The Rewind: Chugiak girls cross country and Service boys swimming dominate at respective Big 8 Invites; UAA teams back in action

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 third week of the 2023 Alaska high school football season featured slow starts and strong finishes from the top teams at the Division I level, a pair of dominant performances in Division II and a surprising upset in Division III. On the college sports scene, the University of Alaska Anchorage volleyball team and cross-country teams officially got their respective 2023 campaigns underway. On the national and international stage, a former Alaska prep star had an impressive collegiate performance, an Alaska-born football star made his professional debut and a steeplechase runner from Southeast came up short of his goal but gained valuable experience on the world stage.

Headlines and highlights

There were a pair of Big 8 invites that took place in prep sports action Saturday in town and while one took place in an actual pool and the other outside, both featured heavy amounts of water.

The 2023 Big 8 Cross Country Invite was held at Kincaid Park in the afternoon and forced runners of all experience levels to endure a torrential downpour of rain and strong winds. However, it wasn’t enough to blow the reigning state champion Chugiak girls team off course as the Mustangs claimed the top five spots in the varsity division.

The five Mustangs finished within 10 seconds of each other and were led by junior Alliyah Fields, who finished in a time of 19:58, followed by Skyler Belmear at 20:08, Hannah Bodkin at 20:12, Hannah Shaha at 20:14, and Emily Moore at 20:23.

“It was a really big challenge,” Fields said. “You just have to push through and pace off each other. Sometimes it’s just all in the mindset. You just have to tell yourself to keep going no matter how much pain you’re in.”

[Chugiak girls sweep top 5 spots at Big 8 cross country meet]


On the boys side, South Anchorage teammates Vebjorn Flagstad (16:44) and Blaise Boyer (17:00) finished first and second. Even though they were the only Wolverines to crack the top 10, their team still finished first overall.

Across town within the confines of the Bartlett High School pool, the 2023 Big 8 Invitational for swimming featured an extra team this year as Wasilla participated as well.

[Service boys swimmers are primed to dominate the lanes again, while Eagle River girls are on the rise]

The Service boys team showed up in force with 10 top-three finishes from a combination of individual and relay team performances and had a trio of repeat winners in reigning individual state champions Benjamin Price and Conrad Fawcett as well as Preston Kwon.

“We have a pretty solid core group of people that will hopefully be going to state this year,” Price said.

On the girls side, a fully stocked Eagle River team had a very strong outing as it showed its program is on the rise with seven top-three finishing relay teams and individuals. Sisters Lola and Reese Woodward helped the Wolves edge the defending girls 200-medley relay champion Dimond Lynx and finished first and second in the girls 500 freestyle.

Lola got the good lead and I couldn’t see anyone else on the breaststroke and feel like I got us a little bit further,” said Bryn Baldwin, who was on the medley relay team. “Reese is so good at butterfly that she really put us over and Sophia brought us home.”

In high school football action, top-ranked West Anchorage and second-ranked Bettye Davis East Anchorage recovered from slow starts and went on to remain undefeated with convincing victories in Division I. Soldotna and Eagle River remain unbeaten after producing blowout victories in Division II. Homer improved to 3-0, Houston suffered its first loss of the year in a stunning defeat to Barrow in Division III.

Three-time reigning Cook Inlet Conference flag football champion Dimond continued its strong start to the 2023 season with a pair of victories for the second week in a row. This time around it came in a shutout of Chugiak on Tuesday night and a double-digit win over West on Thursday night. The Lynx outscored their opponents 38-6. The only other undefeated team is South Anchorage, which shut out Bartlett and East and whose point differential is 46-0.

The high school volleyball regular season got underway last week and defending Division I state champion Dimond shook off an uneven start in its home opener last Tuesday and defeated Chugiak in four sets and followed it up with a three-set sweep of Eagle River on Thursday. East also opened its season with a pair of victories that included three-set sweeps of Service last Tuesday and Bartlett on Friday.

[Dimond volleyball defeats Chugiak in season opener to begin title defense]

“We’re all very new as a team together, so getting that connection to push each other to pursue what our potential is is really helpful,” Dimond senior hitter Brooklyn Williams said. “Just being there for everyone is such an important quality.”

On the college scene, the UAA volleyball team got its 2023 regular season going as well when the Seawolves traveled up to Fairbanks to take part in the Alaska/Hawaii Challenge hosted by UAF and lost their first three matches before picking up their first official win of the season Saturday evening when they beat Hawaii Hilo in five sets 3-2 (25-22, 27-25, 23-25,17-25, 15-10).

The defending GNAC regular season champions were led by senior outside hitter Nicole Blue, who received conference offensive player of the week honors after she averaged 3.5 kills on .255 hitting and 0.56 aces per set and produced three double-doubles in the team’s four matches including a career-high 18 kills Friday and a career-high 23 digs on Saturday.

[Despite turnover, UAA volleyball still expects to contend with continuity and deeper connections]

“I think we have a lot of raw talent that just needs to be refined,” Blue said. “(UAA head coach Stacie Meisner and UAA assistant coach Morgan Hooe) created a very healthy environment, and I think that’ll help build up some of that new talent and we’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

The UAA cross-country men’s and women’s teams were also in action up at Kincaid for the Seawolf Throwdown against instate rival UAF. While Nanooks claimed the top three spots in the women’s division, the Seawolves did the same in the men’s led by junior Coleman Nash who earned GNAC Runner of the Week honors after he clocked in a first-place time 15:06.


Alaska stars shining Outside

Anchorage’s Tryee Wilson made his NFL preseason debut in the exhibition finale for the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday in a 31-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The No. 7 overall pick in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft out of Texas Tech missed the team’s first two preseason games as he recovered from an ankle injury that had him sidelined for the start of training camp.

He didn’t play much but was able to get on the field for 13 defensive snaps, registered a solo tackle, and generated some nice pressure off the edge. Wilson is expected to be a key piece in the Raiders defensive front this year and for the foreseeable future and will be lining up next to multi-time Pro Bowlers Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones.

Anchorage’s Kana Mateaki helped lead the Northwest Nazarene women’s soccer team to a 2-1 exhibition victory over Eastern Oregon by scoring a pair of unassisted goals Saturday. The former Dimond prep standout and the Night Hawks officially embarked on her 2023 campaign on Thursday when they travel to Waipahu, Hawaii, to take on the Hawaii Pacific University Sharks.

Ketchikan’s Isaac Updike came in 16th at at the World Championships track and field meet in Budapest, Hungary, on Aug. 22, and even though he finished in last place, the fact that the 31-year-old made it to the finals in his first major international competition is worth noting. The Olympic hopeful began the race keeping pace with eventual winner Soufine El Bakkali of Morocco but would clock in at 8:30.67, well short of his personal best of 8:17.47.

Last week’s results




Seward 38, Nikiski 14


Soldotna 76, Palmer 7

Dimond 24, North Pole 15

Colony 33, Service 25

Homer 52, Kodiak 0

Wasilla 13, Chugiak 7

Kenai 54, Redington 14


West 34, Lathrop 20

Bartlett 56, Juneau 21

Eagle River 36, West Valley 12

East 42, South 14

Barrow 12, Houston 6


Ben Eielson 60, Valdez 14

NFHS/ASBN Week 3 Poll

1. West 3-0

2. East 3-0

3. Soldotna 3-0

4. Dimond 3-0


5. Eagle River 3-0

6. Homer 3-0

7. Colony 2-1

8. Wasilla 2-1

9. Barrow 2-1

10 Lathrop 1-2

Flag Football


Dimond 20, Chugiak 0

South 25, Bartlett 0

East 7, Eagle River 6

West 6, Service 0


Dimond 18, West 6

South 21, East 0

Service 12, Bartlett 0



South 3, Bartlett 1 (25-10, 25-3, 22-25, 26-24)

Dimond 3, Chugiak 1 (25-23, 24-26, 25-22, 25-19)

East 3, Service 0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-17)


East 3, Bartlett 0 (25-14, 25-13, 25-16)

Chugiak 3, West 2 (25-18, 24-26, 30-28, 26-28, 15-11)

South 3, Service 1 (26-17, 16-25, 25-21, 25-23)



West 8, Service 1

Boys Singles 1: Ulysses Escobar (Se) def Jude Cebrian (W) def

Boys Singles 2: Noah Marx (W) def David Kim (Se) 6-4, 6-3

Girls Singles 1: Sophie Chilsholm (W) def Elise Richardson 6-3, 6-0

Girls Singles 2: Hazel Swift (W) won by default

Boys doubles 1: Will Sedwick/Cyrus Clendaniel (W) def Marshall Lavalley/Phoenix Perkins (Se) 6-2, 7-6 (7-5)

Boys Doubles 2: Jack Boots/Jackson Pannkuk (W) def Dawson Moore/Morgan Maeves 6-4, 6-0

Girls Doubles 1: Ruth Green/Lavinia Li (W) def Ivory Sobek/Zirah Sethi 6-0, 6-0

Girls Doubles 2: Nora Houston-Speckman/Kira Bold (W) def Hannah Katchen/Keiko Wilson 6-0, 6-2

Mixed Doubles: Henry Carr/Sarah Kim (W) def Danika Brandorf/Declan Sorich (Se) 6-1, 6-2

Eagle River 9, East 0

Boys Singles 1: Tommy Molloy (ER) def Daniel Monge (EHS) 5-7, 7-5 (tie breaker) 10-7 (tie breaker)

Boys Singles 2: Ryan Mullen (ER) def Silas Boles (EHS) 6-3, 7-5

Girls Singles 1: Skylar McCasland (ER) won by default

Girls Singles 2: Rori Corrigan (ER) won by default

Boys Doubles 1: Ben Utterback/Ben Charlestream (ER) def John Monge/Jonathan Church (EHS) 6-1, 6-0

Boys Doubles 2: Jacob Baltz/Tristan Shephard (ER) won by default

Girls Doubles 1: Isabella Mills/Wendy Attebery (ER) def Katelyn Dennis/Alea Harris-Barnes (EHS) 6-1, 6-2

Girls Doubles 2: Beverly Reed/Damaris Ascencion-Manzur (ER) won by default

Mixed Doubles: Jonathan Charlestream/Cate Utterback (ER) def DeAngelo McCullough/Aspen Davis (EHS) 6-0/East Defaulted 2nd Set.


Big Eight Invitational

Saturday at Bartlett High School

Girls 200 Yard Medley Relay

1. Eagle River (Lola Woodward, Bryn Baldwin, Reese Woodward, Sophia Trembath), 1:54.99. 2. Dimond, 1:59.76. 3. South, 2:02.37.

Boys 200 Yard Medley Relay

1. Service (Ben Price, Jan Beck, Preston Kwon, Conrad Fawcett), 1:39.33. 2. Eagle River, 1:44.01. 3. Dimond, 1:44.13.

Girls 200 Yard Freestyle

1. Reese Woodward, Eagle River, 2:03.02. 2. Paige Antrobus, Dimond, 2:07.00. 3. Molly Wirschem, East, 2:07.70.

Boys 200 Yard Freestyle

1. Ben Price, Service, 1:48.47. 2. Will McKinley, Dimond, 1:50.65. 3. Chris Michael, Chugiak, 1:51.29.

Girls 200 Yard IM

1. Caroline Waters, Dimond, 2:16.47. 2. Megan McLaughlin, South, 2:20.79. 3. Sophia Trembath, Eagle River, 2:27.34.

Boys 200 Yard IM

1. Conrad Fawcett, Service, 2:04.42. 2. Eli Rumph, Eagle River, 2:13.28. 3. Roman Fosberg, Dimond, 2:13.93.

Girls 50 Yard Freestyle

1. Lola Woodward, Eagle River, 25.26. 2. Elizabeth Bingham, South, 25.87. 3. Mia Sperbeck, Dimond, 26.19.

Boys 50 Yard Freestyle

1. Wes Mank, Eagle River, 22.21. 2. Preston Kwon, Service, 22.73. 3. Tyson Morgan, Chugiak, 22.94.

Girls 1 Meter Diving

1. Faith Colman, Service, 223.60, 2. Sophia Sidgman, Eagle River, 177.45, Kensley Denmon, Service, 176.55

Boys 1 Meter Diving

1. Travis Thornton, Wasilla, 238.15. 2. Calvin Musgrave, Wasilla, 224.65. Roman Billings, Dimond, 218.95.

Girls 100 Yard Butterfly

1. Caroline Waters, Dimond, 1:00.41. 2. Kalea Davis, Chugiak, 1:05.52. 3. Jaelin Burrell, Chugiak, 1:08.23.

Boys 100 Yard Butterfly

1. Samuel Randall, Dimond, 56.62. 2. Chris Michael, Chugiak, 57.54. 3. Andy Zhang, Dimond, 59.58.

Girls 100 Yard Freestyle

1. Charlotte Griffith, South, 56.23. 2. Molly Wirschem, East, 56.99. 3. Mia Sperbeck, Dimond, 57.70.

Boys 100 Yard Freestyle

1. Ben Price, Service, 47.53. 2. Tyson Morgan, Chugiak, 49.95. 3. Caeden Kullander, Dimond, 50.11.

Girls 500 Yard Freestyle

1. Lola Woodward, Eagle River, 5:28.11. 2. Reese Woodward, Eagle River, 5:39.25. 3. Paige Antrobus, Dimond, 5:43.44.

Boys 500 Yard Freestyle

1. Conrad Fawcett, Service, 4:54.22. 2. Jan Beck, Service, 4:55.08. 3. Dean Toole, Eagle River, 5:21.99.

Girls 200 Yard Freestyle Relay

1. Eagle River (Reese Woodward, Lelaina Trembath, Sophia Trembath, Lola Woodward), 1:42.83. 2. Dimond, 1:45.58. 3. South, 1:45.94.

Boys 200 Yard Freestyle Relay

1. Service (Ben Price, Jan Beck, Preston Kwon, Conrad Fawcett), 1:31.32. 2. Eagle River, 1:32.82. 3. Chugiak, 1:32.84.

Girls 100 Yard Backstroke

1. Zoe Fencil, South , 1:02.24. 2. Zoe Zipsir, South, 1:08.28. 3. Hannah Katchen, Service, 1:09.14.

Boys 100 Yard Backstroke

1. Wes Mank, Eagle River, 54.01. 2. Will McKinley, Dimond, 55.67. 3. Amadrion Reynier-Wilson, Eagle River, 1:08.54.

Girls 100 Yard Breaststroke

1. Megan McLaughlin, South , 1:10.03. 2. Anna Brooks, Service, 1:14.55. 3. Maya Solomonson, Eagle River, 1:16.56.

Boys 100 Yard Breaststroke

1. Preston Kwon, Service, 56.24. 2. Jan Beck, Service, 1:01.52. 3. Eli Rumph, Eagle River, 1:02.35.

Girls 400 Yard Freestyle Relay

1. Dimond (Mia Sperbeck, Caroline Waters, Paige Antrobus, Holly Dittman), 3:52.73. 2. South, 4:01.64. 3. South, 4:02.27.

Boys 400 Yard Freestyle Relay

1. Chugiak (Chris Michael, Packer Lowell, Blake Fazio, Tyson Morgan), 3:23.24. 2. Dimond, 3:27.26. 3. Eagle River, 3:37.89.

Cross Country

Big 8 Invite


Team totals

1. Chugiak 15; 2. South 58; 3. Service 105; 4. East 117; 5. West 121; 6. Dimond 122.

Individual top 10

1. Alliyah Fields, Chugiak, 19:58; 2. Skyler Belmear, Chugiak, 20:08; 3. Hannah Bodkin, Chugiak, 20:12; 4. Hannah Shaha, Chugiak, 20:14; 5. Emily Moore, Chugiak, 20:23; 6. Miyana Kam-Magruder, Service, 20:26; 7. Petra Knox, Chugiak, 20:29; 8. Elizabeth Page, South, 20:36; 9. Mia Stiassny, South, 20:50; 10. Finn Rigby, East, 20:53.


Team totals

1. South 49; 2. West 71; 3. Service 76; 4. Chugiak 78; 5. Dimond 99; 6. East 138.

Individual top 10

1. Vebjorn Flagstad, South, 16:44; 2. Blaise Boyer, South, 17:00; 3. Blake Hanley, West, 17:02; 4. Jarrett Jackson, Dimond, 17:23; 5. Owen Hayes, Chugiak, 17:26; 6. Luke Shaw, Eagle River, 17:26; 7. Levi Knickerbocker, Service, 17:30; 8. Elias Soule, Service, 17:30; 9. Caleb Sharrock, East, 17:30; 10. Noa Kam-Magruder, Dimond, 17:30.




Chaminade 3, UAA 1 (25-19, 25-18, 22-25, 25-22)

Hawaii Hilo 3, UAA 1 (28-26, 19-25, 25-23, 25-21)


Chaminade 3, UAA 0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-23)

UAA 3, Hawaii Hilo 2 (25-22, 27-25, 23-25,17-25, 15-10)

Cross Country

At Kincaid Park

Seawolf Throwdown Women’s 5K

1. Rosie Fordham, UAF, 18:11; 2. Kendall Kramer, UAF, 18:14; 3. Naomi Bailey, UAF, 18:18; 4. Nell Baker, UAA, 18:40; 5. Delainey Zock, UAF, 19:33; 6. Jordan Strausbaugh, UAA, 19:44; 7. Tabitha Williams, UAF, 19:47; 8. Avery Williamson, UAA, 20:25; 9. Teegan Silva, UAF, 20:30; 10. Sofija Spaic, UAA, 20:41; 11. Aunika Miller, UAA, 21:10; 12. Sarah Baum, UAF, 21:10; 13. Isabel Baesman, UAF, 23:45

Seawolf Throwdown Men’s 5K

1. Cole Nash, UAA, 15:06; 2. John Peckham, UAA, 15:26; 3. Zachary Kohler, UAA, 15:46; 4. Ben Dohlby, UAF, 15:57; 5. George Payne, UAA, 16:18; 6. Michael Zapherson, UAA 16:26; 7. Patrick Doty, Unattached 16:40; 8. Stephen Zukowski, Unattached 16:41; 9. Philipp Moosmayer, UAF, 16:55; 10. Jace Peters, UAF, 16:56; 11. Truman Hansen, Unattached 17:03; 12. Finn Morley, UAF, 17:18; 13. Ryan Owens, UAF, 17:52; 14. Kona Atkins, UAF, 17:57; 15. Josh Baurick, UAF, 18:55.


Lost Lake Run


Women’s top 10

1. Jessica Vetsch, Anchorage, 2:08:08; 2. Julianne Dickerson, Anchorage, 2:15:37; 3. Megan Murphy, Anchorage, 2:16:23; 4. Shauna Severson, Eagle River, 2:16:36; 5. Kianna Wika, Anchorage, 2:16:45; 6. Amanda Cherok, Homer, 2:22:12; 7. Sarah Freistone, Anchorage, 2:23:04; 8. Lisa Anglen, Anchorage, 2:24:08; 9. Sam Longacre, Anchorage, 2:24:29; 10. Mandy Vincent-Lang, Anchorage, 2:25:01.

Men’s top 10

1. Jason Parks, Kenai, 1:53:40; 2. Patrick Conway, Anchorage, 1:57:12; 3. Eric Vilce, Anchorage, 1:57:43; 4. Levi DeBoard, Seward, 1:58:02; 5. Todd Jackson, Anchorage, 2:04:01; 6. Jeffrey Young, Anchorage, 2:07:24; 7. Willie Stoll, Anchorage, 2:07:33; 8. Eric Mortensen, Anchorage, 2:07:35; 9. Warren Hancock, Anchorage, 2:08:03; 10. Craig Taylor, Eagle River, 2:09:09.

2023 Race The Planes 5k

Women’s top 10

1. Michelle Isaev, Anchorage, 21:30; 2. Shannon Weaver, Chugiak, 22:29; 3. Kelly Beck, Chugiak, 23:40; 4. Courtney Diekema, Anchorage, 24:09; 5. Jennifer Schmidt, Anchorage, 24:10; 6. Tui Stanbury, Anchorage, 24:52; 7. Julie Aloysius, Anchorage, AK 25:24; 8. Marcie Stavich, Anchorage, 26:11; 9. Sachiko Kwon, Anchorage, 27:50; 10. Monica Gaupp, Eagle River, 27:55.

Men’s top 10

1. Billy Mueller, Anchorage, 17:43; 2. Kurtis Brumbaugh, Anchorage, 17:52; 3. Jeremy Fairbanks, Anchorage, 18:39; 4. Matthew Dearborn, Eagle River, 19:40; 5. Ross Martin, Anchorage, 20:33; 6. Paul Johnson, Superior, WI 21:03; 7. Andrew Stavich, Anchorage, 21:53; 8. Victor Melendez, Anchorage, 22:33; 9. Ervin Cano, Anchorage, 23:18; 10. Daniel Remington, Fairbanks, 23:22.

Fast Forward



Soldotna at Bartlett, Friday at 6 p.m.

The undefeated Stars will travel up to Anchorage to face the Golden Bears coming off their commanding first win of the season for an interdivision clash between two teams with similar offensive philosophies. Both run the Wing-T offense and even though this weekend’s bout won’t count against either of their records in terms of conference standings, it will fun see who executes the best on both sides of the ball between them. On Saturday, Service will host reigning state runner-up Juneau and South will host reigning state champion Colony.

Flag Football

South at Dimond, Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The only two undefeated teams in the CIC will face off for the first time this season and first time since the Lynx defeated the Wolverines in last year’s championship game to claim their third straight CIC title. While both squads have explosive offensive potential, they also are very stingy on defense. Neither having given up more than six combined points in the season thus far.


Chugiak at East, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

The Mustangs and Thunderbirds are two teams on the rise who are expected to make some noise this year and possibly even make deep postseason runs. East has yet to lose a single set through their first two matches and Chugiak gave defending champion Dimond all they could handle and then some in their regular season opener on the road before. The Mustangs picked up their first victory against reigning state runner-up West in five sets at home this past Friday.



Seawolf Invitational, Thursday-Saturday at Alaska Airlines Center

The Green and Gold will be back in action on their own home court for the first time this season later this week as they will host their annual three-day event. The will face Upper Iowa on Thursday, St. Cloud State on Friday, and both Cal Poly Humboldt and Florida Tech on Saturday.

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.