UAA Athletics

UAA sports notebook: Trio of track standouts qualify for nationals; hockey and men’s basketball add more transfers

The qualifiers for the 2022 NCAA Division II National Track and Field Championships were announced on Tuesday and three track standouts from UAA made the cut. Distance runner Cole Nash and hurdlers Elena Cano and Joshua Wagner are coming off strong regular season finishes and will be headed to Allendale, Michigan, to compete at nationals from May 26-28.

Both Nash and Wagner are sophomores who claimed titles at the GNAC regional championship last weekend in Ellensburg, Washington, with impressive performances. Nash entered the 10,000-meter race as the top seed and kicked it into high gear late to win the race in 31 minutes, 11.39 seconds and claim the first conference title of his career. He followed it up the next day by winning his second GNAC title of the weekend with a first-place finish in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:32.00.

Wagner didn’t just claim a pair of titles with his first-place finishes in the 110- and 400-meter hurdles on Saturday, he became the first male in program history to earn GNAC Track Athlete of the Meet and Performance of the Meet honors for his record-setting day.

He turned in the fastest time in GNAC history in the 110-meter hurdles with a mark of 14.15 and earned his second hurdle title of the day by winning the 400-meter with a time of 53.77. Wagner’s time ranks fourth all-time in Sewolves history for the 400-meter hurdles.

Cano was the GNAC champion in the heptathlon and finished second in the 400-meter hurdles.

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

Men’s hockey and basketball teams add to recruiting class

The UAA hockey and men’s basketball programs added to their respective 2022 recruiting classes in the past week. Men’s basketball head coach Rusty Osborne said Monday that forward Sawyer Storms has signed a scholarship agreement. On he same day, head coach Matt Shasby announced that defenseman Derek Hamelin will join the Seawolves for the 2022-23 season.

Storms played the last two seasons at fellow NCAA Division II Chaminade, where he averaged 4.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 15.3 minutes per game last season. The 6-foot-7 native of Idaho Falls, Idaho, will bring more size to the front court for the Seawolves, who just graduated senior forwards Oggie Pantovic and David Riley.

Hamelin is coming in after a four-year career at Canisius College, where he finished with 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) in 70 games and was a two-time Atlantic Hockey Association All-Academic selection. He also played two seasons of junior hockey with the Omaha Lancers (USHL) and Langley Rivermen (BCHL), finishing his junior career with 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 71 games.

Volleyball team eyes attendance record with promotion

The UAA volleyball team’s 2022 schedule was released late last week and the team is eyeing the NCAA Division II record attendance mark when they host Central Washington on Nov. 5 in the home finale. As part of the “Pack the House” promotion, the team will try to set the new single-game record for attendance. The current record of 3,520 spectators was set 26 years ago when Nebraska Kearney hosted Nebraska Omaha on Oct. 15, 1996.

“We are lucky to play in the premier arena in NCAA Div. II in the Alaska Airlines Center, and we think it’s appropriate that we — and our amazing fans — earn a place in the NCAA record book by packing the house for our finale on Nov. 5,” head coach Chris Green said in a statement. “In addition to a terrific opponent for the match in Central Washington, there will also be a ton of giveaways and other promotions that evening that should make it a can’t-miss event.”

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.