The Rewind: Alissa Pili goes pro, Wolverines take playoff lead and Service baseball hands South first loss with heavy hearts

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 notable individual and team performances across the Alaska sports landscape at the high school, collegiate and professional levels. The 2024 baseball regular season saw the reigning Division I state champs taste defeat for the first time this season. On the college scene, the University of Alaska Anchorage track and field team had one of its top performers highlight a a strong overall showing down in Washington. Outside the state, several Alaskans had impressive performances with the spotlight on.

Headlines and highlights

The 2024 high school baseball was in full swing across the state this past week and saw some impressive and impassioned performances by several of the top teams. However, none were better than Service, which opened the season 3-0 with wins over perennial powers including three-time defending champion South.

While Cougars’ Cook Inlet Conference clash on Friday afternoon with their Hillside rivals didn’t count toward either team’s league record, their 9-1 victory still marked the Wolverines first loss of the season all the same. Service was the last team to defeat South last year during the regular season and used a three-run opening inning to jump out to a lead it would not relinquish. Reigning Gatorade Player of the Year and starting catcher, Coen Niclai helped lead the effort with a pair of hits, a triple and an RBI.

The Cougars were playing for more than just themselves as players brought flowers for their head coach Willie Paul before the game in honor of his late mother Tammy Paul, who passed away Wednesday night following a battle with cancer.

Baseball is more than a game! It's Family!

Posted by Service Baseball on Friday, April 19, 2024

On the college sports scene, the UAA track and field team traveled down to the Central Washington University Wildcat Invite this past Saturday and saw senior sprinter Kevin Angarita win the men’s 400 meter race. He recorded a first-place time of 47.86 which was just 0.27 off his personal best and 0.35 shy of the school record.

Other Seawolves standouts from the meet included a trio of top 10 finishes in the 100-meter hurdles with Liv Heite coming in fourth at 14.48, Mette Van Der Meer fifth at 14.91 and Lacie Simmons eighth at 15.74. Freshman Eric Bushnell hurled the discus 138-0, which marked the fourth-farthest throw in school history and was good enough for seventh place in the event.


Although the collegiate Nordic ski season is over, the UAA program is still finding ways to win on the recruiting trail which now includes a big fish from their own local talent pool. West High’s Murphy Kimball was one of two new signees Seawolves associate head coach Trond Flagstad announced last Tuesday with the other being Dashe McCabe of Methow Valley, Washington.

“I am very happy that Dashe choose to come to UAA to develop as a skier,” Flagstad said in a statement. “She has great potential, and I believe UAA has the right program for to reach her athletic as well as academic goals. I am also excited to continue a long tradition of bringing skiers from the Methow Valley, Wash. to Anchorage.”

Kimball’s impressive list of accolades include placing 41st in the freestyle sprint race at a World Cup event in Canmore, Alberta earlier this year. He also won the classic sprint at the Junior National Championships in Lake Placid and was the Alaska state champion in the 7.5-kilometer classic this season. He finished in sixth place in the senior sprint at the Super Tour in Anchorage in December and 20th in the classic sprint at the US Senior National Championships down in Utah. At the 2022 Junior National Championships, he won the classic sprint and at the at the 2023 Junior National Championships finished second in the 5K freestyle and finished second in the freestyle sprint.

“I am thrilled that Murphy will be joining the Seawolves this fall,” Flagstad said in a statement. “Murphy had a great season of racing, and he was especially strong in the sprint races. I am looking forward to see him continue to race strong in sprinting while developing his distance racing. I can’t wait to start working with this talented young man.”

After getting swept by their instate rivals to close out the regular season, the Anchorage Wolverines bounced back in impressive fashion with a pair of hard fought victories over the Minnesota Wilderness to open the 2023-24 Robertson Cup playoffs this past weekend. On Friday night, they got a lights out performance from goalie Liam Beerman who recorded 33 saves and even notched an assist on the final goal of a 4-0 win for the home team.

“He was dialed (in),” Wolverines head coach Nick Walters said. “The assist was awesome, but the save before that are the saves that you need your goaltender to make in big moments. All year you try to teach these guys how to play in big moments, so it’s good to see him have that big moment late in the game.”

[Anchorage Wolverines open playoffs with bounce-back shutout win]

Saturday night’s game was much closer and went into overtime but thanks to a clutch goal from forward Tyler Hennen, Anchorage came out on top 2-1 and will hit the road next weekend needing just one more win in the best-of-five series to advance to the next round of the postseason.

“We turned the page,” Walters said. “It’s a new season, but I think that because you had so much success during the (regular) season, you want to replicate that and those are the things that you are constantly thinking about.”

Alaska stars shining Outside

Anchorage’s Alissa Pili saw her dream of becoming a professional athlete finally came true following stellar prep and collegiate basketball careers last Monday when she was selected No. 8 overall in the 2024 WNBA Draft by the Minnesota Lynx. The former Dimond high multi-sport star and Pac-12 Player of the Year, is now just the sixth Alaskan to join the league and the first since Fairbanks’ Ruthy Hebard, who will now be Pili’s teammate.

[Alaska’s Alissa Pili lands with the Minnesota Lynx as the No. 8 pick in the 2024 WNBA draft]

Anchorage’s Jeremy Swayman earned the fourth playoff victory of his career and fourth victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs this season as the starting goaltender for the Boston Bruins in the team’s 5-1 win in the Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. The 25-year-old prevented 35-of-36 shots from finding the back of the next, marking the most he has ever stopped in a Stanley Cup playoff game in his career.

“It’s such a privilege to play in this league and for this city,” Swayman said in a postgame interview. “I think we stuck to the game plan really well. It starts with the coaching staff. ... I think that our game plan was excellent and our guys take initiative in blocking shots.”

Anchorage’s Drake Glover recently became the first Alaskan to ever be voted to receive First-Team All-SPHL honors by coaches, staff and broadcasters in the Southern Professional Hockey League. The 28-year-old forward is coming off a career year where he was a force on the ice for the top-seeded Birmingham Bulls. He finished the season as the league’s leading goal scorer with 35 and came in second in total points with 60.

Shungnak’s Spencer Woods came up just short of making the Team USA roster for the 2024 summer Olympic games on Saturday night when he fell 3-1 to Wisconsin’s Payton Jacobson in the last of a best-of-three finals match in the 87kg division at the US Olympic Trials for Greco Roman wrestling in State College, Pennsylvania. In their first match of the day, Jacobson prevailed 8-2 which forced Woods to have to come away with a win in their second match to keep his hopes of representing his state and country on the world’s biggest stage alive. The three-time national champion was able to do just that in a 5-2 victory to force a third match with a spot on Team USA on the line.

Fast Forward




South vs. Chugiak, Wednesday at 7:45 p.m.

The 2024 season is tentatively slated to get underway this week but the status of the fields at the Chuck Albrecht Softball Complex will determine if the Wolverines and Mustangs can face off for the first time since last year’s state title game on Field No. 1.

[Facing near-record snow season, here’s how Anchorage teams are getting on outdoor fields this spring]


South vs. Soldotna, Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at Bartlett

The two-time defending Division II state champion Stars will be in town this week to take on a quartet of Cook Inlet Conference teams in nonconference bouts starting with East on Thursday night at 6:45 p.m., a double-header with West and Bartlett on Friday at 2:15 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. and a Saturday morning clash with the Woverines.

Boys Soccer

Colony at South, Friday at 5:15 p.m.


The reigning Division I boys state champion Knights will be looking the avenge their lone loss of the the season thus far when they come into two to face off with the Wolverines for the second time this season in another rematch of last year state title match.

Native Youth Olympics,

Thursday-Friday-Saturday at Alaska Airlines Center

Student athletes from communities large and small across the Last Frontier will converge in town later this week for the annual three-day event which will take place from Thursday-Saturday at the Alaska Airlines Center. The 2024 games will feature several traditional contests that were developed to hone crucial skills to everyday life for subsistence living in Alaska.

Last week’s results




Juneau-Dougas 14, Palmer 1

Ketchikan 12, Palmer 1


North Pole 6, Palmer 4

Palmer 8, Homer 7


Ketchikan 17, Homer 2

Thunder Mountain 8, Palmer 3

Juneau-Douglas 11, Homer 1


Juneau-Douglas 9, Palmer 0

Homer 7, North Pole 7


Thunder Mountain 8, Palmer 2

Boys Soccer


South 5, Palmer 0


Soldotna 13, Nikiski 0

Colony 4, Eagle River 0

Wasilla 1, Chugiak 0

Homer 1, Kenai Central 0

Palmer 12, Redington 0

Service 2, East 0


Dimond 9, Bartlett 4


Wasilla 2, Bartlett 1

Chugiak 3, Eagle River 0

Palmer 2, West Valley 2


West Valley 2, Wasilla 0

Colony 3, Lathrop 0

West 2, South 2


Lathrop 1, Wasilla 0

West Valley 3, Colony 3

Kenai Central 1, Homer 0

Palmer 5, Grace Christian 0

Service 11, Bartlett 0

Girls Soccer


Dimond 12, Bartlett 0


Soldotna 12, Nikiski 0

Homer 1, Kenai Central 1

Palmer 4, Redington 4

Chugiak 4, Wasilla 2

Colony 2, Eagle River 0


Eagle River 2, Chugiak 2

Wasilla 3, Bartlett 0

West Valley 5, Palmer 0

Homer 5, Grace Christian 0


West Valley 2, Wasilla 0

Colony 2, Lathrop 0


Lathrop 0, Wasilla 0

Colony 1, West Valley 1

Service 5, Bartlett 0

Palmer 2, Grace Christian 1



Eagle River 17, Dimond 1

East 12, Bartlett 4


Service 8, Chugiak 3

South 7, Dimond 3


West 8, East 0

Chugiak 4,Colony 3


Hosuton 15, Hutchison 1

Eagle River 7, West 4


Service 9, South 1

South 5, West 2

Colony 15, Dimond 5


Colony 16, Hutchison 1

Colony 17, Hutchison 2

Dimond 10, Wasilla 1

Service 2, Eagle River 1



Anchorage Wolverines 4, Minnesota 0


Anchorage Wolverines 2, Minnesota 1 (OT)

Superhero Showdown 5k and Little Hero 1.3k

Male 5k

1: Josh Taylor, Wasilla, 16:52; 2: Katahdin Staples, Anchorage, 16:54; 3: Taylor Turney, Anchorage, 17:28; 4: Chris Smith, Anchorage, 17:51; 5: Stephen Full, Anchorage, 18:03; 6: Amadeus Semo, Anchorage, 18:16; 7: Camilo Brockman, Katy, TX 20:10; 8: Leslie Wickham, Durham, NC 20:15; 9: Justin Sins, San Diego, CA 20:22; 10: Atlas Payne, Eagle River, 20:58; 11: Josiah Thompson, Anchorage, 21:10; 12: Pearce Botson, Anchorage, 21:19; 13: Eric Rodriguez, Eagle River, 21:20; 14: Mike Wahlig, Anchorage, 21:21; 15: Jameson Kordik, JBER, 21:31; 16: Zane Hopewell, Anchorage, 21:47; 17: Dawson Nerland, Anchorage, 21:56; 18: Adam Mruk, Anchorage, 22:02; 19: Austin Canning, Eagle River, 22:02; 20: Josh Baker, Anchorage, 22:08

Female 5k

1: Yvonne Jeschke, Anchorage, 21:06; 2: Emily Schmieg, Anchorage, 21:40; 3: Michelle Isaev, Anchorage, 22:28; 4: Hiromi Chambers, Anchorage, 23:05; 5: Jennifer Page, Anchorage, 23:08; 6: Carma Reed, Anchorage, 23:11; 7: Trophe Brandt, Anchorage, 23:17; 8: Emiko Wilson, Anchorage, 23:33; 9: Denali Kemppel, Anchorage, 24:27; 10: Andie Young, Anchorage, 24:57; 11: Rebecca Windt Pearson, Anchorage, 25:05; 12: Jane Johnson, Anchorage, 25:07; 13: Delaney Preston, Anchorage, 25:13; 14: Caitlin Upton, Anchorage, 25:37; 15: Aimee O’Neil, Anchorage, 25:40; 16: Alaina Lopez, Palmer, 26:02; 17: Brittany Nerland, Anchorage, 26:02; 18: Kaitlyn DePlasco, Anchorage, 26:32; 19: Susan Craig, Soldotna, 26:50; 20: Anslee Canning, Eagle River, 26:52

Little Hero 1.3k Male

1: Reid Boyer, Wasilla, 05:25; 2: Titan Nerland, Anchorage, 05:36; 3: Finn Hamilton-Iverson, Anchorage, 06:03; 4: Cade Williams, Wasilla, 06:07; 5: Olin Ahonen, Anchorage, 06:09; 6: Catlan jr Sardina, Anchorage, 06:14; 7: Colt Hart, Anchorage, 06:34; 8: Nathan Vancil, Anchorage, 06:44; 9: Declan Boyer, Wasilla, 06:57; 10: Gideon Bloom, Eagle River, 07:07; 11: Milo Ahonen, Anchorage, 07:11; 12: Ezio Norat, JBER, 07:15; 13: Cooper Potts, Anchorage, 07:16; 14: Everett Shimek, Eagle River, 07:25; 15: Winchester Hart, Anchorage, 07:28; 16: Jude Salazar, Anchorage, 07:30; 17: Deon Thompson, Anchorage, 07:42; 18: Finch Helzer, Anchorage, 07:46; 19: Laszlo Bello, JBER, 07:51; 20: Jack Harrison, Palmer, 07:51

Little Hero 1.3k Female

1: Ruby Wingerter, Eagle River, 06:34; 2: Zuzu Kosin, Eagle River, 06:42; 3: Victoria Stuemke, Eagle River, 07:22; 4: Laura Lanstrum, Chugiak, 07:41; 5: Grace Helzer, Anchorage, 07:57; 6: Amelia Gray, Anchorage, 08:07; 7: Lilly Ross, Anchorage, 08:09; 8: Kennedy Sardina, Anchorage, 08:10; 9: Ophelia Lucas, Eagle River, 08:11; 10: Aeris Pruitt, Anchorage, 08:13; 11: Raegan Turcotte, Eagle River, 08:14; 12: Bella Ross, Anchorage, 08:18; 13: Rowan Kinsler, Eagle River, 08:23; 14: Emily Topps, Anchorage, 08:30; 15: Georgia Hart, Anchorage, 08:37; 16: Claire Hansen, Eagle River, 08:41; 17: Madilyn Baines, Anchorage, 08:42; 18: Catherine Sardina, Anchorage, 08:44; 19: Big Sister Brockman, Katy, TX 08:58; 20: Finley D’Amico, Anchorage, 09:08

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.