2015 Directors’ Awards winners announced
Two coaches who have built championship programs and two female athletes with tremendous resumes and quality characters make up the 2015 Directors’ Awards class.
The 2015 Directors’ Awards recipients will be recognized along with the Class of 2015 inductees during the annual Alaska Sports Hall of Fame ceremony at the Anchorage Museum on Thursday, March 5th at 7:30pm. Winners are selected by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame board of directors.
“The Directors’ Awards give our organization the opportunity to shine a light on some of Alaska’s sports figures who are making history right now,” said Harlow Robinson, Executive Director of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. “It’s a nice bookend to the inductee enshrinements.”
“We’re very excited about this year’s recipients,” said Robinson. “In looking at the winners and all the other outstanding nominees that were considered, it’s apparent just how high the bar is set in the Alaskan sports world.”
The 2015 winners:
Michael Friess – For the past quarter century as head coach at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Friess has built the men’s and women’s track and field and cross country programs into national collegiate powerhouses and has raised the popularity and visibility of the university. The numbers are staggering under his tutelage – 17 Coach of the Year honors, 12 league titles, 5 NCAA champions, 62 All-Americans. If that wasn’t enough, he also directs the Mayor’s Marathon and Crow Pass Crossing.
Trajan Langdon Award—For Leadership, Sportsmanship and Inspiration.
Aliy Zirkle – Nobody has made second-place look so good. Known for her trademark smile, this 45-year-old Iditarod musher is as gracious as she is good. She puts her dogs first, always praises the competition and never makes excuses. Zirkle showed tremendous character when she finished the 1,100-mile race in second for the third consecutive year. And she did it with a smile. After being caught in the eye of a brutal storm, Zirkle nearly chased down eventual winner Dallas Seavey, losing by a mere 2½ minutes in one of the most dramatic finishes in the race’s 40-year history.
Pride of Alaska Award (female)-–For Consistent Excellence in Athletic Competition.
Allie Ostrander – This tiny titan of a runner turned 2014 into one of the most dominating seasons in Alaska running history. The Kenai High School standout shattered state records in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters on the track and in cross country, and won her third straight state championship. In December she won a national championship at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Ore. Wait, there’s more. The 5-foot-1 Ostrander made history at Mount Marathon in Seward when she became the first girl to beat the boys for the junior title en route to setting a girls record and winning her sixth straight girls title. A senior, Allie maintains a 4.0 GPA and has helped establish a running series in Kenai.
Pride of Alaska Award (male)–For Consistent Excellence in Athletic Competition.
Erik Flora – As director of the Alaska Pacific University Nordic ski program, Flora has done more than just develop Olympians. He has helped build the gold standard for American Nordic skiing and has elevated American skiers to new levels of international success. He coached to APU/US Ski Team athlete Kikkan Randall to the first female World Cup Gold Medal to make US Skiing History. In 2014, four of the American skiers who competed at the Winter Games in Sochi came from APU. In 2013, he was named National Coach of the Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee. It was an overdue honor because for years Flora has been tied to our country’s top talent, most notably Randall, but several others that have won national championships and made podiums internationally.
Director’s Award recipients will be recognized on a plaque at the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame gallery at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International airport.
For more information on the Directors’ Awards and the past winners visit the Directors’ Awards homepage.