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 more than 3,000 stories on over 500 Alaska athletes.

Follow us on Twitter @AKsportshall and Facebook.

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

September 19, 2017

Devante Doutrive basketball

Devante Doutrive

The college basketball season hasn’t even started yet, but the University of Utah already got a steal with landing Devante Doutrive of Anchorage.

The 6-foot-5 guard committed to Utah over other offers from Gonzaga, UTEP, Arizona State and Oregon. He is one of the very last elite players from the Class of 2017 to decide on a team with the deadline to enroll approaching.

Doutrive, of West High fame, moved from Alaska to California after his all-state sophomore season in high school and played his final two years at Birmingham in Van Nuys.

Last season as a senior he averaged 22 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists and was named Los Angeles City Section Player of the Year. As a junior, he averaged 24 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists.

The four-star prospect is a huge pickup for the Utes, with Doutrive ranking as a top-70 recruit by scout.com.

In 2015, he helped West beat East 77-73 in OT for the Class 4A state title in his final game in Alaska.

Doutrive played on that West team with Brandon Huffman, who moved to North Carolina the same year and is now headed to the University of North Carolina.

Doutrive told me last year that he appreciated his time in Alaska and that he’s proud to represent the 907 no matter how far away the game of basketball takes him away from the state.

“It feels great because everyone thinks Alaska is just ice and animals and igloos,” Doutrive said. “Lots of people are asking me, ‘How’d you get so talented in Alaska?’ and I just tell them that there’s a lot of great talent in Alaska. It’s just not me.”

September 18, 2017

Bubacar Touray soccer

Bubacar Touray

Anchorage’s Bubacar Touray vowed to reward the Tacoma Community College men’s soccer team for being the only NWAC school to recruit him.

He has lived up to his word.

Touray, of West High fame, leads the team with four goals and eight points in eight games after scoring in a 2-1 win over Bellevue College in Seattle, Washington.

Tacoma is 3-0 when the freshman midfielder scores a goal and 5-3 overall.

Last spring’s Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year racked up 25 goals and 15 assists in his final year of high school.

September 17, 2017

Corbyn Jahn triathlon

Corbyn Jahn

Wasilla’s Corbyn Jahn used a remarkable run on the final leg to spark a strong finish that helped him move in the top 30 in his age group at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The 26-year-old passed nearly two dozen runners and posted a personal-best 10K time en route placing 26th among the 97 competitors in the 25-29 age-group category. He was the fourth-fastest American.

Jahn, of Colony High fame, finished the 1,500-meter swim, 40K-bike, 10K-run event with a total time of 2 hours, 5 minutes, 4 seconds. The winner from Belgium clocked a 1:54:26.

“I am really happy all things considered with the outcome,” Jahn wrote on Facebook. “As I wrap up my triathlon season I am looking forward to working on the bike leg and continuing to grow as an athlete.”

Jahn was 30th in the swimming portion [21:31], 62nd in biking [1:04:43] and seventh in the running [32:57]. He estimated passing 23 runners on the run to salvage his overall finish.

“I knew I had fallen 15-20 spots during the bike so I pushed hard to make up time,” Jahn said. “For the majority of the run I worked with a Great Britain athlete. We were able to push each other and run a stellar 10K [9.8 officially] split.”

Race day began a little rough for the Alaskan, who arrived late to the start and scrambled to set up.

“I was able to place all my gear and made it to the start with time to spare,” he said.

In the swim, the water was chilly and that made him feel at home.

“It was fun watching racers from warmer climates freak out at the temperature,” he said. “I found the temperature to be pretty similar to Little Campbell Lake [in Anchorage].”

In the biking portion, he used a rented bike that was too small. Yet he didn’t make excuses. He made the most out of the situation and made up lost time on the run.

He was greeted at the finish line by his mom and sister.

“I was excited to have a great support staff in tow for the weekend,” Jahn said. “Even though they spent the majority of their time eating cheese, it meant a lot to have my favorite sister and mom there cheering me on.”

September 16, 2017

Conor Feckley football

Conor Feckley

Even though he finished third in the country last season with 37 touchdown passes, Conor Feckley of Anchorage isn’t solely a pocket passer.

The Dubuque University senior ran in a pair of scores in a 27-24 win over Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

“I have been able to step up in the pocket and sneak out to pick up some yards,” he told me. “But I usually am always looking to pass first.”

Feckley, of West High fame, used his legs to offset a slow passing day when he completed just 6-of-12 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown.

He rushed for 29 yards, including touchdowns runs of 1 and 3 yards in the first half.

“I think defenses are respecting our passing game and we’ve been able to run the ball well, so that’s been awesome,” Feckley said. “We’ll have to see how defenses will change things up to try and slow down our run game without giving up opportunities in the passing game.”

His only touchdown pass went for 50 yards. He has eight TDs in the first three games – six passing, two rushing.

Last year, he had eight touchdowns in the first game.

His passing stats might be down, but Dubuque is 3-0. And that’s all that matters.

“My favorite stat is a ‘W’ so as long as I’m doing my part to help the team win, that’s the most important stat,” Feckley said. “I’m confident we’ll continue to get better and get back to chucking the ball around more.”

September 15, 2017

Merit Paramo volleyball

Merit Paramo

Wasilla’s Merit Paramo was in rhythm on offense and played well on defense to help the University of Dallas volleyball team sweep Brooklyn College.

Dallas prevailed 25-7, 25-15, 25-12 in Irving, Texas, in the team’s most dominating performance of the season.

Paramo, of Wasilla High fame, hammered seven kills on 15 attempts for a sparkling .400 attack percentage, her second-highest total in nine matches.

She added a season-high six digs, three aces and two blocks.

On the year, the 5-foot-8 hitter ranks second on her NCAA D3 team with 62 kills, .284 hitting percentage and 13 blocks.

Rachel Roelle cross country track

Rachel Roelle

Eastern Oregon University cross country and track coach Ben Welch has a problem.

He’s running out of Alaskans.

The longtime NAIA coach has had incredible success recruiting runners from his home state, particularly two families – the Roelles out of West Anchorage and the Updikes from Ketchikan.

“I don’t specifically target certain families, but when there is a talented bunch or pair, I am more than happy to pursue that angle,” Welch told me.

Together, the Roelles and Updikes have produced five national championships and 17 All-American finishes between Hans Roelle, Isaac Updike and Lucas Updike.

Rachel Roelle is the last of the bunch.

She was an All-American in 2016 in the indoor 1,000 and enters her senior season looking to do even better.

“Rachel has high goals herself, hoping to earn All-American honors in all three disciplines this year [CC, Indoor and Outdoor], Welch said. “Mostly, I see my job to help her achieve those goals and help her stay healthy and get even stronger.”

Eastern Oregon University kicks off the cross country season this weekend at the Cascade Collegiate Conference Preview meet in La Grande, Oregon.

Rachel is one of three Roelle children to run for Mountaineers in addition to Hans and Andrea, who is no longer running and focusing on school.

“Hans had the best combination of speed and endurance, especially speed of the three, while Rachel is more on the endurance side of things, but blessed with good speed as well. Both are extremely tough competitors, especially come competition time,” Welch said. “Unfortunately, Andrea never really did get to fully explore her abilities for a variety of reasons, but we are happy she came out after about a three-year layoff and gave it a try.

“One aspect all three share is academic prowess as they are/were all very strong, focused students.”

Rachel has been a superb student throughout her education, earning multiple academic awards at the conference and national level, including NAIA Scholar Athlete recognition since she became a junior in both in cross country and track.

“Rachel is not an overly talkative person, but certainly has accepted a good deal of leadership duties, especially in leading by example as she is the most consistent athlete we have in training, racing effort and the classroom,” Welch said. “She also leads all our warm-ups, both in practice and meets.”

September 14, 2017

Greg Sanders golf

Greg Sanders

Greg Sanders of Anchorage used a brilliant back nine to overcome a slow start and salvage his final round at the Pacific Northwest Golf Association Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship in Bend, Oregon.

He birdied hole Nos. 11, 16 and 17 en route to carding an 18-hole score of 74 that gave him a 54-hole total of 215, good enough for third place among the 60 golfers that made the cut.

Sanders, of Alaska Golf Association fame, shot 40 on the front side and 34 on the back.

He opened the tournament with a sparkling 68 to give him the lead over the 75-man field at 4-under-par. He shot a 73 in the second round.

It’s been quite the golf season for the 53-year-old.

In August, he placed third at the USGA Mid-Amateur Qualifier and was the second alternate.

In June, he advanced to the semifinals of the 42nd annual Pacific Northwest Master-40 Amateur Championship at Salish Cliffs Golf Club in Shelton, Washington.

In May, he earned low amateur honors at the Arizona Senior Open Championship at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club.

In March, he teamed with former Alaskan Billy Bomar to win the team title at the Holcomb-In-One Las Vegas Pro-Am Championship. Sanders also won low amateur honors.

September 13, 2017

Cash McGregor Football

Cash McGregor

Wasilla’s Cash McGregor was all over the football field for the Macalester College defense during a 23-14 victory over Hamline in St. Paul, Minnesota.

He made five tackles, recovered two fumbles, broke up two passes and grabbed an interception in what was his greatest performance for the NCAA D3 school.

Just all in the day’s work for senior defensive back.

McGregor, of Wasilla High fame, was named Midwest Conference Defensive Performer of the Week for the first time in his career.

On the first play from scrimmage, the 6-foot-1, 210-pounder pounced on a fumble to give the Scots the ball inside the red zone. The turnover led to a Macalester field goal.

Later in the first quarter, he intercepted Hamline quarterback Justice Spriggs at the Scots’ 17-yard line and returned it 42 yards. It was his second career pick, the first since 2014.

In the third quarter, McGregor recovered his second fumble to stop the drive and give possession back to the Scots.

September 12, 2017

Matt Ilalio football

Matt Ilalio

As a defensive back, Matt Ilalio of Anchorage is sometimes put on an island for the Sacred Heart University football team.

Going one-on-one with receivers is a sink or swim situation, but the coaches trust the 5-foot-9 senior enough to put him in that position.

Ilalio buoyed Sacred Heart’s defensive effort in a 38-24 victory over Lafayette College during FCS action in Easton, Pennsylvania.

He made six solo tackles and three pass breakups and played a huge role in helping Sacred Heart shut out Lafayette in the third quarter.

He almost single-handedly forced the Leopards to go three-and-out on their first drive of the second half after they twice targeted Ilalio on pass plays that he denied.

On the following drive he made back-to-back tackles, including a 2-yard loss, that eventually led to a turnover on downs.

Ilalio, of Service High fame, basically matched his season stats from last season of seven tackles and one pass breakup in six games.

The six tackles were the second most for Ilalio in 26 career games.

September 11, 2017

Haleigh Van Allen soccer

Haleigh Van Allen

Alaska soccer was celebrated in Flagstaff, Arizona, as Anchorage’s Haleigh Van Allen and Malia Lyken each scored goals to provide the Northern Arizona University women’s soccer team with a 2-1 win over Pacific.

It’s not often when two Alaskans find the back of the net in the same NCAA D1 game, but this NAU duo needed fewer than nine minutes to make it happen.

Van Allen, of Service High fame, converted a crossing pass in the third minute for her first goal of the season.

the 2015 Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year is tied for NAU team lead with six shots on goal.

This was her second goal in 34 career games, with the first coming in 2015.

Van Allen has played in all seven games this season after seeing action in only eight games last season after missing the last part of the year with an injury.

Malia Lyken soccer

Malia Lyken

Lyken, of Dimond High fame, has maintained her reputation for being a fast and furious playmaker.

Last year, the 2016 Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year scored her first career goal in just her second game.

This year, the sophomore has netted two goals, including the game-winner against Pacific that came on a breakaway. She was the Alaska 100-meter state champ in 2014.

Lyken has three goals and an assist in 18 career games at NAU.

September 10, 2017

Ed Hall football

Ed Hall

UNLV brings out the best in Idaho football player Ed Hall of Chugiak.

Last year, he registered a career-high 15 tackles against the Rebels. This year, he had 13 tackles and his first career interception.

The junior linebacker’s pick came in the second quarter of a 44-16 loss at Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho.

His play was one of the few bright spots for Idaho.

Hall, of Eagle River High fame, intercepted UNLV quarterback Armani Rogers at the 29-yard line and returned it 10 yards to put the Idaho in the red zone. Idaho would later miss a chip-shot field goal.

In the first quarter, his 5-yard tackle for a loss on first-and-13 eventually forced UNLV to punt.

Hall has racked up 119 tackles, six for loss, and one interception in 27 career games.

September 9, 2017

Caleb Holley football

Caleb Holley

Anchorage’s Caleb Holley played his first game for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in a month and rust didn’t seem to play a factor in his performance on the field.

The second-year receiver racked up a season-high 75 yards on four receptions in a 48-28 loss to Winnipeg in the Canadian Football League.

Holley, of East High fame, has posted 19-261-2 totals in five games this season.

The 26-year-old former East Central University standout has battled injures all season. He has played games in only Weeks 1, 2, 6, 7 and 11.

When healthy, though, he provides Saskatchewan with a deep threat.

Holley’s average of 13.7 yards is the fourth highest in the CFL.

He is the Alaska career CFL leader in games [16], receptions [75], yards [916] and TDs [4].

Trevor Dunbar running mile

Trevor Dunbar [right]

Kodiak’s Trevor Dunbar was right in the middle of the action in the men’s pro field at the Minnesota Mile, just missing victory in a photo finish in a mad sprint finish that featured six runners.

In a battle between former NCAA All-Americans, Minnesota’s Ben Blakenship clocked a winning time of 4:07 to nip the former Oregon Duck by less than a second.

Dunbar – Alaska’s only sub-four-minute miler – beat out four other runners for second place that paid him $1,800.

Not a bad day’s work at $7.25 per second.

The Minnesota Mile is the fourth stop on the Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour.

Dunbar is Alaska’s only sub-four-minute miler and owns a PR of 3:55.

September 8, 2017

Jo Reid FootGolf

Jo Reid

After playing soccer for most of her life, Jo Reid of Anchorage has kicked the sport.

Her new passion is footgolf, a hybrid marriage of golf and soccer. It’s a trendy game catching on in the United States.

“When I started playing I had no idea the game was huge in Europe and is played internationally at a very high level, so I kind of jumped into the sport with both feet,” Reid told me.

Last year she made her debut at the world tour’s U.S. Pro-Am.

This year she won it.

Reid, of East High fame, crushed the competition in Orlando, Florida, with a 54-hole total of 240 to beat Japan’s Kaori Yamano by 12 shots and Spain’s Thania Requena Rueda by 27.

She was the only player in the tournament to break 80 and she did it twice, firing a 79 in each of the first two rounds.

“Last year I attended the U.S. Pro-Am and it was my first major FootGolf tournament,” Reid said. “I came in fourth and realized I loved the competition and wanted to make a go for the title.”

Reid played NCAA D1 college soccer at Creighton University back in the day before returning to her hometown 20 years ago to coach club and high school teams.

“I played golf as a child and, of course, soccer so combining the two sports seemed very natural to me and it has allowed me to have the confidence to compete and attend major events,” she said.

The U.S. Pro-Am is one of six events on the world tour and featured 130 competitors from 18 countries. The tournament was held at the Reunion Golf Course.

“The course is very long and challenging, and we don’t have anything like that in Alaska, so it was very intimidating seeing the Reunion for the first time,” Reid said.

In Anchorage, Fox Hollow Golf Course has helped paved the way for her breakthrough in the sport of footgolf by allowing her free access to the par-3 course to work on her game.

“I was able to work on my short game and gain a lot of confidence going into this event,” Reid said. “Training at Fox Hollow was so helpful because it’s a short, technical course so it helped with my precision and I got a lot of practice getting out of trouble and not getting rattled if I didn’t have a perfect look at the cup.”

September 7, 2017

Kelsey Griffin basketball

Kelsey Griffin

After missing Australia’s WNBL playoffs in each of the last two seasons, the Bendigo Spirit are eager to get back to their championship ways of 2013 and 2014.

Feeding the ball to Eagle River’s Kelsey Griffin would be a good start.

The 6-foot-2 forward is coming off a huge summer performance at the FIBA Asia Cup, where she led the Australia Opals to the title game and was named tournament most valuable player.

Griffin, of Chugiak High fame, scored 30 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for Australia in a 74-73 loss to Japan in the Asia Cup final.

The 30-year-old all-star led the tournament in field-goal shooting [61.7%] and was fifth in scoring [15.8] and third in rebounding [8.2].

She has averaged nearly identical numbers [15.7 ppg, 8.9 rpg] in 114 career games with Bendigo, earning team MVP honors in four of her five seasons with the team.

Bendigo Spirit coach Simon Pritchard told the local newspaper he wants to play a more up-tempo, fast-paced style of basketball this season.

That fits perfectly with Griffin’s game.

The former University of Nebraska All-American and WNBA player has made a living on her ability to score from the perimeter to the post. She can also pass, defend and put the ball on the floor.

Griffin is the face of the Bendigo Spirit.

As a naturalized Aussie citizen, she no longer counts toward the league’s two-imports-per-team limit, which allowed the Bendigo Spirit to sign former WNBA players Betnijah Laney and Rachel Banham.

Already, Griffin is reaping the benefits of having fellow world-class players on the same practice court.

“Kelsey and Benijah had a training session this morning and the two of them just went at it,’’ Pritchard told the Bendigo Advertiser.“At the end of the session Kelsey said to Betnijah ‘I love doing individual sessions with you because you make me better’.

“That competitiveness is exactly what we want.”

September 5, 2017

Maggie Callahan running

Maggie Callahan

Maggie Callahan of Fairbanks didn’t run the fastest time at the inaugural FORTitude 10K in Fort Collins, Colorado.

But she did run all the way to the bank afterwards.

The 29-year-old pocketed $2,700 for being the top finisher in the women’s pro race, even though she posted the fifth-fastest time.

The pro race featured a new and exciting format that handicapped runners based on past times and used a staggered start with the hope everybody crosses the finish line at the same time.

“You don’t get to do different things in races very often,” Callahan told The Denver Post. “I’m sure everyone today, whether or not they’re excited about their performance, will admit that it was kind of fun to do something different.”

Callahan, of West Valley fame, who finished in 35:41.

The former University of Arizona runner is currently a member of Hudson Elite, a respected training group stationed in Boulder, Colorado.

September 4, 2017

Christina Knapp running

Christina Knapp

Christina Knapp of Anchorage isn’t used to temperatures in the high 80s, but she didn’t let the hot weather slow her down.

She won women’s race at the Pier to Peak Half Marathon in Santa Barbara, California, covering the 13.1-mile course in 2 hours, 7 minutes, 56 seconds.

She finished 19th overall among 303 finishers in her fourth time doing the race.

“It was by far the hottest year,” she said told noozhawk.com. “I always love this race; I like the uphills. But it was much hotter and much harder than before. I’m originally from Alaska, so I’m not well accustomed to the heat.”

Knapp, of East High fame, is a former cross-country runner and skier standout at Williams College. She is now a graduate student in physics at the University of California Santa Barbara.

Knapp had lots of family support in the race as three members of her family participated, including older sister Elizabeth, of Anchorage; she was the 18th woman finisher in 2:41.53.

September 3, 2017

Corey Cogdell-Unrein shooting

Corey Cogdell-Unrein

Eagle River’s Corey Cogdell-Unrein came up clutch again with the pressure on, scoring the second-highest point total in the find round to help Team USA win a gold medal in Moscow, Russia.

The 30-year-old shotgun shooter has a reputation for hitting the mark when it matters most over her 10-year career, and things were no different at the ISSF Shotgun World Championships.

Cogdell-Unrein went 24-for-25 in the third round to help Team USA come from behind and tie Finland and Italy with 203 points, thus forcing a tiebreaker to determine the medals.

Her third-round score was the second-highest point total among the 45 women in the competition and made a gold medal possible.

It was at least the fifth time she’s medaled in a major competition after hitting her final target, including twice in the Olympics.

September 2, 2017

Conor Feckley football

Conor Feckley

No school records this time, but Dubuque University quarterback Conor Feckley of Anchorage did pick up where he left off last season with a big day in the season opener.

The senior quarterback completed 29-of-65 pass attempts for 337 yards and three touchdowns in a 32-26 victory over Bethel University in double overtime in Arden Hills, Minnesota.

It wasn’t quite the 70-53 shootout of last year’s meeting when Feckley threw for a school-record 634 yards and 8 touchdowns – with his yardage total ranking No. 5 all-time in NCAA D3 history.

That performance propelled him to 37 TDs on the season – the third most in the nation; his 3,129 passing yards ranked 14th.

Feckley, of West High fame, tossed scoring strikes of 24, 21 and 38 yards, with his final one tying the game at 23-23 in the fourth quarter.

His 10-yard pass in the first overtime was good for a first down and led to a field goal that extended the lead.

In the second overtime, he scampered for 10 yards for another first down on a drive that led to the go-ahead score.

September 1, 2017

Brad Oleson basketball

Brad Oleson

Brad Oleson of North Pole is on the move in the Spanish basketball premier league.

The veteran 6-foot-3 guard has left perennial power Barcelona and signed a two-year deal with Club Baloncesto Murcia, otherwise known as UCAM Murcia.

Even at 34, Oleson is still considered one of the best shooters in the league.

With Barcelona, the former UAF star was a career 43 percent shooter from 3-point range and won league championships in 2012 and 2014. He also helped the team win the Euroleague in 2014.

Oleson, of North Pole High fame, also played in 93 of 150 career games in the Euroleague in a Barcelona uniform.

He’s joining a UCAM Murcia team with a much different tradition. The team has bounced back and forth between Spain’s premier league and second division.

Oleson provides his new team with an immediate playmaker, a guy that can score and defend the perimeter almost as well as anybody in the league.

This will be the Alaskan’s 14th professional season – the 13th in Spain.

August 31, 2017

Jack Sedor soccer

Jack Sedor

With the addition of newcomers Jack Sedor and Azzam Azzam, the number of Alaskans on the Whitworth University men’s soccer team has doubled since last year.

The new faces joined Whitworth veterans Blake Hepler and Britton Clifford to give the NCAA D3 Pirates in Spokane, Washington, four former all-stars in the Cook Inlet Conference.

In 2015, all four players were named to the all-CIC team.

Today, they make up a big reason why Whitworth is picked to win the Northwest Conference.

The Pirates are trying to win four straight conference championships for the first time in school history, and the coaches like their chances as they received six of eight first-place votes in the preseason poll.

Azzam Azzam soccer

Azzam Azzam

Sedor, of Dimond High fame, was a 2-time Gatorade Player of the Year in 2014 and 2015 and spent 2016 at Marshall University, a NCAA D1 school in Huntington, West Virginia.

He made two starts and played in three games with the Thundering Herd before sitting out last season to retain a year of eligibility.

Sedor should make an immediate impact at Whitworth, bringing a technical skill set highlighted by his tactical awareness.

Azzam, of Service High fame, was a three-time all-conference pick and one of the best players from Alaska.

He received Gatorade votes in each of his final two years of prep play.

Blake Hepler soccer

Blake Hepler

The marvelous midfielder was selected as his high school team’s MVP following his senior season and as the squad’s offensive player of the year as a junior.

Hepler, of South High fame, is a returning player who saw action in 18 of the team’s 19 matches.

The forward-turned-defender started 13 times, including four in conference. He attempted five shots.

“Blake is a great fit and really brings the whole package,” coach Morgan Cathey told the school’s website. “He is very aggressive and quick as a 1-v-1 defender, yet loves to get forward into the attack.”

Britton Clifford soccer

Britton Clifford

Britton, of South High fame, started 10 of 19 games last season, including seven in the Northwest Conference.

At 6-foot-1, he’s the tallest of the four Alaskans and uses his size and strength to his advantage.

“He reads the game very well and the ball seems to somehow always find him with time and space,” the coach said. “He is an awesome athlete and has great technical ability. He will compete in a number of positions for us and his mindset to constantly want to grow and seek feedback will propel him to great success.”

August 29, 2017

Holly Morehouse volleyball

Holly Morehouse

A familiar face is back at net for the Carroll College volleyball team and Holly Morehouse of Anchorage has wasted no time asserting herself as one of the team’s top offensive weapons.

The 6-foot senior outside hitter is the team’s leading scorer and should reach 1,000 career kills by the end of the season.

Her 2.43 kills per set and 85 kills overall are the most for the Fighting Saints, a NAIA school in Helena, Montana.

She ranks No. 1 with 202 total attempts and No. 3 with a .218 attack percentage.

Morehouse, of South High fame, had her best match of the season recently against Evergreen when she delivered 16 kills and a .448 hitting percentage.

She has twice as many kills [870] as errors [299] for her college career.

Carroll College has a 4-5 record on the year, with four of the five losses coming against ranked teams.

The team also includes Anchorage’s Morgan Christy, a sophomore middle hitter out of Service High.

August 28, 2017

Aaron Fletcher running

Aaron Fletcher

Anchorage’s Aaron Fletcher didn’t just win his first half marathon – he set a course record.

The former BYU All-American dominated the Altra Top of Utah Half Marathon with a 13.1-mile time of 1 hour, 4 minutes and 6 seconds.

“It was awesome,” Fletcher told the Herald Journal newspaper.

“I was not expecting that. I came in thinking I was going to run 1:06 or so. I thought that was going to be a pretty good effort, and then, I don’t know, about mile six, seven and eight I started dropping 4:40 [miles] and felt good, so I just kept running with it.”

He broke the course record by 24 seconds.

Fletcher, of South High fame, earned All-American honors last year in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and also competed at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.

This was his second course record of the summer.

In June, Fletcher won the Timp Trail Marathon in Utah in 3 hours and 7 minutes to break the course record by 23 minutes at the eight-year race that features 5,800 feet of climbing.

In the half marathon, Fletcher took the lead and never looked back.

“I think it was gradual, but really miles 5, 6 and 7 I really started crushing it, and I was caught off guard,” Fletcher told the Herald Journal. “I was running really comfortably, then looked at my watch and I was like, ‘Whoa, that was a really fast mile.’”

August 27, 2017

Jalil Abdul-Bassit basketball

Jalil Abdul-Bassit

There were probably times over the last few months when Jalil Abdul-Bassit of Anchorage thought he was on an island playing professional basketball in Australia.

He finished his rookie season in the Queensland Basketball League as the second-leading scorer at 25 points a game, but he had no idea if his performance had an impact on the hoops world.

It did.

Suitors from all over the world expressed interest in Abdul-Bassit, who ultimately signed with Albania’s Sport Klub Tirana, the defending champion from the country’s super league.

“The competition is going to be a lot better,” he told me. “This league is much more respected and it’s a great opportunity to move up to an even better league in Europe.”

The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 24.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 17 games with the Toowoomba Mountaineers. He was arguably the league’s best player on the worst team as Toowoomba went 1-16 on the season.

Nonetheless, Abdul-Bassit sparkled.

The former University of Oregon standout twice reached the 40-point plateau with 43 and 41, and flirted with a triple-double in two of his three final games down under.

“I’ve gained so much confidence playing Australia just off the fact that I learned the most I’ve ever learned playing basketball,” he said. “Because I had so much on my back and didn’t have any restrictions on my game, it allowed me to make mistakes and learn from them.”

Abdul-Bassit, of East High fame, hopes to expand his role with his new team in Albania.

“I expect they’ll let me play my game and score, but I wanna play more point guard this time around,” he said. “In Australia, the second half of the season, I was playing point and I’m really comfortable playing the position now and I know ultimately if I wanna reach my dream of playing in the NBA I have to be a point guard.

“So, I’m expecting to go in there and do whatever the coach needs me to do. Run the team, score, shut down the best players. Whatever I need to do I’ll do it.”

August 26, 2017

Alev Kelter

Alev Kelter

Eagle River’s Alev Kelter led Team USA in scoring and showed off impressive wheels during a 31-23 loss to France in the third-place game at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland.

The starting center collected 13 points, 8 tackles and 13 passes in 80 minutes.

She also gained 105 meters with the ball, including a 40-yard run in the closing minutes that provided the final points for the Americans.

Kelter, of Chugiak High fame, is a bruising player using in the middle of the scum.

On this play, however, she picked up a loose ball and galloped down the sideline before passing to teammate Cheta Emba at the goal line for an easy try.

Kelter could have kept the ball and probably scored; but with a defender hot on her heels, she opted to hook up her teammate for an uncontested score.

Kelter finished fifth in the World Cup with 32 points.