UAA Athletics

UAA sports notebook: Anchorage native Tennae Voliva nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year; recruiting classes for gymnastics and distance running announced

march, UAA, basketball, Tennae Voliva

The NCAA revealed its list of 577 nominees for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year honor this week and former University of Alaska Anchorage basketball star Tennae Voliva was nominated for the prestigious award.

The award was established in 1991 and it recognizes female student-athletes who have used all of their eligibility and had profound impacts on their respective communities and athletic programs as well as excelled in academics throughout their college careers.

Voliva was a four-year standout for the Seawolves and earned first team All-GNAC and WBCA honorable mention All-America honors as a senior in 2021-22. She also became the fourth player in program history to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America honors and helped lead UAA to its fourth straight NCAA Tournament berth, excluding the COVID-19 season, by leading the team in scoring, rebounding, steals, field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage.

The Anchorage native and Bettye Davis East Anchorage High School graduate is one of four nominees from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. The other three included Seattle Pacific soccer player Sophia Chilczuk, Central Washington basketball player Kassidy Malcolm and Alaska Fairbanks volleyball player Cate Whiting.

UAA adds a dozen distance runners

Last week, the University of Alaska Anchorage announced the addition of 12 runners that specialize in distance racing to the cross-country and track-and-field teams, including three Alaskans who were state champions in high school.

The trio of Alaskans consist of Soldotna High graduate Jordan Strausbaugh, Haines high school graduate Avery Williamson and Grace Christian School graduate Ty Elliott of Anchorage, who was a five-time state champion with the Grizzlies, winning the 4x800, three team titles in cross country and one state team title in track and field.

“Head Coach (Ryan) McWilliams empowered Coach (Danielle) Patterson and I to be very aggressive with our efforts to rebuild the rich tradition of a nationally competitive distance program here,” said associate head coach Chas Davis in a statement. “And that’s exactly what we did — in no small part due to Coach Patterson’s relentless efforts. (UAA All-America) Cole Nash now has a supporting cast and the women have the building blocks for what it takes. It will still take another year or two to return to national prominence, but we are well on our way with this class.”

Seawolf Gymnastics announce 2022-23 recruiting class

With the program fully reinstated, UAA gymnastics head coach Marie-Sophie Boggasch announced the Seawolves’ 2022-23 recruiting class. It is comprised of seven student-athletes from all over the Western Hemisphere, including Hawaii, Canada and El Salvador.

“We are thrilled to welcome all of our incoming gymnasts and feel they will be a great fit with our returning roster,” said Boggasch in a statement. “This is another major step in rebuilding Seawolf Gymnastics.”

Six of the newcomers are true freshmen with the only exception being Paola Ruano Barahona who graduated in 2021 and hails from San Salvador, El Salvador.

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.