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 two-time defending Division I champion baseball team suffered its first defeat in four years and teams across multiple sports maintained undefeated streaks. In college sports news, the University of Alaska Anchorage track and field team had another strong showing for the second weekend in a row and several other programs added to or completed their 2023 recruiting classes. And on the national sports scene, a wrestler born and raised in Northwest Alaska won another gold medal at a major tournament.
Headlines and highlights
The last prep baseball team to defeat two-time defending Division I state champion South was Chugiak in the 2019 Cook Inlet Conference Tournament in a tight 2-1 nail-biter. It seemed fitting that the Mustangs would be the first to give the Wolverines their first taste of defeat in years with a 4-1 victory on Saturday afternoon.
“Anytime you beat someone with a streak like that, it means something and the kids are proud of their performance,” Chugiak head coach John Sims said. “Our goal is to get to state and hopefully win state. This is just one of those steps that we hope to take with the end result hopefully being the last team standing.”
His team’s triumph snapped the longest winning streak in state history at 51 games that included back-to-back undefeated seasons that were capped off with state titles.
The Mustangs were propelled to victory by a near lights-out performance on the mound by junior pitcher Preston Rau. He didn’t start the game but entered in relief of freshman Tyson Morgan and closed it out by striking out four batters.
“My plan from the get-go was to make sure that Rau pitched the majority of the game,” Sims said. “He’s one of those guys that’s been all-conference since he was a freshman. The team just has a lot of confidence when he throws.”
Unlike their first matchup with South to open their season where they let the Wolverines claw their way back from an early deficit and pull off a late rally, Chugiak didn’t let this one slip through its fingers.
“We were beating them 3-1 in the last inning and they scored three runs in the last inning to win it,” Sims said.
They kept the Wolverines off the board until senior Gavin Partch was able to send a solo home run over the fence in the bottom of the seventh for their only run of the game.
After watching South dominate the high school season in the Last Frontier for the past two years, Sims was glad to see more parity in the sport for a change and views the landscape as much more wide open this year.
“There are a number of different teams that can win it this year,” he said. “I think ultimately, it’s going to come down to the ones that are able to throw strikes, don’t make any errors, and have some timely hitting.”
While the Wolverines saw their winning streak come to a bitter end, their south-side rival Service continued its strong start to the 2023 season. They came into last week riding a five-game win streak and rattled off three straight victories to begin this week a perfect 8-0 and 7-0 in the Cook Inlet Conference although they have yet to play South or Chugiak.
Even though they didn’t go 3-0 in their games last week, the Bettye Davis East softball team had two of its most explosive offensive outings of the week in a pair of victories over West and Eagle River. The Thunderbirds started the week off with a 29-1 thrashing of the Eagles last Monday. After being brought back down to Earth that same night with a 7-3 loss to Chugiak, they rebounded a few days later with a 16-3 blowout of the Wolves.
In soccer action, the South girls and both the Colony and Juneau-Douglas boys emerged from the week with unblemished records intact. The Wolverines recorded three straight shutouts while tallying 24 goals of their own to improve to 9-0 and 7-0 in the Cook Inlet Conference. The Knights traveled to Fairbanks and played a pair of tight matches against West Valley and Lathrop but still managed to improve to 13-0-1 and 7-0-1 in the Railbelt Conference.
The reigning Division II champion Crimson Bears came up from the state’s capital city and narrowly returned home undefeated after tying with West 2-2 on Friday after winning close games over Chugiak and Palmer the previous two days.
Even though it randomly snowed in town last week, the Anchorage teams prep track and field teams were finally able to compete outdoors for the first time in the 2023 season out in the Mat-Su valley at the annual Palmer Relays. The South Anchorage girls and Bettye Davis East boys came away with overall team victories after producing numerous first place and top three finishes that included each of them sweeping both the 4x100 and 4x200 meter relays. The Wolverines came in second in the 4x800 relay race as well.
Thunderbirds stars Brian Morris and Olyvia Mamae further supported their claim of being “the fastest couple in the state” after they both won the 100 and 200 meters for their respective divisions. Morris was the anchor on both of the boys first place winning relay teams and Mamae finished first in the 100-meter hurdles as well.
On the college scene, the UAA track and field team had another strong outing for the second straight weekend as seven Seawolves recorded top five finishes in their respective events at the Linfield Open this past Saturday.
Juniors Joshua Wagner and Kevin Angarita and sophomore Blanca De Arvizu Sarrias each produced runner-up finishes. Wagner came in second in the 110 hurdles with a mark of 14.73 and Sarrias did the same in the 100 hurdles with a mark of 15.10 while Angarita came in second in the 400 meter with a mark of 49.09.
Junior Kaitlyn Backman and sophomore Sophia Cvancara finished fourth and fifth in the 400 with marks of 59.66 and 1:00.79 respectively. Junior Joei Vidad placed fourth in the 200 with a mark of 26.06 and sophomore Leoni Flad came in fourth in the 400 hurdles with a mark of 1:06.35.
The UAA men’s hockey team added a pair of new recruits that include a local product in Wasilla’s Porter Schachle and Gunnar VanDamme of Pittsford, New York. Schachle, a 6-4 and 205 pounds forward played the last two seasons at the University of Vermont where he recorded 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 61 games. Prior to his time with the Catamounts, he played in 117 games with the NAHL’s Kenai Brown Bears and Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks scoring 35 goals and 41 assists for 76 points.
“Very happy to be bringing Porter back home,” UAA head coach Matt Shasby said in a statement. “He will bring speed, size, and energy to our line up.”
The UAA Nordic ski team also announced a pair of signings this past week with news of Corbin Carpenter and Alexandra Otto signing their National Letters of Intent to join the program for the 2023-24 season.
Carpenter hails from Carbondale, Colorado and visited and had impressive performances in the state earlier this year at the 2023 US Junior Nationals in Fairbanks, Alaska where he logged three top-15 finishes. He came in fifth in the 15-kilometer freestyle, 13th in the 7.5-kilometer classic and 14th in the classic sprint.
“Corbin finished off the season with some very strong races at Junior Nationals in Fairbanks,” said associate head coach Trond Flagstad in a statement. “I like his motivation and focus, and I think we have the right program to develop this young talented skier from Colorado. He will join a new class of young up and coming skiers that will make each other better by pushing each other every day.”
Alaska stars shining Outside
Shungnak’s Spencer Woods carried over the momentum he got after beating longtime rival and two-time Olympian Ben Provisor in the U.S. Open Senior Men’s championship the week prior and brought home another gold medal for himself and the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program. He captured three straight victories at the Senior Pan-American Championship in Greco style last Thursday in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Anchorage break dancers Jeremy ‘Icey Ives’ Viray and Brianna ‘Snap1′ Pritchard competed in the 2023 Breaking For Gold USA National Championships down in Austin, Texas this past Saturday. It was one of the top qualifying competitions to make the 2024 US Olympic team and they both won their first battle and made it to the top eight but fell in the quarterfinals. They still have more opportunities to qualify to represent the Last Frontier and the country in the coming months. Snap1 will be competing internationally this summer in Chile, Montreal, Spain, and Italy.
Anchorage’s Balas Buckmaster blasted a trio of home runs to help fuel the Dickinson State University baseball team to a sweep of Presentation College in a four game series last weekend that featured back-to-back double headers which wrapped up on Sunday, April 30.
He recorded at least one run and one hit in each game with the most coming in the third, where he had four runs, two hits, and two runners batted in. Buckmaster’s second homer of the series sailed over left field and gave the Blue Hawks an early 2-0 lead in the first inning that they would build upon and win in convincing fashion 14-2.
Last week’s results
Dimond 2, Service 0
West 4, Bartlett 0
South 7, East 0
Eagle River 2, Wasilla 2
Palmer 2, Ketchikan 2
Dimond 13, East 0
Service 2, West 0
South 8, Bartlett 0
Wasilla 7, North Pole 3
Lathrop 1, Wasilla 0
Bartlett 4, Ketchikan 1
Wasilla 2, West Valley 1
South 9, East 0
West 5, Bartlett 0
South 4, East 2
Service 2, Dimond 0
Palmer 10, Houston 2
Juneau-Douglas 2, Chugiak 0
West 1, Bartlett 1
South 12, Bartlett 1
Dimond 6. East 1
Juneau-Douglas 2, Palmer 1
Palmer 4, Kodiak 0
Juneau-Douglas 2, West 2
Colony 3, West Valley 2
Colony 4, Lathrop 1
Kodiak 15, Homer 0
Colony 16, Wasilla 2
Kenai Central 11, Soldotna 10
Kodiak 11, Homer 2
Eagle River 13, Chugiak 3
South 16, Bartlett 1
Thunder Mountain 4, Petersburg 3
Petersburg 8, Thunder Mountain 7
Petersburg 17, Thunder Mountain 12
Wasilla 13, West Valley 3
Soldotna 14, Houston 3
Kodiak 12, Redington 1
Service 19, East 0
Juneau-Douglas 13, Bartlett 2
South 6, Juneau-Douglas 5
Eagle River 9, Juneau-Douglas 2
Colony 6, West Valley 5
Wasilla 10, Lathrop 0
Kodiak 3, Soldotna 1
Chugiak 4, South 1
Colony 16, Lathrop 4
West 8, East 0
Service 4, Eagle River 2
East 29, West 1
Chugiak 7, Dimond 2
Bartlett 5, Eagle River 3
Chugiak 7, East 3
Dimond 16, West 1
Service 14, Eagle River 5
South 6, Service 1
Eagle River 7, Service 4
East 16, Eagle River 3
Track and Field
Boys 100 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Brian Morris 11.61, East Anchorage
2. Marquez Nevitte 11.67, Bartlett
3. Timothy Grisso 11.79, Wasilla
Girls 100 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Olyvia Mamae 12.77, East Anchorage
2. Jenna Houck 13.38, Anchorage Christian
3. Nora Simon 13.47, Service
Boys 200 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Brian Morris 22.61, East Anchorage
2. Deshawn Rushmeyer 23.22, East Anchorage
3. Timothy Grisso 23.42, Wasilla
Girls 200 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Olyvia Mamae 26.84, East Anchorage
2. Nora Simon 27.72, Service
3. Gabrielle Okorodudu 28.16, Eagle River
Boys 400 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Cody Tirpack 52.61, South Anchorage
2. Caleb Lillo 52.80, South Anchorage
3. Lukas Underhile 53.28, Anchorage Christian
Girls 400 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Skylar Morris 1:03.24, South Anchorage
2. Elliana Zock 1:03.45, South Anchorage
3. Ourea Busk 1:04.13, Unalakleet
Boys 800 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Robbie Annett 2:01.85, Grace Christian
2. Shane Fisher 2:02.58, West Valley
3. Colton Merriner 2:03.40, Grace Christian
Girls 800 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Ava Murphy 2:28.64, South Anchorage
2. Faith Carter 2:30.79, Anchorage Christian
3. Adria Wuerth 2:32.02, Service
Boys 1600 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Matthew Rongitsch 4:25.58, Colony
2. David Sliwinski 4:27.13, Grace Christian
3. Preston Merchant 4:27.17 Anchorage Christian
Girls 1600 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Ella Hopkins 5:22.38, Colony
2. Adria Wuerth 5:34.54, Service
3. Ava Murphy 5:37.61, South Anchorage
Boys 3200 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Preston Merchant 9:32.62, Anchorage Christian
2. David Sliwinski 9:40.56, Grace Christian
3. Matthew Rongitsch 9:43.36, Colony
Girls 3200 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Ella Hopkins 11:49.52, Colony
2. Isabel Baesman 12:15.20, West Valley
3. Ourea Busk 12:20.76, Unalakleet
Boys 5000 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Simon Nelson 17:08.00, Grace Christian
2. Ned Peters 17:43.00, Bethel
2. Joseph Hathaway 17:43.00, Kodiak
Girls 5000 Meters Varsity - Finals
1. Lucy Shea 20:24.00, Colony
2. Ava Trembath 20:37.00, Eagle River
3. Breeze Buchanan 21:41.00, Colony
Boys 110m Hurdles - 39″ Varsity - Finals
1. Alan Szewczyk Jr 14.76, Eagle River
2. Tyler Drake 16.41, Bartlett
3. Geremu Daggett 16.58, Grace Christian
Girls 100m Hurdles - 33″ Varsity - Finals
1. Olyvia Mamae 15.21, East Anchorage
2. McKinley Eddington 16.54, Tri-Valley
3. Makaylen King 17.18, South Anchorage
Boys 300m Hurdles - 36″ Varsity - Finals
1. Alan Szewczyk Jr 39.90, Eagle River
2. Nolan Warren 42.29, Anchorage Christian
3. Geremu Daggett 43.96, Grace Christian
Girls 300m Hurdles - 30″ Varsity - Finals
1. Jenna Houck 48.65, Anchorage Christian
2. Caelynn Carter 49.61, Wasilla
3. McKinley Eddington 50.27, Tri-Valley
Boys 4x100 Relay Varsity - Finals
1. East Anchorage - A 43.53
2. Colony - A 44.94
3. Bartlett - A 46.42
Girls 4x100 Relay Varsity - Finals
1. South Anchorage - A 53.59
2. Colony - A 54.40
3. Tri Valley - A 54.44
Boys 4x200 Relay Varsity - Finals
1. East Anchorage - A 1:31.67
2. Bartlett - A 1:34.10
3. South Anchorage - A 1:36.46
Girls 4x200 Relay Varsity - Finals
1. South Anchorage - A 1:50.69
2. Colony - A 1:54.66
3. Service - A 1:54.99
Boys 4x400 Relay Varsity - Finals
1. Service - A 3:39.13
2. South Anchorage - A 3:40.18
3. Grace Christian - A 3:40.29
Girls 4x400 Relay Varsity - Finals
1. Service - A 4:22.18
2. South Anchorage - A 4:27.76
3. Colony - A 4:30.30
Boys 4x800 Relay Varsity - Finals
1. Eagle River - A 8:33.33
2. South Anchorage - A 8:39.12
3. Service - A 8:46.03
Girls 4x800 Relay Varsity - Finals
1. Colony - A 10:27.07
2. South Anchorage - A 10:37.17
3. East Anchorage - A 10:45.29
Boys Shot Put - Varsity - Finals
1. Eric Kolomeychuk 52-02.00, Wasilla
2. Tristian Savelio 47-10.00, Bartlett
3. Sone Falealo 45-07.00, West Anchorage
Girls Shot Put - Varsity - Finals
1. Layla Hays 35-08.00, Wasilla
2. Abby Pettit 34-05.50, Palmer
3. Calista Ousley 33-01.75, Colony
Boys Discus Varsity - Finals
1. Eric Kolomeychuk 145-00, Wasilla
2. Eric Bushnell 144-10, East Anchorage
3. Parker Glastetter 134-03, Palmer
Girls Discus Varsity - Finals
1. Alexia Pike 108-10, Redington
2. Layla Hays 107-11, Wasilla
3. Josephine Mata 99-09, West Anchorage
Boys High Jump Varsity - Finals
1. Emanuel Bostwick 6-01.00, West Valley
2. Jayce Underwood 5-10.00, Colony
3. Marlin Burns 5-08.00, Bartlett
Girls High Jump Varsity - Finals
1. Kayla Cagle 5-00.00, South Anchorage
2. Ellie VanDeventer 4-08.00, Tri-Valley
2. Avery Johnson 4-08.00, Palmer
Boys Triple Jump Varsity - Finals
1. Jack Nash 40-11.00, Colony
2. Trevor Jamison 40-00.00, Colony
3. Myles Campbell 39-08.00, Redington
Girls Triple Jump Varsity - Finals
1. Makaylen King 34-04.25, South Anchorage
2. Lydia Alverts 32-06.50, Palmer
3. Maya Tirpack 32-03.00, South Anchorage
Boys Long Jump Varsity - Finals
1. A’lante Owens-Player 20-09.00, Bartlett
2. Jayce Underwood 20-05.00, Colony
3. Deshawn Rushmeyer 19-09.50, East Anchorage
Girls Long Jump Varsity - Finals
1. Makaylen King 16-06.00, South Anchorage
2. Izzy Kizer 16-03.50, Valdez
3. McKinley Hafen 15-11.25, Wasilla
South at West (boys), Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The reigning champion Wolverines defended their home turf with a 2-0 victory in their first matchup of the season on April 27. South will travel to West in search of the regular season series sweep. The tough sledding won’t stop there for South as the Wolverines will cap off their week by hosting undefeated Colony on Saturday.
South vs. Service at Mulcahy, Saturday at 4:00 p.m.
The two southside rivals will face off for the first time this season. South will certainly be on a mission to reassert itself as the team to beat in both the conference and state by ending the week on a high note.
Track and Field
Last Chance Meet at Dimond, Saturday at 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
The regular season portion of the 2023 season will come to a close this week with the first outdoor meet of the year ahead of regions next week. This meet will do just what its name suggests and give numerous runners, sprinters, jumpers, throwers and hurdlers from all around the state a chance to produce qualifying marks in their best event for the postseason.