkland 2:06.94, Service
Girls 800 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Petra Knox 2:31.67, Chugiak
2. Emily Moore 2:32.22, Chugiak
3. Ava Murphy 2:35.74, South Anchorage
Boys 1600 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Blake Hanley 4:44.94, West Anchorage
2. Henry Michener 4:45.15, Eagle River
3. Elias Soule 4:45.66, Service
Girls 1600 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Adria Wuerth 5:34.81, Service
2. Ava Murphy 5:36.72, South Anchorage
3. Nora McBride 5:39.11, Dimond
Boys 3200 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Jarrett Jackson 10:13.02, Dimond
2. Henry Michener 10:29.30, Eagle River
3. Nathan Vander Lugt 10:32.39, Eagle River
Girls 3200 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Campbell Peterson 11:18.49, Chugiak
2. Hannah Shaha 12:11.35, Chugiak
3. Allison Macy 12:13.97, Chugiak
Boys 110m Hurdles - 39″ Varsity - Finals
1. Alan Szewczyk Jr. 14.88, Eagle River
2. Tyler Drake 16.43a, Bartlett
3. Malachi Coski 16.66, Dimond
Girls 100m Hurdles - 33″ Varsity - Finals
1. Makaylen King 17.19, South Anchorage
2. Magdalena Frydrychova 17.26, East Anchorage
3. Karsen Beaglee 17.48, West Anchorage
Boys 300m Hurdles - 36″ Varsity - Finals
1. Alan Szewczyk Jr. 39.82, Eagle River
2. Fafo Lefano 43.11, South Anchorage
3. Grant Weber 43.80, Dimond
Girls 300m Hurdles - 30″ Varsity - Finals
1. Makaylen King 48.67, South Anchorage
2. Magdalena Frydrychova 49.86, East Anchorage
3. Karsen Beaglee 51.04, West Anchorage
Boys 4x100 Relay Varsity - Finals
1. East Anchorage 43.97
2. Chugiak 44.45
3. West Anchorage 44.90
Girls 4x100 Relay Varsity - Finals
1. West Anchorage 52.63
2. East Anchorage 52.96
3. Chugiak 55.76
Boys 4x200 Relay Varsity - Finals
1. Bartlett 1:32.57
2. East Anchorage 1:35.35
3. West Anchorage 1:35.70
Girls 4x200 Relay Varsity - Finals
1. South Anchorage 1:50.86
2. Chugiak 1:51.57
3. West Anchorage 1:52.24
Boys 4x400 Relay Varsity - Finals
1. Chugiak 3:41.33
2. Eagle River - A 3:46.73
3. Bartlett - A 3:47.64
Girls 4x400 Relay Varsity - Finals
1. South Anchorage 4:20.77
2. Chugiak 4:27.41
3. Dimond 4:38.10
Boys Shot Put - 12lb Varsity - Finals
1. Tristian Savelio 45′05.75, Bartlett
2. Sone Falealo 44′05.25, West Anchorage
3. Deuce Alailefaleula 42′08.25, Bartlett
Girls Shot Put - 4kg Varsity - Finals
1. Faith Mata 33′00.75, West Anchorage
2. Josephine Mata 29′11.25, West Anchorage
3. Liberty Lobe 29′06.00, South Anchorage
Boys Discus Varsity - Finals
1. Eric Bushnell 143′06.00, East Anchorage
2. Mathias VaiVai 130′00.00, East Anchorage
3. Matthew Watson 120′08.00, Eagle River
Girls Discus Varsity - Finals
1. Haleigh Vitt 99′04.00, Chugiak
2. Mona Koko 89′06.00, West Anchorage
3. Josephine Mata 86′10.00, West Anchorage
Boys High Jump Varsity - Finals
1. Malachi Casey 6′1.00, Dimond
2. Vance Harris 6′1.00, Dimond
3. Dylan Amy 5′8.00, Service
Girls High Jump Varsity - Finals
1. Lilah Johnson 4′10.00 Dimond
2. Kayla Cagle 4′10.00, South Anchorage
2. Rachael White 4′10.00, South Anchorage
Boys Long Jump Varsity - Finals
1. Anders Larsen 19′11.00, Chugiak
2. Elijah Williams 19′08.75, Chugiak
3. A’lante Owens-Player 19′07.75, Bartlett
Girls Long Jump Varsity - Finals
1. Makaylen King 16′04.00, South Anchorage
2. Samantha Jensen 15′00.00, Chugiak
3. Maya Tirpack 14′10.75, South Anchorage
South vs. Service at Albrecht Field 1, Saturday at 9 a.m.
The two southside teams will square off for the first time this season in an early morning CIC clash. The Cougars, who opened their season with a 9-0 shutout of two-time runner-up Chugiak on Thursday, will be looking to notch another big win against the scorching-hot Wolverines.
Chugiak vs. Eagle River at Bartlett, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
After having their four-game win streak snapped by their rivals at the Buddy Dale Invitational last weekend, the Mustangs will be looking to return the favor in their midweek matchup. Both teams are coming in with 4-2 records but Eagle River will try to win its fifth straight since opening the season 0-2 while Chugiak hopes to get back on track.
Juneau-Douglas at West (boys), Friday at 3 p.m.
The reigning Division II state champion Crimson Bears will be in town to take on the Eagles this week in a non-conference matchup between two strong teams that will be contending for state titles at their respective levels of competition this year. Juneau-Douglas currently has a 7-0 record, is ranked first in the Southeast conference and has outscored its opponents by a combined 37-5 this season thus far.