Welcome to The Rewind, a weekly digest that puts a spotlight on the biggest stories and best performances from Alaska’s world of sports.
The second week of the 2023 Alaska high school football season featured a strong show of force from a prominent powerhouse program at the Division I level, a dramatic finish in Division II and another blowout in Division III. On the college sports scene, the University of Alaska Anchorage volleyball team opened its season with an annual alumni game and the Seawolves were led to victory by a preseason all-conference team selection. On the national and international stage, a pair of former Alaska prep stars had impressive performances domestically and a steeplechase runner from Southeast avoided disaster and advanced on the world stage.
Headlines and highlights
There were several notable individual and team performances in the second week of the 2023 Alaska high school football season at all three levels. In Division I, the Bettye Davis East Thunderbirds dominated the Service Cougars in all three phases of the game and were highlighted on both sides of the ball by senior quarterback and defensive back Austin Johnson who accounted for four total touchdowns on offense and recorded three interceptions on defense.
“Austin is a defensive player first, and that’s what I like about him,” East coach Jeff Trotter said. “He’s got a defensive mentality. He started and came up as a sophomore on varsity as a defensive back, played all the way through the state championship game, and I think he’s always going to be a defensive guy.”
At the Division II level, Eagle River prevented Wasilla from completing a late rally after being given new life in the form of an untimed down after a penalty. Freshman defensive back and wide receiver Nolan Beaty came up clutch for the Wolves with a game-sealing interception of Warriors’ sophomore quarterback Dillon Kester to secure a narrow victory.
“I saw the quarterback roll out and I saw that post (route) across the middle and I knew it was going to be mine as soon as he threw it,” said Beaty who also caught the team’s first touchdown of the game. “It was a bad throw, and I went for it.”
Division III saw another week of domination by the 2022 state champions and runner-ups. Homer blew out Redington 66-18 on Saturday and Houston did the same to Kodiak 50-6 on Friday.
Three-time reigning Cook Inlet Conference flag football champion Dimond opened its 2023 season with a pair of lopsided victories over East on Thursday night and Bartlett on Saturday afternoon. The Lynx outscored their opponents a combined 59-0 and the only other undefeated team for the time being is South Anchorage, whose point differential is 37-6.
The 2023 high school swimming season got underway and saw strong showings from several programs including both the Dimond boys and girls teams, South girls team, West Anchorage boys team and Service boys team, all of which finished first in team standings at their first meets by a wide margin.
The annual Ted McKenney Invite cross-country race took place on Saturday down in Soldotna and saw both the Chugiak teams finish first in the overall team standings, including the Mustangs’ reigning Division I state champion girls team. Colony’s Ella Hopkins and Grace Christian’s Robbie Annett finished as individual champions.
The UAA volleyball team hit the court for the first time over the weekend in its annual alumni game, and the Seawolves were led to a three-set sweep by senior outside hitter Nicole Blue. The 5-foot-9 Great Northwest Athletic Conference preseason all-conference team selection came up with eight kills and seven digs. In her collegiate debut. freshman setter Hannah Trotter recorded 16 assists. Recently graduated former All-American and program all-time aces and assists leader Ellen Floyd led the Seawolves alums with 18 assists and served a pair of aces as well.
Alaska stars shining Outside
Anchorage’s Brandon Pili made a speedy recovery from what was described as a scary sight at Miami Dolphins practice on Thursday when he went down with a neck injury. He was back and suited up for the team’s Saturday evening preseason bout with the Houston Texans. The former Dimond prep star recorded a pair of assisted tackles and generated some impressive interior pressure from his defensive tackle spot in the Dolphins’ 28-3 victory.
Eagle River’s Jordyn Bruce returned to the U.S. after making her international and professional debut a couple weeks ago in France. Not even jetlag was enough to slow her down as she produced a runner-up finish at the USA Women’s Decathlon National Championships in Walnut, California. She finished with a score of 6,445 points that included recording personal bests in the discus, pole vault and 1,500-meter run.
Ketchikan’s Isaac Updike nearly had his dreams of making it to the finals in the steeplechase at the world championships in Budapest, Hungary, dashed when he was tripped during his heat. Prior to his setback, he was among a contingent that was vying for the fifth and final spot to qualify for the finals. After a successful protest of the results, he was able to make the cut for Tuesday’s final despite finishing in 11th place in a time of 8 minutes, 31.81 seconds.
Last week’s results
Colony 35, Bartlett 28
Soldotna 66, North Pole 0
Houston 50, Kodiak 6
West Valley 34, Chugiak 14
Eagle River 13, Wasilla 10
Barrow 8, Kenai Central 6
Dimond 40, Juneau 33
Homer 66, Redington 18
Seward 41, Valdez 14
Lathrop 39, Palmer 14
West 42, South 14
Nikiski 62, Eielson 46
NFHS/ASBN WEEK TWO POLL
All Divisions Top 10
1. West 2-0
2. East 2-0
3. Soldotna 2-0
4 Houston 2-0
5 Dimond 2-0
6. Eagle River 2-0
7. Homer 2-0
8 Lathrop 1-1
9. West Valley 1-1
10. Wasilla 1-1
Dimond 34, East 0
South 12, Eagle River 0
West 8, Service 6
Bartlett 9, Chugiak 6
Dimond 25, Bartlett 0
South 25, West 6
Chugiak 14, Eagle River 6
Service 19, East 0
West 8 Eagle River 1
Boys SIngles 1: Jude Cebrian (W) def Tommy Malloy (ER) 6-1, 6-0
Boys SIngles 2: Noah Marx (W) def Brian Mullen (ER) 6-0, 6-0
Girls Singles 1: Lana Cebrian (W) def Skyler McCasland 6-1, 6-1
Girls Singles 2: Kylee Dietz (ER) def. Madigan Carey (W) 2–3 West default
Boys doubles 1: Jack Boots/Jackson Pannkuk (W) def Cole Smith/Tristan Shepherd (ER) 6-0, 6-0
Boys Doubles 2: Vernon LIndemuth/Lewis Price (W) def Ethan Harkey/Ben Charlestream (ER) 6-3, 6-3
Girls Doubles 1: Ruth Green/Lavinia Li (W) def Beverly Reed/Isabell Mills (ER) 6-0, 6-0
Girls Doubles 2: Nora Houston-Speckman/Kira Bold (W) def Rori Corrigan/Wendy Attebary (ER) 6-1, 6-1
Mixed Doubles: Henry Carr/Sarah Kim (W) def Johnathon Chrlestream/Cate Utterback (ER) 6-0, 6-0
Eagle River v Dimond v Bartlett v East
1. Dimond 91, 2. Eagle River 76, 3. East 8, 4. Bartlett 4
1. Dimond 100.5, 2. Eagle River 69.5, 3. East 6
Service v. Chugiak
1. Service High School 91, 2. Chugiak High School 85
1. Service High School 116, 2. Chugiak High School 64
South v. West
1. South Anchorage High School 127, 2. West Anchorage High School 41
1. West Anchorage High School 98, 2. South Anchorage High School 58
Ted McKenney Invite
Varsity Girls Team Results
1. Chugiak; 2. Colony; 3. South Anchorage; 4. East Anchorage; 5. Soldotna; 6. Dimond; 7. West Anchorage; 8. Eagle River; 9. Service; 10. Grace Christian
Varsity Boys Team Results
1. Chugiak; 2. South Anchorage; 3. West Anchorage; 4. Kodiak; 5. Colony; 6. Grace Christian; 7. Service; 8. Dimond; 9. Wasilla; 10. East Anchorage
1. Ella Hopkins, Colony 19:34 ; 2. Tania Boonstra, Soldotna 19:41 ; 3. Morgan Ainsworth, Colony 19:53 ; 4. Aubrey Virgin, Colony 20:03 ; 5. Skyler Belmear, Chugiak 20:09 ; 6. Alliyah Fields, Chugiak 20:09 ; 7. Hannah Shaha, Chugiak 20:11 ; 8. Hannah Bodkin, Chugiak 20:16; 9. Hailee Giacobbe, Wasilla 20:17; 10. Rosie Conway, East Anchorage 20:19
1. Robbie Annett, Grace Christian 16:06; 2. Simon Nelson, Grace Christian 16:16; 3. Fischer Adams, Palmer 16:22; 4. Gregory Fallon, Kenai Central 16:28; 5. Blaise Boyer, South Anchorage 16:45; 6. Elias Litzow, Kodiak 16:53; 7. Blake Hanley, West Anchorage 16:57; 8. Dylan Soberay, West Anchorage 17:06; 9. Colton Merriner, Grace Christian 17:07; 10. Jarrett Jackson, Dimond 17:09
The Military Mile
1. Carrie Lavallee, Army 4:41; 2. Sydney Feltenstein, Army 4:51; 3. Elisabeth Oberlin, Air Force 5:08; 4. Sharlot Davies, Air Force 5:10; 5. Reilly Bauer, Air Force 5:20; 6. Amy Becker, Navy 5:40; 7. Phyllis Kampmeyer, Air Force 5:54; 8. Ann Walls, Army 5:58
1. Caden Foster, Army 5:58; 2. Jorge Cortes, Air Force 6:02; 3. Pedro Ochoa, Army National Guard 6:02; 4. Travis Porter, Air Force 6:05; 5. Ross Martin, Army 6:13; 6. Kyle Van Peursem, Air Force 6:13; 7. Seamus Houlihan, Army 6:25; 8. Steven Willingham, Air Force 6:29
1. Air Force 21:38; 2. Army 21:50; 3. Marine Corps. 40:47
The Anchorage Mile
1. Anna Dalton, Anchorage, 4:57; 2. Melanie Nussbaumer, Fairbanks, 5:11; 3. Megan Murphy, Anchorage, 5:44; 4. Simone Angela Winkler, Santa Cruz, CA 6:16; 5. Morgan Ekemo, Eagle River, 6:29; 6. Aimee O’Neil, Anchorage, 6:44; 7. Kara Cherne, Greenville, WI 6:50; 8. Susan Craig, DeQuincy, LA 6:53; 9. Haylee Schollmeier, Dillingham, 7:04; 10. Ashley Shaw, Eagle River, 7:04
1. Nick Schollmeier, Dillingham, 4:44; 2. Brian Kirchner, Anchorage, 4:48; 3. David Shaw, Eagle River, 5:37; 4. Prashantha Viswanatha, Tampa, FL 5:38; 5. Andrew Aguirre, Tulsa, OK 5:53; 6. Steven Buklis, Anchorage, 6:06; 8. Mark Barbee, Ninilchik, 6:35; 9. Tyler Taylor, Eagle River, 6:43; 10. Jeff Johnson, Anchorage, 6:48
Juneau at Bartlett, Saturday at 2 p.m.
After making deep playoff runs last year, both the Huskies and Golden Bears are still searching for their first wins of the 2023 season heading into Week 3. Both teams lost nail-biters that went down to the wire in Week 2 and will be looking to avoid falling to 0-3 when they face off Saturday afternoon.
Big 8 Invite 5K at Kincaid Park, Saturday at 10 a.m.
The only cross-country action in town this week will be the annual Big 8 Invite at Kincaid Park on Saturday morning that will be hosted by South and West.
Big Eight Invitational at Bartlett, Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
The first big meet of the 2023 season takes place in town this weekend on Saturday morning and will run through the early afternoon.
Chugiak at Dimond, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
The reigning Division I state champion Lynx will be on their home court for the first time this season when they host the Mustangs, who are looking formidable this year after both teams had nice showings at the Chugiak Invite this past weekend.