The Rewind: West ski squads take state, Wolverines roll and UAA teams stay hot

Welcome to The Rewind, a weekly digest that puts a spotlight on the biggest stories and best performances from Alaska’s world of sports.

This past week featured several noteworthy individual and overall team performances across the Alaska sports landscape at the prep, collegiate and professional levels. The 2024 state cross-country skiing championship saw one program reign supreme again. On the college scene, the University of Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team stayed hot while the women’s team bounced back and the hockey team split a road series. Outside the state, several Alaskans had impressive performances domestically at the collegiate and professional levels.

Headlines and highlights

The 2023-24 high school cross-country season came to a close over the weekend with the annual ASAA state championships and for the second year in a row, West Anchorage swept the boys and girls team titles. Both groups came into Saturday’s relay races in a tight race for the overall award but they were able to pull away thanks to the girls successfully defending their title in the event and the all-senior boys team avenging their narrow defeat from a year ago. Junior Merridy Littell and senior Murphy Kimball also won individual titles in the girls and boys classic 7.5K mass start races on Friday.

“Winning back-to-back championships with both teams is rare and can be a hard target,” West coach Joey Caterinichio said in a statement. “Many of the athletes from last year were back and they stayed determined despite being even or behind the first day. ... Alaska breeds many amazing skiers who go on to perform and even win on the world stage. I am certain some of these athletes graduating from West will join that group. For now, it’s just a great way to enjoy their senior year and enjoy an amazing season. It was a pleasure to be their coach.”

[ West High sweeps boys and girls relay races to claim state ski championships for 2nd year in a row]

Sophomore Olivia Soderstrom of Service battled through illness the week of state yet still managed to successfully defend her title as Skimeister for girls Division I. She finished with the fastest time in the 5K freestyle on Thursday and then managed to come in sixth place in the Friday’s 7.5K classic for combined time of 38:39.3.

“This week, I didn’t know what to expect. I was sick all week, and I just showed up on Thursday hoping for a podium and ended up doing pretty well,” she said. “Yesterday, I knew I wasn’t going to win but I did my best to stay with the lead group and in contention for Skimeister, and I did, so I’m happy with it.”


Sophomore Vebjorn Flagstad of South Anchorage High just narrowly missed out claiming the top podium spot on both days but his incredibly strong finishes in both races earned him his first career Skimeister honors.

“It’s amazing, I just got more consistent,” he said. “I’m super happy that I was able to be consistent even if I didn’t win.”

In prep hoops action, the Bettye Davis East boys extended the longest active winning streak in the state dating back to last season’s state tournament to 23 in a row with a pair of dominant wins in which they blew their opponents out by a combined 128-65. On the girls side, the Dimond girls maintained their firm grasp on the top spot in the Cook Inlet Conference standings and improved their winning streak to seven in a row with a 66-49 win over South and a 73-49 victory over West.

On the college scene, the UAA men’s team stayed hot and improved its winning streak to four in a row with a pair of impressive road wins this past week. On Thursday, they stormed back from a double-digit deficit and took nationally ranked Saint Martin’s down to the wire before emerging victorious for the second time this season, completing the sweep with an 80-79 win.

“We just love the resilience of this group — they stayed in the fight for 40 minutes,” UAA head coach Rusty Osborne said in a statement. “We got great contributions from our bench when three starters went out with 12 minutes left with four fouls. We kept battling, and our defense and execution in the last four minutes was excellent.”

The Seawolves won their fourth straight in more commanding fashion when they collectively made it rain from behind the arc in a 72-51 blowout win over Western Oregon on Saturday in which they hit a season-high 14 3-pointers. Leading the team in scoring this past week was junior guard Dillon Barrientos, who earned Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Week honors after averaging 15.5 points per game on 10-of-16 shooting that included going 7-of-11 on 3-pointers.

The UAA women’s basketball team had one of its two games canceled last week but in the one they did play, the Seawolves got back on track with a 64-50 win over Saint Martin’s last Thursday. They were propelled to victory thanks to a career-night from sophomore Elaina Mack of King Cove who tied her career high in points with 17 including going 5-of-9 on three pointers and recording a career-best six rebounds. They also got a strong outing from junior center/forward Tori Hollingshead who led the team with 21 points.

“It was a slow start offensively, but once we started getting the ball inside to Tori, we started getting more open looks and softening up their zone,” UAA head coach Ryan McCarthy said in a statement. “Elaina was not only big with her threes, but she earned us extra chances with four offensive boards and was strong with the ball (0 turnovers) while logging our most minutes (32). I’m proud of her and the whole squad for getting it done tonight.”

The UAA hockey team was on the road for the second week in a row and even though its four-game winning streak came to an end, it still managed to split its two-game series with Augustana. The Seawolves won the first game on Friday that went into overtime 6-5 but were shut out the following night 3-0. The Seawolves had six players record a goal in their victory with the game-winner coming unassisted from freshman Aiden Westin of Anchorage.

The UAA track and field team had an incredibly strong showing at the 2024 GNAC Indoor Track and Field Championships. The Seawolves had seven athletes produce podium finishes and set both program and conference records in the process. However, none were as impressive or dominant than freshman Joshua Caleb, who earned GNAC Performance of the Year honors after winning the 60- and 200-meter races in record times.

His winning time of 6.73 in the 60 came after he set the all-time GNAC record and the conference championship record with a 6.70 in the prelims on Monday. Caleb followed up with a win in the 200 in a meet record time of 21.18 which ranks sixth in all Division II and set a new GNAC all-time record. Senior Kevin Angarita won the 400 in a school-record time of 47.88 and freshman Jess Chisar won the 800 in 2:12.35.

“We had a great two days,” UAA head coach Ryan McWilliams said in a statement. “This team had an outsized effect on the outcome of the team standings and any event we had a Seawolf in, the Seawolves showed up. We are looking forward to trying to wrap up our indoor season at the NCAA Championships and get this group ready for an outdoor season.”

The Anchorage Wolverines pulled off yet another series sweep for the second week in a row by notching three straight wins over the visiting Chippewa Steel over the weekend. The Wolverines scored four or more goals in each game and had 10 players record a goal over the three-day span with Fyodor Nikolayenya, Taisetsu Ushio, and Arvega Hovsepyan each scoring two apiece. With the wins, Anchorage has won six straight games and sits in third place in the NAHL’s Midwest Division standings.

The 40th annual Iron Dog snow machine race, touted as the world’s longest, saw the team of Cody Barber and Brett Lapham claim victory on Sunday when they arrived in Big Lake, completing the course in a time of 52 hours, 36 minutes, 10 seconds. Barber and Lapham who were Team 39, crossed the finish line just after 12:20 p.m. and averaged 47.58 mph over the 2,503-mile course from Big Lake to Nome and back.

“It feels really good, like it’s finally paid off,” Barber told “It’s been 10 years in the making, and it has taken a lot of work to get here.”

[Cody Barber and Brett Lapham win 2024 Iron Dog]

The 2024 Open World Championship Sled Dog Race was won by Anny Malo of Quebec who came from behind to claim victory in a time of 4:32:59. Blayne “Buddy” Streeper, a 10-time champion who was looking for a record 11th title, finished in third place.


[Quebec musher Anny Malo wins 2024 Open World Championship Sled Dog Race]

Alaska stars shining Outside

Anchorage’s Gus Schumacher followed up his historic World Cup race victory with another top-of-the-podium finish less than a week later when he came in first at the American Birkebeiner 50K freestyle Saturday in Cable, Wisconsin. His finishing time of 1:58:18 was six seconds clear of runner-up Sam Hendry while his fellow Alaskans David Norris and Scott Patterson tied for third place with identical times of 1:58:27.

[Anchorage skier Gus Schumacher wins American Birkebeiner 50K freestyle]

Anchorage’s Alissa Pili recorded a pair of 20-plus point games this past week for the University of Utah women’s basketball team. The former Dimond high multi-sport star had a double-double in a loss to UCLA on Thursday, leading the Utes with 20 points and 11 rebounds and then dropped a team-leading 23 points and came up one rebound shy of a second straight double-double in a win over nationally ranked USC on Sunday.

Wasilla’s Sullivan Menard helped lead the Whitworth University men’s basketball team to its third straight Northwest Conference championship this past Saturday n an 81-75 win over Whitman College. The 2019 Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year and former Colony star finished second on the team in scoring with 21 points that included sinking 4-of-9 attempts from behind the arc.

Anchorage’s Sayvia Sellers recorded a career-high 10 assists in the University of Washington women’s basketball 74-66 win over Oregon this past Friday. The former Anchorage Christian School star also logged seven points, four rebounds, and a pair of steals.

Anchorage’s Angelline Nageak recorded a season-high 10 rebounds in the Adams State University women’s basketball team’s 67-64 win over Black Hills State this past Saturday. In addition to leading the Grizzlies in boards, the former Dimond High standout also recorded seven points, three steals and three assists.

Fast Forward




Wasilla at Mountain City (girls), Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The top two girls teams on the state will face off for the second time this season in what many believe is yet another potential championship preview with the Northern Lights regular season conference title on the line. In the best matchup of the week, both teams will be trying to extend their respective inning streaks with two-time defending 4A state champion Lions also looking to avenge their lone loss of the season that they suffered at the hands of the Warriors earlier this month.

East at Dimond (boys), Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Two of the hottest teams in the CIC will square off for the second time this season looking to extend their respective winning streaks. The defending 4A state champion Thunderbirds will be looking to extend the longest active winning streak against in-state competition to 24 straight dating back to last year’s state tournament. Meanwhile the Lynx will be trying to stay hot and pick up their fifth straight win by avenging a 20-point loss they suffered earlier this month and to stay in contention for the second seed at next week’s regional tournament.



UAA vs Seattle Pacific, Thursday at 5:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Alaska Airlines Center

Both Seawolves hoops squads will be back in town and on their home court this week for a pair of games against GNAC opponents starting with the Falcons on Thursday night with the women’s game up first and the men’s immediately following. Two days later, they will take on Montana State Billings at the same times on Saturday night.


UAA vs Stonehill, Friday at 7:07 and Saturday at 3:07 p.m. at Avis Alaska Sports Complex

The surging Seawolves will be back on their home ice after being on the road for the last two weeks and will be looking to bounce back from having their four-game winning streak snapped in a two-game series with the Sky Hawks this weekend.



Anchorage Wolverines vs Kenai River Brown Bears, Friday at 7 p.m. at Ben Boeke Ice Arena

The hometown junior hockey team will be back at home for the third weekend in a row, where it will host the first contest in a two-game series with its other in-state rival on Friday and will head down to Soldotna on Saturday to play the second at 7:30 p.m.

Last week’s results

Cross Country Skiing

Alaska state cross country skiing championships



Freestyle 5K

Girls (Top 10)

1. Olivia Soderstrom, Service, 14:49.7; 2. Mia Stiassny, South, 14:57.2; 3. Miyana Kam-Magruder, Service, 15:02.6; 4. Piper Sears, West, 15:08.0; 5. Merridy Littell, West, 15:17.4; 6. Tania Boonstra, Soldotna, 15:35.9; 7. Berit Meyers, West, 15:48.9; 8. Alise Elliott, South, 15:52.2; 9. Haley Finch, Service, 15:52.8; 10. Elliot Sensabaugh, Colony, 15:57.2

Boys (Top 10)

1. Oskar Flora, Service, 12:35.7; 2. Vebjorn Flagstad, South, 12:37.1; 3. Cole Flowers, West, 12:41.3; 4. Weston Sensabaugh, Colony, 12:54.2; 5. Elias Oswald, Service, 12:55.7; 6. Hatcher Menkens, West, 13:01.9; 7. Wells Wappett, Lathrop, 13:03.1; 8. Oliver Wright, West, 13:03.7; 9. Jack Leveque, Service, 13:13.4; 10. Blake Hanley, West, 13:15.4



Mass start classic 7.5K

Division I (overall) top 10

1. Murphy Kimball, West, 19:34.8; 2. Vebjorn Flagstad, South, 19:34.9; 3. Cole Flowers, West, 20:00.2; 4. Coby Marvin, Colony, 20:05.3; 5. Blake Hanley, 20:13.4; 6. Oskar Flora, Service, 20:13.5; 7. Logan Cuddy, 20:15.3; 8. Miles Numme-Worrell, East, 20:15.6; 9. Jack Leveque, Service, 20:30.5; 10. Gabriel Black, Colony, 20:30.6.

Division II podium

1. Gregory Fallon, Kenai, 21:34.0; 2. Jody Goodrich, Homer, 21:59.6; 3. Jack Laker, Kenai, 22:23.7.


Mass start classic 7.5K

Division I (overall) top 10

1. Merridy Littell, West, 23:41.6; 2. Piper Sears, West, 23:42.1; 3. Tania Boonstra, Soldotna, 23:43.6; 4. Miyana Kam-Magruder, Service, 23:43.9; 5. Elliot Sensabaugh, 23:47.3; 6. Olivia Soderstrom, Service, 23:47.6; 7. Mia Stiassny, South, 23:48.6; 8. Alise Elliott, South, 24:08.1; 9. Maya Tirpack, South, 24:48.6; 10. Berit Meyers, West, 24:51.8.

Division II podium

1. Emily Moss, Kenai, 27:03.0; 2. Daisy Walker, Homer, 27:19.3; 3. Isla Crouse, Kenai, 27:53.0.



4 x 3K Mixed Technique Relay

Top 10 overall

1. West 36:13.7; 2. Service 37:06.2; 3. Soldotna 38:18.0; 4. South 38:20.6; 5. Colony 39:26.2; 6. West Valley 40:22.0; 7. East 40:30.5; 8. Chugiak 41:05.6; 9. Juneau-Douglas 41:35.6; 10. Dimond 41:50.5


4 x 3K Mixed Technique Relay

Top 10 overall

1. West 30:17.0; 2. Colony 31:06.1; 3. Service 31:36.3; 4. South 32:08.8; 5. West Valley 32:41.6; 6. Kenai 33:35.0; 7. East 33:53.1; 8. Dimond 34:12.5; 9. Chugiak 34:47.8; 10. Eagle River 34:55.4

Boys Basketball


Skagway 77, Thorne Bay 19

Ninilchik 65, Effie Kokrine Charter 31

Cook Inlet Academy 72, Nanwalek 43

Unalaska 58, Lumen Christi 25


Lumen Christi 67, Birchwood Christian 62

Mt. Edgecumbe 64, Sitka 58

Kenai Central 68, Nikiski 41

Wasilla 64, Palmer 53

Hutchison 54, Delta 37

Service 64, Bartlett 61 (OT)

East 74, Eagle River 28

West Valley 46, Lathrop 42

Dimond 52, South 43

West 71, Chugiak 46


Petersburg 62, Haines 31

Delta 70, Ben Eielson 42

Monroe Catholic 55, North Pole 30


Bristol Bay 59, Aniak 29

Minto 66, Nunamiut 55

Petersburg 37, Haines 36

Manokotak 75, Togiak 68

Angoon 54, Hoonah 32

South 42, Colony 34

King Cove 60, Sand Point 31

Mt. Edgecumbe 69, Ketchikan 64


Dimond 64 West 57

Thunder Mountain 83, Juneau-Douglas 73

Service 59, Chugiak 44

Eagle River 55, South 53

East 53, Bartlett 37

North Pole 51, Palmer 47

Monroe Catholic 56, Valdez 39

Redington 66, Kenai Central 43

Grace Christian 73, Niksiki 24

West Valley 57, Wasilla 51

Cook Inlet Academy 61, Holy Rosary Academy 33

Soldotna 50, Houston 40

Unalakleet 65, Galena 42

Cordova 75, Tok 44

Wrangell 73, Craig 52

Mt. Edgecumbe 83, Petersburg 57

Angoon 69, Hoonah 21

Bristol Bay 59, Tuluksak 33

Kodiak 38, Mountain City 28

Jimmy Huntington 66, Nunamiut 62

Bristol Bay 60, Kalskag 20

Bristol Bay 71, Akiak 60


Napaaqtugmiut 53, Aqqaluk 22

McQueen 46, Kiana 36

Brevig Mission 74, Aniguiin 38

Akiachak 74, Bristol Bay 56

Palmer 55, Lathrop 25

Barrow 75, Kotzebue 59

West Valley 61, Colony 44

Seward 62, Redington 45

Grace Christian 71, Homer 34

Girls Basketball


Ninilchik 68, Effie Kokrine Charter 31

Cook Inlet Academy 31, Nanwalek 29

Lumen Christi 33, Unalaska 24


Lumen Christi 45, Birchwood Christian 36

West Valley 40, Lathrop 21

Chugiak 52, West 48

Wasilla 69, Palmer 19

Eagle River 38, East 24

Mt. Edgecumbe 68, Sitka 60

Kenai Central 55, Nikiski 49

Dimond 66, South 49

Service 54, Bartlett 48


Delta 52, Ben Eielson 19

Monroe Catholic 41, North Pole 32

Haines 30, Petersburg 27


Tanalian 62, Tuluksak 28

Newhalen 82, Kalskag 24

Thunder Mountain 54, Mt. Edgecumbe 52

West Valley 72, Palmer 42

Fort Yukon 53, Lumen Christi 32

Haines 46, Petersburg 22

Sand Point 49, King Cove 25

Hoonah 53, Angoon 28


Newhalen 83, Aniak 28

Tanalian 50, Kalskag 45

Anthony Andrews 53, Gambell 32

Thunder Mountain 49, Juneau-Douglas 35

Hoonah 58, Angoon 28

North Pole 49, Palmer 38

Houston 59, Soldotna 54

Craig 52, Wrangell 48

Dimond 73, West 49

Service 64, Chugiak 31

Ben Eielson 21, Hutchison 17

Fort Yukon 45, Lumen Christi 32

Mountain City 84, Kodiak 12

Ketchikan 54, Mt. Edgecumbe 47

Barrow 74, Kotzebue 35

Anthony Andrews 65, Gambell 35

Kiana 64, McQueen 57

Davis-Romoth 60, Buckland 51


Davis-Romoth 69, Buckland 64

Kiana 71, McQueen 66

Newhalen 60, Tuluksak 9

Colony 67, West Valley 40

Barrow 77, Kotzebue 27

Mountain City 84, Kodiak 12

Kenai Central 72, Houston 50

Grace Christian 67, Homer 41


Women’s Basketball


UAA 64, Simon Fraser 50


UAA v. Western Oregon (Canceled)

Men’s Basketball


UAA 80, Simon Fraser 79


UAA 72, Western Oregon 51



UAA 6, Augustana 5 (OT)


Augustana 3, UAA 0



Illinois State 195.550, Western Michigan 194.900, UAA 189.725


Northern Illinois 195.800, Illinois State 194.350, 191.200, Wisconsin-Eau Claire 190.550



Anchorage Wolverines 5, Chippewa Steel 3


Anchorage Wolverines 4, Chippewa Steel 3


Anchorage Wolverines 4, Chippewa Steel 0

2024 Frostbite Footrace

5k Female

1. Emily Schmieg, Anchorage, 22:59; 2. Fran Sauter, Anchorage, 24:50; 3. Caitlin O’Callaghan, Pacifica, CA 25:18; 4. Nevaeh Dunlap, Anchorage, 26:02; 5. Haley Gilman, Anchorage, 26:07; 6. Danielle Erb, Dundas, ON 27:19; 7. Emily Entz, Bozeman, MT 27:21; 8. Monica Gaupp, Eagle River, 27:49; 9. Penny Wasem, Willow, 27:51; 10. Allison Devine, Chugiak, 27:59.

5k Male

1. Katahdin Staples, Anchorage, 18:53; 2. Christopher Smith, Anchorage, 19:12; 3. Gunner Bahn, Anchorage, 19:59; 4. Keaden Dunlap, Anchorage, 21:04; 5. Kurt Rorvik, Anchorage, 21:56; 6. Travis Christman-Strawn, Eagle River, 22:07; 7. Adam Mruk, Anchorage, 22:16; 8. Tim Sorensen, Anchorage, 22:42; 9. Andrew Statkevich, Anchorage, 22:49; 10. David Riesland, Hartford, WI 23:24.

2.5K Female

1. Andrea Resende, Anchorage, 13:23; 2. Erin Chavet, Anchorage, 14:09; 3. Tracie Haan, Anchorage, 14:13; 4. Madison Everett, Eagle River, 14:17; 5. Sheilah-Margaret Pothast, Anchorage, 17:40; 6. Charli Kluckman, Anchorage, 18:27; 7. Sadie Harrison, Anchorage, 18:37; 8. Shayla Harrison, Anchorage, 18:41; 9. Danielle Harrison, Anchorage, 18:52; 10. Andrea DeVore, Anchorage, 20:37

2.5K Male

1. Cole Curtner, Chugiak, 17:16; 2. Dayton Denter, Eagle River, 17:28; 3. Ashton Denter, JBER, 17:29; 4. Jim Swendseid, Anchorage, 17:42; 5. Brad Kluckman, Anchorage, 18:28; 6. Kyler Dunford, Anchorage, 20:43; 7. Anthony Leguineche, Anchorage, 21:05; 8. Winston Iozzo, Anchorage, 21:11; 9. Miles Villarreal, Anchorage, 21:17; 10. Jordan McCord, Eagle River, 21:41

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.