UAA Athletics

UAA sports notebook: Track and field star Joshua Caleb named GNAC Freshman of the Year; men’s basketball team adds local standout

Following a sensational finish to his first semester with the University of Alaska Anchorage track and field program, freshman sprinter Joshua Caleb was named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men’s Track and Field Freshman of the Year for the second time on Friday. Caleb won the award in the indoor season, and this time, he earned the honor for his outdoor season dominance.

“Joshua is more than deserving of this award, and we are very proud of him,” UAA head track and field coach Ryan McWilliams said in a statement. “He represented himself and the team at the highest level this year. I hope he wears the honor with pride. But I know he is not satisfied and will be looking (to outdo) himself going forward.”

Caleb rewrote program and conference history with how dominant he was in both the indoor and outdoor seasons. His list of accolades includes receiving honorable mention All-American honors after finishing 12th in the 400 meter at the Division II national championships and being crowned GNAC champion in the 100 meters with a mark of 10.28. He also set GNAC championship records in the 200 with a mark of 21.04 and set program records in the 100, 200, 400 and as a member of a 4x100 relay team that recorded a mark of 41.42.

[Previously: This UAA freshman is tearing through the track and field record book]

DII All-American caps off UAA career with strong showing at nationals

Caleb wasn’t the only UAA track and field star to record a top 20 finish at the Division II men’s outdoor nationals. Junior elite distance runner Cole Nash finished 16th in the 5,000 — his final race as a Seawolf — with a mark of 15 minutes, 12.94 seconds. The recent graduate will take his talents and final year of eligibility to the Midwest, where he will compete for the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish in both cross country and track and field.

“Cole Nash is a special athlete. He came into the program at such an interesting time, when it seemed like everything was working against the program and just continued to exceed expectations and persevere through it all,” McWilliams said. “The only thing capable of slowing him down was injury which he always handled with class and determination. He no doubt left this program a better place than he found it, and I can not be more proud of him or more appreciative of what he gave, He is one of the all-time great Seawolves.”

[UAA track and field runners produce top 20 finishes at Division II national championships]


During his time with the program, Nash broke several records, won five championships and earned All-American honors three times between cross country and track and field.

Men’s basketball finalizes roster with local product

The UAA men’s basketball team put the final touches on its roster for the 2024-25 season by adding local talent. On Friday, head coach Rusty Osborne announced that former Dimond High standout Luke Johnston is joining his hometown college program.

“We are excited that Luke has decided to return home and be a Seawolf. He is a tremendous young man with a bright future,” Osborne said in a statement. “He is another local product who we recruited after his senior year, but we understood and respected his desire to honor the original verbal commitment he had made in the fall. Luke fortunately had the opportunity to join us this spring after our season ended, so he has a head start on learning our staff, system and school. His versatility at the guard spot should pay dividends over the next four years as he adjusts to the college game.”

Johnston’s decorated high school resume includes being two-time all-state and three-time All-Cook Inlet Conference selection, leading the Lynx to consecutive top-four state tournament finishes his final two seasons. As a senior, he was an All-State Tournament Team selection and AABC All-Star Game participant, led his team to a Cook Inlet Conference title and was the MVP of the 2022 Alaska Prep Shootout. He graduated from Dimond in 2023.

Johnston joins a Seawolf roster that also includes fellow Alaskans Luke Devine and Parker Kroon of Wasilla, Hasaan Herrington of Bettye Davis East Anchorage, Sloan Lentfer of Grace Christian and Jaylin Scott of Ninilchik. He caps off a recruiting class that includes transfers Alex Argandar from College of the Sequoias, Tyler Burraston from Green River CC, Sean Evans from University of Nebraska-Kearney, Zach Ibbetson from Santiago Canyon College, John McFadden from Saddleback College and Jesse Stines from Irvine Valley College.

Nearly two dozen Seawolves receive GNAC academic honors

The UAA track and field team had 19 student-athletes earn Academic All-GNAC honors Tuesday for their scholastic achievements this past semester. To qualify for the GNAC all-academic teams, eligible nominees had to have been at least a sophomore, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.20 or greater on a 4.00 scale, be on the team roster for the full season and be in their second year at the nominating institution.

Among the 11 female student-athletes from UAA to be honored were Kaitlyn Backman (Biological Sciences, 3.87), Nell Baker (Interdisciplinary Studies, 4.00), Sophia Cvancara (Nursing, 3.60), Blanca De Arvizu (Civil Engineering, 3.92), Mikayla Mader (Public Administration, 4.00), Sofija Spaic (Psychology, 3.55), Jordan Strausbaugh (Health Sciences, 3.79), Mette Van Der Meer (Psychology, 3.74), Joei Vidad (Nursing, 3.88), Avery Williamson (Journalism/Communications, 3.80) and Tressa Wood (Psychology, 3.84).

UAA had eight male student-athletes honored, including Nash (economics/real estate management, 4.00), Michael Zapherson (real estate management, 4.00), John Peckham (marketing/accounting, 3.93), Felix Robertson (accounting, 3.61), Ty Elliott (economics, 3.46), Ries Tveit (mechanical engineering, 3.35), Stephen Zukowski (management, 3.30) and Morgan Grant (management, 3.28).

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.