The Rewind: Repeat champions conquer Mount Marathon and Alaska club soccer team primed for trip to nationals

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 summer baseball action, Alaska American Legion powers collided in a potential state preview and a local product played lights out for the Anchorage Bucs on the Fourth of July. On the national scene, a steeplechaser from Southeast Alaska shined at nationals and is headed to worlds, a pair of Alaska-born hoopsters are living out their dreams, and a local youth club soccer team is heading to nationals.

Headlines and highlights

Two of the top teams in Alaska American Legion faced off at the Legion A Wood Bat Tournament in what might just have been a potential state preview as two-time reigning champion Eagle River edged out top-seeded Service 16-14 Thursday. The Cougars clinched a state playoff berth with a 14-0 victory over AK Wild on Friday.

In Alaska Baseball League action, local product Isaac Johnson, who was a former Legion and high school baseball standout for South Anchorage, helped lead the Anchorage Bucs to a 2-0 victory over the Anchorage Glacier Pilots on July 4. He was lights out on the mound and nearly pitched a complete game that included a stretch where he stuck out 13 straight batters that stepped to the plate.

Earlier on Independence Day, a pair of seasoned trail runners repeated as champions at the 95th annual Mount Marathon race in Seward. Christy Marvin of Palmer recorded her third win and first since 2016 with a time of 52 minutes, 52 seconds.

[Christy Marvin wins Mount Marathon for third career title]

In the men’s division, it was Fairbanks’ David Norris who notched his fourth win after a one-year hiatus from finishing first in 2021. Weather prevented Norris, who now lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, from breaking the race record that he set in 2016 but he still managed to finish first with a time of 44 minutes, 51 seconds.


[On a muddy day, no record for David Norris but a fourth Mount Marathon title]

Alaska stars shining Outside

Ketchikan’s Isaac Updike will get to represent the Last Frontier and the United States at the 2023 World Championships after producing an impressive qualifying performance over the weekend at the USA Track & Field Championships. The 31-year-old steeplechaser reached the podium by finishing third in the finals Sunday with a mark of 8 minutes, 17.69 seconds, which was just 22 hundredths off of his personal record. The World Championships take place next month in Budapest, Hungary, from Aug. 19–27.

Anchorage’s AK Rush U17 girls soccer team became the first Alaska club team to earn a national championship tournament berth after emerging victorious at the U.S. Youth Soccer Far West Regional tournament. The U.S. Youth Soccer Nationals takes place from July 17-23 in Orlando, Florida, and the team started a GoFundMe and is asking the Alaska community at large to help them offset the hefty cost that inevitably comes with taking a whole team and coaching staff to the Lower 48 for a national competition.

While the organizing bodies in club soccer are always evolving, AK Rush technical director Barat Killian said this is the first team from the state to reach nationals by winning the Far West Regional. He said the team — players, coaches and parents — have put in extra effort and expense to get additional time working on the pitch.

“We’re very fortunate to have an experienced coach for this team in Mike Montgomery,” he said. “They train four days a week. They’ve just got better every year. A lot of these girls have had success at the high school level at Dimond and South and that’s helped. The coaches and parents also deserve a lot of credit.”

The team is trying to raise $30,000 to cover all costs for what they hope will be another championship run. Thus far, they’ve already raised over $15,000 through donations and interested potential donors can visit the team’s GoFundMe page to offer more support to help them reach their goal.

“This moment is not only incredibly exciting but also historic for Alaska, as we are the first team ever from our state to make it this far,” Alaska Rush wrote on GoFundMe. “To make this once-in-a-lifetime journey possible, we are kindly asking for your support. Your generous donations will help cover our travel expenses, including food, accommodations, and air and ground transportation. No contribution is too small, and every dollar brings us closer to our goal.”

A pair of Alaskans were signed to NBA Summer League teams with Utqiagvik’s Kamaka Hepa joining the New Orleans Pelicans and Anchorage’s Kok Yat joining the Minnesota Timberwolves. Hepa made his debut on Sunday night in the second half of the Pelicans 94-86 victory over the Golden State Warriors. Yat didn’t play in the Timberwolves first game but could make his debut on Monday night when the team takes on the Utah Jazz in a game that will be broadcasted on ESPN U.

[Alaska high school basketball legend Kamaka Hepa is thriving and reconnecting with his heritage in Hawaii]

Last week’s results

American Legion


Dimond 8, East 3

West 11, South 1


Chugiak 11, Palmer 1

Chugiak 6, Palmer 3

Service 3, West 1


Eagle River 14, Dimond 1

Kenai 15, Wasilla 4


Eagle River 16, Service 14

Palmer 7, Dimond 6

Chugiak 12, West 1


Wasilla 13, East 4



Ketchikan 19, South 3

South 5, Ketchikan 3

Palmer 10, Wasilla 4

Kenai 7, Dimond 1

West 12, East 2

Service 14, AK Wild 0

Wasilla 13, East 4

Alaska Baseball League


Chinooks 2, Glacier Pilots 1



Bucs 2 Glacier Pilots 0

Miners 6, Oilers 0


Miners 7, Oilers 6

Bucs 8, Chinooks 6

Oilers 5, Miners 0



Glacier Pilots 6, Bucs 1


Oilers 13, Bucs 3

Miners 7, Chinooks 1


Oilers 9, Miners 2

Chinooks 5, Pilots 4

Mount Marathon Race Results


1. Tania Boonstra, Kenai, 34:18; 2. Rose Conway, Anchorage, 36:40; 3. Wren Spangler, Palmer, 38:09; 4. Olive Jordan, Seward, 38:22; 5. Hannah Bodkin, Eagle River, 38:29; 6. Aubrey Virgin, Palmer, 38:44; 7. Jayna Boonstra, Kenai, 39:01; 8. Clara Sensabaugh, Palmer, 39:54; 9. Hannah Shaha, Eagle River, 39:54; 10. Maddie Schuh, Anchorage, 40:10.


1. Coby Marvin, Palmer, 26:39; 2. Vebjorn Flagstad, Anchorage, 28:19; 3. Blake Hanley, Anchorage, 28:43; 4. Raven Spangler, Palmer, 28:58; 5. Blaze Rubeo, Wasilla, 30:29; 6. Corbin Wilson, Palmer, 30:52; 7. Owen Young, Anchorage, 31:58; 8. Robbie Annett, Anchorage, 32:57; 9. Jaxon Henrie, Anchorage, 32:58 10. Aidan Houser, Palmer, 34:00.


1. Christy Marvin, Palmer, 52:52; 2. Meg Inokuma, Palmer, 53:07; 3. Denali Strabel, Palmer, 54:21; 4. Klaire Rhodes, Anchorage, 54:52; 5. Sophie Wright, Bellingham, 57:49; 6. Julianne Dickerson, Anchorage, 58:43; 7. April McAnly, Eagle River, 59:44; 8. Annie Connelly, Chugiak, 59:57; 9. Taylor Deal, Anchorage, 1:00:34; 10. Lucy Young, Anchorage, 1:00:38.


1. David Norris, Steamboat Springs, CO 44:51; 2. Darren Thomas, Reno, NV 46:35; 3. Lars Arneson, Anchorage, 46:44; 4. Michael Earnhart, Eagle River, 46:50; 5. Lyon Kopsack, Palmer, 48:09; 6. Andy Wacker, Boulder, CO 48:27; 7. Tracen Knopp, Wasilla, 48:29; 8. Bayden Menton, Joseph, OR 48:40; 9. Taylor Turney, Anchorage, 48:45; 10. Zack Bursell, Juneau, 48:59

Fast Forward

American Legion

Service vs. Eagle River at Loretta French, Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

The Cougars and Wolves will face off for the second week in a row except this time it will take place out in Chugiak and not Anchorage. Service will be looking to avenge its decisive loss while Eagle River will be trying to keep building off the momentum of that statement win.

Alaska Baseball League

Anchorage Bucs vs. Anchorage Glacier Pilots

The two intown teams will have played each other four more times by this time next week and fans of either team will have multiple opportunities to catch a game. Those games include Mayor’s Cup contests at Mulcahy Stadium on Friday night at 6 p.m., Saturday evening at 4 p.m., and Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.

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.