UAA Athletics

UAA sports notebook: Another local basketball star is coming home, and Elena Cano claims regional heptathlon title

Dimond East basketball

The University of Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team tipped off its 2022 recruiting class by reeling back one of the biggest fish to come out of the Last Frontier to the city where he was born, raised and starred at the prep level.

Head coach Rusty Osborne announced last week that former Bettye Davis East High standout Jaron Williams signed a scholarship agreement to play for the Seawolves.

The 6-foot-4 guard has spent the last three seasons starring for Spokane Community College in Washington. He started 61 of the 65 games he appeared in and racked up 919 career points in the Northwest Athletic Conference.

“We are very excited that Jaron has decided to return to Anchorage to finish his college career,” Osborne said in a statement. “We’ve talked with him and his family in previous years, so this has been a long process, but we understood his desire to remain loyal to Spokane CC. In an era of transferring, it was refreshing to see a player finish what he started. Coach (Jeremy) Groth did a great job of helping Jaron continue to develop all aspects of his game, and we are getting a very versatile player. He can pass, score when needed, and has the skills to shut down multiple positions defensively. In addition, Jaron has a very high basketball IQ and a tremendous desire to succeed. Seawolf Nation will enjoy having No. 1 in the Green & Gold the next two years.”

Williams is coming off a sophomore season in which he averaged 14.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game. He also posted a 2.2-to-1 assist/turnover ratio and shot 43% from the field and 78% from the free throw line.

He was on varsity for all four of his years at East and led the Thunderbirds to four straight 4A state tournaments berths from 2016-19. He was named AABC Second Team All-State and earned all-tournament team honors at the state tournament as a senior when East finished in fourth place.

Cano claims GNAC heptathlon title at conference championships


Senior Elena Cano set a handful of personal bests on her way to finishing first in the heptathlon at the 2022 GNAC Championships last Tuesday in Bellingham, Washington. While her point total of 4,936 didn’t match the personal best of 4,996 that she set earlier in the season, it was enough to win the two-day event.

She recorded personal bests in the 200 and the javelin toss but it was her personal-best in the 800 that gave her the final push she needed to finish at top the standings. The heptathlon conference title marked the second of her career for Cano, who won the pentathlon in 2020.

Both the Seawolves men’s and women’s 4x100 relay teams took home titles at the conference meet. The women finished first with a time of 48.83 and the men did the same with a mark of 42.72 and went on to finish second in the 4x400 with a time of 3:24.75.

Women’s basketball adds 2 more transfers

The men’s basketball team isn’t the only one that has been hot on the recruiting trail as the UAA women’s basketball team recently had a pair of transfers committed to playing the 2022-2023 season for the Seawolves. Last week, head coach Ryan McCarthy announced that Natalia Beaumont and Hayley Berfield are joining the program.

Beaumont is one of the top-ranked junior college players in the country. The 6-foot-3 center was ranked as the No. 9 junior-college recruit in the country by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and No. 8 by World Exposure Report. She only appeared in two games last fall for Northwest Florida State College before suffering a season-ending injury. Prior to that the Emu Heights, Australia, native appeared in 14 games and averaged 11.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game and posted six double-doubles for Eastern Florida State College in 2020-21.

Berfield is coming to UAA from Division I High Point University and appeared in 14 games for the Panthers but was a junior college standout in her own right prior to that. She was a two-time NJCAA All-Region XI honoree at Iowa Western Community College where she helped lead the program to a 41-14 overall record and back-to-back Region XI titles.

Men’s hockey brings in 3 goalies

The Seawolves hockey team continued to build up its roster for its first season since being reinstated by bringing in a trio of goaltenders. Head coach Matt Shasby announced last week that two of the goalies came via transfer and the third was a player from the junior hockey ranks.

Joey Lamoreaux is transferring from St. Cloud State in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where he spent the last three seasons and averaged 3.37 goals against as well as an .882 save percentage in six games. He also played two seasons of junior hockey with the Madison Capitals in the United States Hockey League and finished with a 13-43-3 record, averaged 3.89 goals against and posted an .897 save percentage.

The additions of Nolan Kent and Jared Whale were announced on the same day. Kent is transferring Northern Michigan University where he played four seasons and finished with a 4.21 goals against average and an .859 save percentage during his time with the Wildcats. He also played two seasons in the Alberta Junior Hockey League for the Spruce Grove Saints and finished with a 1.84 goals against average and a .926 save percentage in 62 games.

Whale posted an average of 2.90 goals against and a .907 save percentage in 37 games during his four seasons in the AJHL with two different teams. He started the 2021-22 season with the Brooks Bandits, appearing in nine games with a 1.67 goals against average and a .932 save percentage. Whale also played 25 games with the Olds Grizzlys and posted a 4.60 goals against average and a .907 save percentage.

Several Seawolves receive recognition for excelling in the classroom

Nine members of the UAA gymnastics team were honored by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation by getting named to the 2022 Women’s Gymnastics All-Academic Team.

Of the 34 total honorees, the Seawolves that recognized for their academic excellence included sophomore Mackenzie Robinson, senior Kylie Reese, junior Rachel Decious, and freshmen Montana Fairbairn, Allie McClure, Alyssa Manley, Brooklyn Kopsack, Jessica Johnson and Silje Hildebrand.

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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.