Connecting You With AK Athletes Outside the 907

The Alaska Sports Blog is sponsored by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame and provides daily updates on local athletes outside the state. The blog was created in 2009 to fill a void of media coverage once Alaskans left the 907 area code. Former Anchorage Daily News sports editor and Alaska Press Club award winner Van Williams has been with the blog since the beginning and written almost 4,000 stories on some 1,000 Alaska athletes.

Follow us on Twitter: @AKsportshall, Instagram: alaska_sports_hall, and Facebook.

Click here to read more about Van Williams and the Alaska Sports Blog.

July 19, 2019

Arneson poses with a sheep between South and North Suicide Peaks

Anchorage mountain runner Lars Arneson shattered the 12 Peaks Challenge by completing the self-supported link-up of the 5,000 foot peaks in Chugach Mountains Front Range in 14 hours and 41 minutes. His effort the record held by Adam Jensen and Matt Shryock by more than 3 hours (17:43 on 7/20/18).

“I was definitely on a mission,” Arneson shared via text.  “I think I paced it pretty good. It’s just such a long day that it’s hard to know how fast you can go from the beginning.”

The route covers more than 30 miles and over 20,000 feet of vertical climbing. Arneson had done the link-up once previously, setting a then-record of 18:10 with Peter Mamrol in 2017.

– By Harlow Robinson, Blog Contributor

July 18, 2019
Dylan Baker baseball

Dylan Baker

Batters in the American Association had better get to Juneau’s Dylan Baker early because if not they may not get to him at all.

The 27-year-old pitcher has been devastating from the second to sixth innings with the Kansas City T-Bones, carving up hitters with sparkling 2.14 ERA.

The first inning, however, has been an adventure.

In six starts, the rocket right-hander has given up seven runs in the opening frame for a 10.15 ERA.

That scenario played out once again as the T-Bones beat the St. Paul Saints 2-1 in Minnesota in the independent professional league.

Baker, of Juneau-Douglas High fame, gave up one run in the first inning and then tossed five shutout frames to collect his second win. His team is 4-2 in the games he has started.

The seventh-year pro ranks ninth among Alaskans with 111 pro games, seventh with 17 career wins and sixth with 265 strikeouts.

The 2012 fifth-round draft pick is former Class-AA player in the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers organizations.

July 16, 2019
Mike Kimber wrestling

Mike Kimber

The National Wrestling Coaches Association has recognized Sitka’s Mike Kimber as the inaugural winner of its National Scholastic Girls Head Coach of the Year.

He was also named Alaska Head Coach of the Year.

Kimber last year completed his 19th season coaching at his alma mater of Mt. Edgecumbe. Last season, his squad won its fifth straight region title and second straight state championship.

In 2018, he was inducted into the Alaska Wrestling Hall of Fame based in large part to his efforts to bring high school girls wrestling to the 907.

Alaska is one of 18 states nationally to offer girls wrestling.

The National Wrestling Coaches Association honored three other Alaska coaches in Trenton Culp of Glennallen, Brian Whittern of Unalaska and Raymond ‘Thor’ Williams of Bethel.

Awards were split into state, region and national levels.

On the regional level, Culp was named NWCA Scholastic Section 8 Boys Assistant Coach of the Year. He also won the same honor at the state level.

July 15, 2019
Philip Wall baseball

Philip Wall

Philip Wall of Juneau reached 10 strikeouts for the first time this summer in the Sunset League as he helped the So Cal Shepherds maintain their slim lead in the South Division.

The right-hander pitched a season-high eight innings to highlight a 13-2 win over the Orange County Legends in California.

Wall, of Thunder Mountain High fame, lowered his season ERA to 2.09 in 43 innings.

He has six wins – the rest of the staff has nine.

Wall leads the team in winning decisions, ERA, innings and strikeouts (27).

Trevor Dunbar running

Trevor Dunbar

Kodiak’s Trevor Dunbar narrowly missed recording a sub-4-minute mile at the DC Road Runners Track Championships in Washington, D.C.

The former NCAA All-American finished second out of a dozen finishers in 4:01.39.

Dunbar, of Kodiak High fame, has posted a sub-4 mile three times in his career.

In 2016, he became the first Alaskan to break the magical 4-minute barrier in 3:59.06. In 2017, he posted a PR of 3:55.54.

July 14, 2019
Mario Chalmers basketball

Mario Chalmers

Anchorage’s Mario Chalmers racked up his second straight game with double figures for the 3 Headed Monsters in a 50-43 loss to Bivouac in the BIG3.

The 6-foot-2 guard pumped in 13 points to finish second on the team in scoring during Week 4 action in Providence, Rhode Island.

Chalmers, of Bartlett High fame, hit a 3-pointer to go with four rebounds and one assist.

The 3 Headed Monsters fell to 2-2 in the summer 3-on-3 league.

This is the former NBA’s player first season in the BIG3.

July 13, 2019
Ed Hall football

Ed Hall

Former University of Idaho football star Ed Hall of Eagle River has received the 2018-19 Big Sky Conference Scholar-Athlete Award.

The recent graduate wrapped up his career with the Vandals with a number of accolades.

He earned Football Championships Subdivision Athletics Directors Association Academic All-Star Team honors in the fall and picked up his second consecutive CoSIDA Academic All-District first team recognition.

Hall, of Eagle River High fame, was also a semifinalist for the 2018 William V. Campbell Trophy, the National Football Foundation award given to the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation.

On the field, the linebacker finished his career with 239 tackles, including 61 as a senior. The former walk-on eventually became a scholarship player and was a team captain his final season.

His academic work exceeded the classroom.

Hall’s work on the Forever Shower, a shower targeted to recreational vehicles that uses filtered, recycled water, with fellow engineers and finance students has won entrepreneurial and innovation awards across the region.

To qualify for the award, a student-athlete must have a minimum grade-point-average of 3.2, be a member of the graduating class and/or have completed his/her last year of intercollegiate athletic eligibility, have completed at least two years of intercollegiate competition and be a letterwinner.

July 12, 2019
Joe Reid footgolf

Jo Reid

Anchorage’s Jo Reid and Palmer’s Jeremy Johnson helped an American Footgolf League all-star team win the first of two legs against Team Mexico in the Battle of the Border event in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Both players competed in doubles and scored a single point in Team USA’s 10-1 victory. The second leg is Nov. 7-8 in Palm Springs, California

This isn’t the first time the Alaskans have exceled for the red, white and blue during an international competition.

Jeremy Johnson footgolf

Jeremy Johnson

In 2016, Reid led Team USA over Japan in the Pacific Trophy.

In 2018, Johnson helped Team USA beat Spain in the World Cup bronze-medal match.

July 11, 2019
Alev Kelter rugby

Alev Kelter

Alev Kelter of Eagle River danced around two defenders and sprinted untouched for 50 yards to score a try and spark the USA Women’s Eagles 15s rugby team to a 20-18 comeback victory over Canada at the Super Series in San Diego, California.

The 28-year-old showcased strength and speed on the same play, first shaking off two would-be tacklers and then outsprinting a pack of defenders. She successfully kicked a two-point conversion to pull the Americans within 18-15 in the 62nd minute.

Kelter, of Chugiak High fame, also kicked a three-point penalty to give her 10 of Team USA’s 20 points. It was Team USA’s first win over Canada since 2015.

Kelter is playing with the Eagles 15s through the USA women’s 7s residency program.

She is the leading scorer for the Eagles 7s squad and a big reason the team qualified for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.

July 10, 2019
Nathan Bonck baseball

Nathan Bonck

Ketchikan’s Nathan Bonck stepped into a time machine and delivered his best pitching effort in two years.

It came with the Port Angeles Lefties of the West Coast League as the southpaw tossed six strong innings in a 6-3 loss to Cowlitz Black Bears in Longview, Washington.

Bonck carried a 3-2 lead into the seventh inning when he was pulled.

The 6-foot-5 left-hander struck out four batters over six innings and gave up four hits and three walks.

Bonck, of Ketchikan High fame, was the 2015 Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year who is now entering his senior season at NCAA D1 Seattle University.

This was his longest appearance since throwing six innings against Arizona State University in 2017.

This summer he has a 1.86 ERA and six strikeouts in 9.2 innings over three appearances in the West Coast League.

July 9, 2019

Matias Saari of Anchorage posted an impressive finish at the Traunsee Bergmarathon in Gmunden, Austria, where he covered the 70-K race in 8 hours, 37 minutes to finish second among 241 men’s finishers.

The grueling ultramarathon gained some 4,500 meters (14,700 feet) in elevation.

Saari was one of only four men to break the 9-hour barrier.

At 48, he was also the oldest runner in the top 5.

Saari is a perennial contender and owns titles in events such as Mount Marathon, Equinox Marathon and Angel Creek 50 Miler.

He is also a board member for Alaska Mountain Runners, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of mountain running in Alaska.

July 8, 2019
Mario Chalmers basketball

Mario Chalmers of Anchorage pumped in 16 points and showcased his usual flair at the finish but it wasn’t enough to bring back the 3 Headed Monsters in a 51-48 loss to the Killer 3’s in Week 3 of the BIG3.

The 6-foot-2 guard scored several times near the end of the game to get his team within one late.

This was only the second game in the premier summer league for the 33-year-old Alaskan, who is fresh off winning a Champions League title with Italy’s Segafredo Virtus Bologna.

Chalmers, of Bartlett High fame, made a pair of 3-pointers, added three assists and scored one of the prettiest buckets on the day with beautiful drive that drew the praise on social media from many Alaskans, including fellow NBA alum Carlos Boozer.

Making big plays at crunch time is nothing new for Chalmers.

Besides being a 5-time champion over the Alaska Class 4A, NCAA D1 and NBA levels, the man they call ‘Rio is known for having supreme confidence and a track record for delivering at crunch time.

See 2008 NCAA title game.

Or the NBA Finals in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The 10-year NBA veteran is now in the BIG3, where he will potentially face off against Boozer, of Juneau, who plays for the Ghost Ballers.

Boozer, a 13-year NBA vet, has played in only one of three games this summer. Last year, the 6-foot-9 forward averaged 14.3 points per game last season in the first year of the BIG3. He had high games of 22, 18 and 17 points.

Chalmers’s 16 points is the fourth-highest total for an Alaskan. He is averaging 10 points in two games.

July 7, 2019
Bergen Davis swimming

Bergen Davis

Juneau’s Bergen Davis of Oklahoma Christian University was recognition as a Scholar All-American by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America.

The award recognizes athletes who have earned a GPA of at least 3.50 — either cumulatively or over a semester — and achieved at least a NCAA D2 B standard time in an event or competed at an NCAA national meet or regional qualifier.

Davis, of Thunder Mountain High fame, had an NCAA B time in the 200-yard backstroke during the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships.

The Alaskan made an impact at the conference meet, making the finals in four events and placing fourth individually with 63 points. He was also named RMAC Freshman of the Year.

Davis set school records in the 200-yard individual medley (1:52.13), the 400 IM (4:02.29) and 200 backstroke (1:47.85).

July 6, 2019
Parker Johnson baseball

Parker Johnson

Parker Johnson of Anchorage has seen his season as a pitcher come full circle.

He started his sophomore season at Indiana Wesleyan University on the mound before being moved to infielder. Now he’s pitching this summer for the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders of the Northwoods League.

Finding a rhythm can be tough for a pitching moving around that much, but Johnson has managed to find success

He started his first game of the summer against Green Bay in 15-2 win, although he threw only two innings.

He hasn’t pitched more than three innings in a game as he is used cautiously.

Johnson, of South High fame, has posted a 1-0 record with a save in 10 appearances.

The 6-foot right-hander has pitched 19.2 innings with in the Northwoods League compared to just 18 innings in college.

July 5, 2019

Mark Schlereth

In celebration of the NFL’s 100th season, the Denver Broncos announced their all-time Top 100 Team.

The list included Hall of Famers, Super Bowl MVPs and two guys from Alaska.

Anchorage’s Mark Schlereth and Chris Kuper were among 15 offensive linemen and just six guards honored among the franchise’s greatest players.

Schlereth, of Service High fame, played six of his 12 NFL seasons in Denver (1995-2000) and was part of some of the best teams in team history.

The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder helped the Broncos win two Super Bowls and was on the line for Terrell Davis during his 2,000-yard season in 1998. Schlereth was an All-Pro that year.

Schlereth’s 156 NFL games rank No. 1 among the 11 Alaskans who have played in the league. He was inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

Chris Kuper

Kuper, of Dimond High fame, played his entire eight-year career in Denver (2006-2013) and ranks No.6 among Alaskans with 90 NFL games.

The 6-foot-4, 300-pounder started 62 straight games from 2008 to 2011 and helped the Broncos reach one Super Bowl. He was a team captain in 2010.

He was a mainstay on the offensive line for years and one season didn’t give up a single sack.

July 3, 2019
Travante Williams basketball

Travante Williams

After winning two Portuguese League championships and twice being named Defensive Player of the Year, Travante Williams of Anchorage became a highly sought-after free agent in Portugal.

He could have signed with any team, but he went with Sporting Lisbon.

The club is better known for its soccer success, but Sporting basketball used to be a perennial Portuguese League power in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Sporting returns to the Portuguese League for the first time in two decades with one of the top players in Williams, of Mt. Edgecumbe High fame.

“Making this move was about putting myself in position to receive good money and expand who I am as a player,” he told me.

Williams, 25, played the last two seasons with Oliveirense. The team won 73 of 83 games with him, including 18 of 19 playoff games and two titles.

Not too many guys start there career off with back to back championships,” he said. “Playing at UDO was special. We built a culture that can’t be replaced.

“I played for a family and that experience changed my life.”

The 6-foot-4 wing averaged 15.1 pints, 4.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.2 steals in 41 games. He was named Portuguese League Defensive Player of the Year and selected to the All-Star Game.

He had five games of 30-points or more: 39, 33, 33, 33, 30. On the night he had 39 points, he also grabbed 10 rebounds.

One of his 33-point games saw him go 7-for-11 from 3-point range in the Game 4 of the Portuguese League Finals when he led Oliveirense to the championship.

July 1, 2019

Jonny Homza (center)

Anchorage’s Jonny Homza helped make history in the Class A Northwest League by catching the first no-hitter in four years.

The third-year pro was the centerpiece in a combined no-hitter for San Diego Padres affiliate Tri-City as the Dust Devils beat Everett 5-0 in Pasco, Washington.

Four pitchers threw 120 pitches and recorded all 27 outs, with the 20-year-old converted catcher right in the middle of the action.

Tri-City pitching coach Leo Rosales credited Homza for his part in the no-no.

“Jonny had a big part in this game, too,” Rosales said. “I’m very proud of him. He’s come a long way. They stuck to a plan and attacked these hitters.”

Homza, of South High fame, also did his part at the plate with a double and two RBIs.

The 2017 fifth-round draft pick by the Padres grew up as an elite infielder in Alaska and has logged 49 pro games at third base, second base and shortstop.

But his future is behind the plate.

Homza has caught eight of 11 games with Tri-City and has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage on 102 total chances. He’s also thrown out six of 10 base runners.

June 30, 2019
Allie Ostrander track and field

Allie Ostrander

Facing the stiffest challenge of her track and field career, Kenai’s Allie Ostrander delivered her greatest performance in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Racing the best brought out the best in the three-time NCAA steeplechase national champion from Boise State University as she took six seconds off her PR with a time of 9:31.44 in Stanford, California.

Ostrander, of Kenai Central High fame, placed 13th out of 16 runners to end her three-year college winning streak. But this wasn’t a college race.

This was the Diamond League, a 14-stop global tour of the best track and field stars in the world. It’s the NFL of track.

The women’s steeplechase field featured the defending world champion, the world-record holder and other world-ranked participants. And then there was Ostrander, the NCAA’s best steeplechase runner in college.

June 29, 2019
Alev Kelter rugby

Alev Kelter

Alev Kelter of Eagle River was called up with the U.S. Women’s National Team in 15s for the Super Series at the U.S. Olympic Training Site in Chula Vista, California.

The 28-year-old will be on the field when the Eagles take on an elite field that includes world No. 1 New Zealand and No. 2-ranked England.

Kelter, of Chugiak High fame, was promoted to the big sister club with the USA women’s sevens residency program.

She has earned 10 career caps with the 15s squad, including the 2017 World Cup in Ireland. By comparison, she has 152 caps with the sevens.

Kelter joins the Super Series on the heels of helping the USA women’s sevens qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She played with the team in the 2016 Olympics.

June 27, 2019
Keri McEntee Running

Keri McEntee

Keri McEntee of Fairbanks turned heartbreak into happiness by qualifying for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

McEntee, of Fairbanks, completed Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn., in 2 hours, 41 minutes and 19 seconds, a pace of 6:10 per mile. The result easily eclipsed the 2:45:00 women’s requirement and punched her ticket to the Trials next year in Atlanta, Georgia.

“So many emotions today and so grateful for the support from everyone tracking me and cheering me on near and far,” McEntee wrote on Facebook.

In April, McEntee was disheartened to just miss the mark with a 2:45:28 at April’s Boston Marathon.

In addition to the usual pain of digging deep in a marathon, McEntee suffered blisters and bloody feet at Grandma’s beginning at mile 3.

“Next time, I am wearing socks,” she said.

McEntee ran the first half in 1:20:33 and cruised through the second half nearly as quickly, a rare feat among marathoners. She placed 21st among 2,957 women — and 204th overall — in a prestigious race that attracts professional runners.

McEntee, 30, is an occupational therapist who moved to Fairbanks from New York State several years ago.

Despite being a relative newcomer to Alaska, McEntee has already won two of the state’s premier marathons: Mayor’s and Humpy’s in Anchorage. She’s improved her marathon time by an astounding 18 minutes since winning Mayor’s a year ago in 2:59.

A record four Alaskans have now qualified for the Trials. The others are Anna Dalton (she grew up in Anchorage and now lives in Bozeman, Mont.), Aaron Fletcher (he recently moved back to Anchorage from Utah) and Tony Tomsich (he grew up in Fairbanks and now lives in Vancouver, Canada).

By Matias Saari, Alaska Sports Blog Contributor

June 25, 2019
Colter Lasher basketball

Colter Lasher

Anchorage’s Colter Lasher no doubted was frustrated with being benched for the first time this season, but he didn’t pout. He went to work.

The second-year pro with the Geraldton Buccaneers responded with a 21-point, 9-rebound effort to lead his team to an 80-77 win over the Willetton Tigers to maintain second place in Australia’s State Basketball League.

Lasher, of Dimond High fame, made 8-of-16 field goals, including a pair of 3s, to help him reach double figures for the 17th straight game.

This was the first time he knocked two 3-pointers in one game since May 11.

The 6-foot-7 forward ranks second on his team and 22 nd in the league with a 17.8-point scoring average.

June 24, 2019
Jenette Northey running

Jenette Northey

The knee injury that forced Anchorage’s Jenette Northey to slow down at the end of her college career couldn’t completely derail her love for running.

More than a year later the former Montana State University star has turned her sights to trail running.

Over the weekend she made a victorious debut at the Jim Bridger Trail Run in Bozeman, Montana, where she covered the 10-mile race with more than 2,000 feet of elevation gain in a time of 1:30:54.

Northey, of Service High fame, tore the ACL, MCL and meniscus in her left knee in 2017 before her senior season.

“It’s a blessing to be out here,” Northey told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. “I’m just so thankful.”

Before the injury she was an All-Big-Sky honoree in the 3,000-meter steeplechase as well as the 5,000 and 3,000.

She wasn’t the same runner when she returned for her senior season, however, sine then she has worked her way back into competitive form.

Now she’s back to winning races again.

“You always hope you win,” Northey said. “When you’re a competitive runner for so long, you think about it, but I was kind of chill. Whatever it is, it is.”

June 22, 2019
Philip Wall baseball

Philip Wall

At times you might think Juneau’s Philip Wall pitches with a brush the way he paints corners on the plate.

Armed with pinpoint precision, the right-hander dances around the strike zone in an effort to keep batters off balance.

The strategy has worked to perfection in the collegiate Sunset League.

Wall, of Thunder Mountain High fame, won his fourth straight start with the SoCal Shepherds thanks to a solid six innings in a 12-2 win over the Inland Valley Pirates in La Mirada, California.

The 5-foot-10 180-pounder did not register a strikeout and issued one walk in 93 pitches.

Wall (4-0) has surrendered 23 hits in 23 innings, but only five earned runs, as his ERA sits at 1.96 for the summer.

He will enter his junior season at University of Northwestern-St. Paul this fall.

June 20, 2019
Allie Ostrander track and field

Allie Ostrander

Three is the magic number for Kenai’s Allie Ostrander.

Two weeks after becoming the first women to win three consecutive NCAA championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, the redshirt junior at Boise State University became the first person to win the Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Student-Athlete of the Year award in back-to-back-to-back years.

This is the fourth time a Boise State woman earned the award, with 10,000-meter national champion Emma Bates winning in 2014.

Ostrander this season the fastest steeplechase time in the nation in 9:37.73, which was faster than her NCAA championship times in both 2017 and 2018.

The six-time outdoor All-Mountain West honoree now has the second-fastest steeplechase time ever in the conference and also owns the league’s record in the 10,000-meter race, which she set earlier this season at the Stanford Invitational (32:06.71).

Ostrander, of Kenai Central High fame, recorded top-20 times nationally in the 1,500-meter, 5,000-meter, 10,000-meter and 3,000-meter steeplechase this season.

She is also a semifinalist for The Bowerman, the highest national intercollegiate honor awarded annually to a male and female track & field athlete.

June 19, 2019
Jonny Homza baseball

Jonny Homza

Jonny Homza of Anchorage continues to move up the food chain in the San Diego Padres organization as the third-year pro was promoted to the Class-A Tri-City Dust Devils after two years in the Rookie League.

The 20-year-old made his name as a incredible infielder but was drafted in the fifth round of the 2017 MLB draft to play catcher, hardly an easy move.

But Homza has thrived behind the plate, as his defensive development has fueled his rise up the ranks of pro baseball.

He joined Tri-City for the start of the Class A season and in his first three games has doubled, driven in three runs and thrown out two baserunners.

In 41 games at catcher, he has hosed 22-of-77 base stealers for a .286 career percentage. That’s about average for catchers, but it’s more impressive when you remember Homza has played only 296 innings at his new position.

He owns a .981 career fielding percentage with 25 passed balls.

Homza, of South High fame, has also logged 47 games at second base, shortstop and third base in his pro career. He’s played another nine games at designated hitter.

At the plate, the six-foot slugger owns a .227 batting average and .323 on-base percentage in 99 career games. He has three home runs, 21 doubles and 44 RBIs.

Homza is one of 24 Alaskans to play pro baseball at the Single-A, Double-A, Triple-A and Major League level.

Major League
Marshall Boze P Soldotna
Chad Bentz P Juneau
Chris Mabeus P Soldotna

Triple-A
Tom Allison 2B Susitna Valley
Cliff Anderson SS/2B Kodiak
Alex Jamieson C Anchorage
Joey Newby P Soldotna
Corey Madden P Anchorage

Double-A
Dustin Krug P Kodiak
Jamar Hill OF Anchorage
Chad Nading P Anchorage
Dylan Baker P Juneau

Single-A
Matt Way P Sitka
Jerome Johnson P Fairbanks
Ryan Shaver P Fairbanks
Levi Robinson 3B Anchorage
Trajan Langdon 3B Anchorage
Timothy Stanley 2B Anchorage
Brian Montalbo P Anchorage
Anton Maxwell P Anchorage
Joe Ayers SS Juneau
Toby Staveland P Juneau
Jeff Zitek SS Kenai
Jonny Homza C/3B Anchorage