UAA Athletics

UAA notebook: JC Schoonmaker receives Athlete of the Year honors; Hockey and women’s basketball add more transfers

After a sensational season in which he represented his school and the entire United States of America on an international stage two months ago, JC Schoonmaker received the University of Alaska Anchorage’s 2021-22 Bill McKay Athlete of the Year Award.

The honor was announced Sunday at UAA’s annual all-sport banquet at the Alaska Airlines Center.

The senior and native of Tahoe City, California, teamed up with Ben Ogden to finish ninth place in the team sprint event, and finished 13th in the freestyle sprint and 66th in the 15-kilometer classic at the Beijing Olympics in February.

He earned All-American honors in the 20-kilometer freestyle with a third-place finish and placed 11th in the 10-kilometer freestyle at the NCAA Championships to help UAA place fifth as a team.

A standout both on skis and in the classroom, Schoonmaker was named to the All-Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association First Team and the National Collegiate All-Academic Ski Team by the United States Collegiate Ski Coaches Association.

Seawolves hockey keeps stockpiling talent

The UAA hockey team continues to be active on the recruiting trail as the Seawolves build up their roster to compete for the first time since the 2019-20 season after the program was reinstated in August. Head coach Matt Shasby and his staff have added six more player commitments and transfers over the past week and a half.

Max Osborne of Anchorage brings local ties to the team. The 5-foot-10 and 175-pound defenseman began his collegiate career at the University of St. Thomas, where he recorded two assists in seven games during the 2020-21 season. He played the following season at St. John’s, where he logged five goals and five assists in 24 games. Osborne played 164 games of junior hockey, including 150 games with the Springfield Jr. Blues and 14 with the Kenai River Brown Bears.

He will be joined by fellow newcomers Connor Marritt (forward) from Northern Michigan University, Matt Allen (forward) from UMass-Lowell, Jarred White (forward) from Western Michigan, Ben Almquist (forward) from Minnesota Duluth and Brett Bamber (defensemen), who has signed a National Letter of Intent after appearing in 187 games for the Drayton Valley Thunder of the AJHL.

Women’s basketball program lands a pair of accomplished recruits

On Friday, UAA women’s basketball coach Ryan McCarthy announced that transfers Vishe’ Rabb and Kate Robertson signed scholarship agreements to join the team.

“We’re thrilled to start our recruiting class with two players of this caliber, especially considering the vast amount of collegiate experience they bring,” McCarthy said in a statement. “As excited as we are about each young lady’s talent, we are more excited about the kind of people they are and who they want to become.”

Rabb has two years of eligibility left after spending five years at NCAA Division II Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She earned a place on the Second Team All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference last season by recording 12.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game, shooting 41% from the field and 77% on free throws.

The Springfield, Minnesota, native was also was the NSIC Freshman of the Year in 2018-19 and was averaging more than 14 points per game before suffering a knee injury six games into her sophomore year.

Robertson is coming off back-to-back strong seasons at Casper College in Wyoming, where she helped propel her hometown junior college program to the NJCAA Region IX title in 2021-22. She started all but one game for the Thunderbirds, earning all-region honors with numbers of 11.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 50% field-goal shooting and 78% free-throw shooting. The 6-foot-2 forward posted 23 double-digit scoring games in her sophomore campaign, including a season-high 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting in a win over Central Wyoming.

Both players have big shoes to fill for the Seawolves, who will be losing four seniors, including local product Tennae Voliva. She finished her UAA career with an All-American honorable mention nod in 2021-22.

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.