The Rewind: Allie Ostrander shines at cross country world championships, Alissa Pili goes out with a bang and Wolverines split with Ice Dogs

This past week featured several notable individual and team performances across the Alaska sports landscape at the high school, collegiate and professional levels. The 2024 prep soccer regular season got underway with some strong showings and tightly contested results between several contenders. On the college scene, the University of Alaska Anchorage track and field team performed well in California and two hoopsters were acknowledged for their athletic and academic excellence. Outside the state, several Alaskans had impressive performances at the collegiate and pro levels both domestically and abroad.

Headlines and highlights

The 2024 high school soccer season was in full swing for most of the teams around the state, including the reigning Division I state champions for both the boys and girls as well as some of the other top contenders. The South Anchorage girls team has yet to allow a single goal through the first two games of its title-defending campaign while outscoring its first two opponents a combined 13-0.

“It’s early season and you start to figuring out what works, get a little bit sharper with some of our crosses into the box and our attack in front of the goal and put a couple away which is nice,” South head coach Lauren Lux said.

Elsewhere in Division I girls action, 2023 state runner-up Dimond has had the strongest start of any team in the state in either boys or girls with a pair of double-digit wins this week. In their season opener, the Lynx shut out and blew out West 10-0 Thursday and were led by a pair of hat tricks from Ayla Ertekin and Mai Mateaki. Leading the way with a game-high four goals was Ertekin and two days later, Dimond blew out Colony on the road 13-2.

“We displayed a lot of good things,” Dimond head coach Will Lucero said after the Lynx season-opener. “I was very happy with the team performance overall, and we were able to spring Mai and Ayla at the right times to find the right goals.”

On the boys side, defending state champion Colony began its campaign Saturday with a 5-0 shutout of Dimond. Later in the day, 2023 state runner up South edged rival Service in a heated and tightly contested season-opening match with a 1-0 victory. Both teams had prime opportunities to score more and potentially force overtime or extend the lead on penalty kicks but weren’t able to capitalize.

Service is a rival and it’s always going to be tough,” South head coach Brian Lux said. “We maybe made it a little bit harder on ourselves than we needed to but at the end of the day, the boys played well, and we got a good result.”


On the college scene, the UAA track and field team had very strong showings at a couple of competitions down in California this past week. Junior Cole Nash recorded the third-best finish in Division II this season in the 5,000 by running a 13:55.71 at the Stanford Invite on Friday. The impressive mark was also just two seconds shy of his personal best.

Over at Chabot College in San Francisco the same day, several Seawolves produced podium performances at the Mike Fanelli Track Classic hosted by San Francisco State University. Freshman sensation Joshua Caleb won the 400-meter race in 47.87, which tied for fourth-fastest ever at UAA. Junior Liv Heite won the 100-meter hurdles with a 14.60 and also finished third in the 400 hurdles with a 1:04.88. UAA won both 4x400 relays with the men’s team combining for a first-place time of 3:25.33 and the women’s squad combining for a first-place time of 3:59.55. The women’s 4x100 relay team finished third with a mark of 48.86 and freshman Vivien Liessfeld, who was a member of the 4x100 relay team, finished second in the long jump with a mark of 17-8.

A pair of UAA basketball players who shined both on the court and in the classrooms this past season received Academic All-District honors as senior guard Tyson Gilbert and junior forward Kate Robertson were selected to the College Sports Communicators Academic All-District Teams this past Tuesday. Eligible honorees had to have maintained a minimum GPA of 3.5 overall and have played in at least 90 percent of their respective team’s games or be a starter in at least 66 percent of them.

The Anchorage Wolverines faced off with in-state rivals, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, for the second weekend in a row in a two-game home series last weekend. Anchorage dropped the second in a 2-1 shootout on Saturday but following a 4-3 victory on Friday, they got to hoist the AK Club 49 Cup trophy after having already clinched the honor weeks ago. Forward Tyler Hennen recorded the first multi-goal game of his junior hockey career in the first game as he continues to heat up for the Wolverines down the stretch.

“He has been hot the last few weekends,” Anchorage head coach Nick Walters said. “He has been a player where it has taken a little bit for him to find his groove and role on the team, but as of late, he has just been a machine.”

[Anchorage Wolverines fend off Ice Dogs rally to hoist AK Club 49 Cup in victory]

Alaska stars shining Outside

Soldotna’s Allie Ostrander recorded the second-fastest finish among Americans and placed 30th at the World Athletics Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Belgrade, Serbia. The former Kenai Central High School star finished in 34 minutes, 11 seconds, and was proud to have reached her goal of finishing in the top 30 while also being among the best from her country.

“I’m pretty happy,” she told the website Let’s Run. “My plan was to go out conservative and try and stay relaxed and move up as much as I could, just because of the heat and the weirdness of the course. I was happy with it.”

[Alaska runner Allie Ostrander finishes 2nd among Americans at cross country world championships]

Alaska Pacific University ski team members Novie McCabe and Scott Peterson finished the U.S. Ski Team’s final race of the cross-country season on a high note. For the 22-year-old McCabe, her mark of 1:39:37.4 in the women’s 40K secured her second national title in five days to cap off her first season with the program. Meanwhile the 32-year-old Patterson capped his illustrious career with one last medal-winning performance by coming in third place in the men’s 40K with a mark of 1:39:44.7.

Anchorage’s Alissa Pili went out in a blaze of glory in her final college game. The University of Utah women’s basketball team lost 77-66 to Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA tournament last Monday. But the former Dimond multisport star put on quite a show in a valiant effort to help the Utes advance to the regional semifinals for the second year in a row. She recorded her fifth 30-point outing of the season with a game-high 35 points and finished with seven rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block.

“I’m grateful I came to Utah and kind of turned my whole life around,” Pili said following the game. “I’m grateful and I’m ready for the future.”

[Anchorage’s Alissa Pili scores 35 in her final collegiate game as Gonzaga knocks Utah out of NCAA Tournament]

Fairbanks’ Daishen Nix averaged 28.5 points per game in the final week of the regular season for the Iowa Wolves, the NBA G-League team affiliated with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He led the team in scoring and eclipsed 20 points in each game, recorded a double-double last Monday with 27 points and 10 rebounds, and in the same game he recorded 31 points Wednesday, his teammate Kok Yat of Anchorage reached double figures in scoring with 11 points.

Anchorage’s David Carle coached the Denver University men’s hockey team to a pair of hard-fought 2-1 victories over No. 4 University of Massachusetts and No. 3 Cornell University in the Northeast regional championships last week. By doing so, the Alaska coach has the Pioneers in the NCAA Frozen Final Four semifinals for the third time in the last six seasons as the program looks to win its first title since the 2022 season. His team will take on No. 1-ranked Boston University on April 11 in St. Paul, Minnesota, at the Xcel Energy Center for a chance to return to the finals.

Fast Forward


Track and field


Russ Edwards Big C Relays

One of the biggest meets of the regular season will take place this weekend at The Dome sports complex where teams from across the Last Frontier will compete to see where they stand in relation to some of the top competition in the early portion of the season. Friday’s field events will get started at 10 a.m. followed by running events at 11 a.m. and will continue until 8:30 p.m. Saturday’s action will get going a little earlier with field events starting up at 7:45 a.m. followed by running events at 9 a.m. and is set to wrap up at 5:30 p.m.

Girls Soccer

South vs. Dimond, Wednesday at 2:50 p.m. at The Dome

The fiercest rivalry in the state will have its latest edition and first of this season take place this week in town as the defending champions and last year’s runner-ups play each other for the first time since the 2023 state finals for a mid-week Cook Inlet Conference clash of titans.


Anchorage Wolverines vs. Janesville Jets, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at Ben Boeke Ice Arena

The hometown junior hockey team will be back in action on home ice again this weekend when it hosts another Midwest division foe for a two-game series as it hopes to catch up with the top-seeded Wisconsin Windigo in the standings with two weeks left in the regular season.


Last week’s results


Boys Soccer


East 2, Bartlett 1


West 2, Dimond 2


Colony 5, Dimond 0

South 1, Service 0

Girls Soccer


Colony 14, Grace Christian 0


Bartlett 2, East 1


Dimond 10, West 0


Dimond 13, Colony 2

Chugiak 10, Bartlett 1


South 5, Service 0

Track and Field



Bartlett 180, Eagle River 146

Chugiak 201, East 119


South 163, Dimond 110

West 194, Service 107



Bartlett 147, Eagle River 139

Chugiak 255, East 87


Dimond 165, South 152

Service 163, West 92



Anchorage Wolverines 4, Fairbanks Ice Dogs 3


Fairbanks Ice Dogs 2, Anchorage Wolverines 1 (SO)

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.