Winter sports stars and pioneers and a hardcourt success story highlight the Class of 2018 Directors Awards winners.
The Directors Awards recipients will be honored at the annual Alaska Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony and reception April 24 at the Anchorage Museum.
The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame will be adding Youth Directors’ Awards for high school-aged athletes. The winners of the inaugural youth awards will be announced the last week of March.
The 2018 adult winners:
Pride of Alaska Award (female)–For Consistent Excellence in Athletic Competition
Kikkan Randall – In her 18th and final attempt at an Olympic medal, Randall teamed with Jessie Diggins to win a gold medal in the Nordic Team Sprint event in dramatic fashion. It was the first-ever gold medal for the US Nordic Ski Team and first medal ever for the women’s team. For Randall, who helped elevate Team USA to international respectability, the gold medal cements her legacy as one of the greatest American nordic skiers ever.
Roxy Wright – After retiring from competitive sled dog racing 21 years earlier, 66-year-old Fairbanks musher Roxy Wright returned to write the final chapter of her storied mushing career when she captured her fourth North American Championship in March 2017 in Fairbanks to sweep the crown jewels of sprint mushing. This came three weeks after winning the Fur Rendezvous Open World Championship in Anchorage. In both races Wright edged out defending champion Buddy Streeper.
Pride of Alaska Award (male)–For Consistent Excellence in Athletic Competition
Andrew Kurka – After winning three medals – a gold, silver and bronze – at the 2017 World Para Alpine Championships, the Palmer native solidified his position as the top sit skier in the world by winning a gold in the downhill and silver in Super G at the 2018 Paralympics in South Korea. Kurka is also a talented paracyclist and active in the community supporting programs that promote healthy youth.
Joe Floyd Award–For Significant and Lasting Contribution to Alaska through Sports
Jim Mahaffey – Mahaffey came to Alaska in 1963 to coach skiing at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. His legacy includes helping found the Equinox Marathon, coaching Olympians at Alaska Methodist University, developing the Alaska Pacific University trail system and starting the still-popular Tuesday Night Runs. He’s still skiing and active in the community at age 87.
Trajan Langdon Award–For Leadership, Sportsmanship and Inspiration
Nene Hale – Hale overcame incredible adversity to find success in basketball and the classroom. She earned All-American honors as a sophomore and junior [and is playing like a national player of the year as a senior] for NAIA Central Methodist University, where she recently became the first women’s player in school history to eclipse 2,000 career points. As a high school student in Anchorage, Hale and her siblings were homeless and not going to school before being taken in by a foster family in Wasilla. She is now on the Dean’s List at CMU and has shown a passion for social activism. “Her teammates absolutely love her. Her work ethic in the classroom and on the court is second to none,” her coach Gregory Ray said. “Leadership has not always been her strong suit. Those that know her know how quiet she is and what her struggles have been.”
The Directors’ Awards presentations are part of an evening that also includes the induction of Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2018.
Individuals Holly Brooks and Virgil Hooe, the Arctic Winter Games (Event), and Dolly Lefever becoming the first American woman to conquer the famed Seven Summits (Moment) will all be honored.