The 2022 NCAA Division II National Outdoor Track and Field Championships wrapped up last weekend, and while none of the members of UAA’s team made it to the podium for their respective events, all three still received All-America recognition.
Freshman distance runner Cole Nash and sophomore hurdler Joshua Wagner both produced top 10 finishes with strong performances Saturday. Nash claimed the second All-America honor of his freshman year after he finished eighth in the men’s 5K with a time of 14 minutes, 5.62 seconds. He was also named to the All-America team last fall for finishing 27th at the cross-country national championship.
Wagner went from just making the cut for nationals to earning second-team All America honors after finishing in ninth place in the men’s 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.38. In order to advance to the finals he broke the school record for the second time this season in the prelims with a qualifying mark of 14.00 that was good for third in his heat.
Senior Elena Cano finished strong in her seventh and final event of the competition to finish 12th in the heptathlon. Her time of 2:22.50 in the 800 meters earned her the final spot on the All-America second team.
Eagle River’s Vanessa Aniteye earns first individual All-America recognition
The Division II national meet also featured athletes who starred at the prep level in the Last Frontier before taking their talents to the Lower 48 to compete at the collegiate level. That includes Vanessa Aniteye of Eagle River, who earned first-team All-America honors with a strong performance at nationals.
The former Chugiak Mustang competes for Seattle Pacific University and added to her impressive sprinting career, which already featured seven All-America honors as a member of relay teams, by earning her first as an individual. Aniteye did so by breaking her personal and school record in the 400 meters for the second time in three days on Saturday with a mark of 53.64 seconds — good for a sixth-place finish. It was also the second-fastest time ever by an Alaskan behind UAA’s Mary Pearce, formerly of Dimond, who ran 53.56 at the 2007 NCAAs.
Prior to joining the Falcons, Aniteye cracked the record books as a Seawolf in her home state from 2017-2019. She earned six All-America relay honors at UAA and ranks second all-time in the 400 for both indoors and outdoors.
Former Kodiak standout Keith Osowski also earned first-team All-America honors after finishing fourth in the steeplechase. The senior for Black Hills State University set a new personal and program record in the event two days in a row with a time of 8:49.62 in the prelims and 8:48.42 in the finals of the 3,000-meter race.
Seawolves hockey adds another transfer
The UAA men’s hockey team continued to fill out its roster for the 2022-23 reinstated season Wednesday when head coach Matt Shasby announced the transfer of Max Helgeson.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound forward and Anchorage native is returning to his hometown after spending last season at Lindenwood University, where he recorded 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points in 16 games. Helgeson spent the previous two years playing junior hockey with the Kenai River Brown Bears of the NAHL, where he finished with 85 points (37 goals, 48 assists) in 96 games.